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Mets star Hernandez talks about kids’ book

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On the second day of a three-day stay in the Windy City, former New York Met, all-star and Gold Glove winner Keith Hernandez spoke over the phone, sounding a little groggy so early in the morning.

“The book is full of a lot of stuff my parents told me when I was growing up,” he said of his new children’s book, “First-Base hero,” published by Random House. “The emphasis is on playing as a team and having a good work ethic.”

The book is the second in a series started by Golden Books last year before the company was bought out by Random House. A previous book in the series was written by Deborah Norville. According to Random House spokeswoman Carrie Pine, the celebrity children’s books program is on hold for now. Hernandez’s, however, is drawing a lot of attention.

But it seems that anything Hernandez does in New York gets a lot of attention. After all, the first-baseman of the New York Mets in the 1986 World Series is an icon of New York. From his paparazzi images on Page Six in the New York Post to his appearances on “Seinfeld,” Hernandez is adored by Mets fans and New Yorkers alike wherever he goes.

It is as a celebrity that he hopes to teach kids about being a baseball hero while helping out a charity in Brooklyn. A portion of the proceeds from the book will go to the Cobble Hill Health Care Center.

“The book basically revolves around a young kid playing baseball who is smaller than the others,” Hernandez said. “But with hard work, dedication and using teamwork, he is able to show that he is just as good.”

Though the book is not autobiographical — Hernandez was never the small kid on the team — it teaches the principles that his parents bestowed upon him. It should also be a good book for any parent to read to their children.

“I found that writing a children’s book was quite easy,” Hernandez said. “You’re not writing any great length or depth. It’s just a book that parents can read to their kids.”

And parents have come out in droves with their children to Hernandez’s book signings. On April 4, more than 200 showed up to the Barnes & Noble on Bell Boulevard in Bayside. Other signings in Manhattan have drawn larger crowds.

“They have been fantastic,” publicist Pine said. “He has got a huge fan base, and he’s a great person in addition to being a great role model. He helps inspire kids to challenge themselves, to go for their dreams. We couldn’t be more pleased.”

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