In light of David Wright’s extension, the issue has come up about making Wright the official team captain. A title held only three times in team history, and one that, well, is a tad overrated, over blown and very much reeks of pulling what the guys in the Bronx do.
The guys in the Boogie Down do it, because George Steinbrenner really,really loved him some college football and brought that “spirit” onto his baseball team. Often as a position of derision and a sign for that player to wake up a little. This had no basis in truly “honoring” a locker room leader. Oh sure stories you hear and read about Thurman Munson, Graig Nettles, Don Mattingly, and Derek Jeter being “the guy” in terms of a team leader. But for the most part “Yankee Captain” is more of a PR gimmick than say a hockey or football team’s captain is.
Yes, other teams do have them, and those thusly anointed do have a “C” on their jersey, but considering how few teams publicize “captains” it probably would be for the best that the Mets do not look like “bandwagon jumpers.” Especially with the very public way, despite the lack of “C” on Jeter’s uniform, that the Yankees treat theirs.
Plus, at the end of the day, is the idea of “officially” tabbing a player “team leader” that important? For whatever the reason Keith Hernandez was named the official captain prior to the 1987 season, and Gary Carter the co-captain in 1988, and finally John Franco in 2001, those were probably more symbolic in nature. In other words, giving someone an official title that they probably felt they were already. Heck, in Jeff Pearlman’s book on the 1986 Champs, there is a passage where Hernandez tells a story where he pulled the “well, I am the captain of the team” card in a situation. A year before he would officially be called such.
Is Wright a clubhouse leader? Sure, but it isn’t necessary to slap a “C” on his uniform, and make it an official position as if it is something more than a symbolic, honorary title.