After spending a week down in South Beach, (and making Matt Cerrone very jealous), I now understand why Jose Reyes took his talents down there. In any event, it got me thinking about All-Time great Mets and how they’ve only retired one player’s number. Now, I know the Mets don’t have the history of teams like the Yankees and what not, but I think there needs to be more retired numbers out there on there on the Great Wall of Citi.
To retire a player’s number I believe they need three discerning characteristics:
- To be a leader on the field and in the clubhouse
- To have represented the Mets well for many years both on and off the field
- Their excellent leadership and play leads the team to winning seasons
Right now, the only number that is certain to be retired, is Mike Piazza’s 31. At this point it’s just a waiting game, and the Mets will probably retire his number after a couple years after his induction into the Hall of Fame.
The other recent topic of conversation is Gary Carter’s 8. Reports have come out that his condition has worsened and thus there has been an outpouring of support for The Kid. The problem is he only fits into two of the three characteristics I listed. He played 600 games for the Mets, and while he had some of his best year’s on the Mets, he just didn’t play long enough to have his number retired. For me, the games played limit is around 800, unless there are extreme circumstances.
Next brings us to the other guy who seems to be always talked about; Mr. Keith Hernandez. While I never got to watch him play, my father would tell me stories about him and the absolute wizard he was at first base. During his time with the Mets he was a five-time Gold Glover, a three-time All-Star, and won a World Series. With his amazing play in the field, at the plate, his clubhouse personality, as well as his contributions to the club after his retirement, I believe that the number 17 needs to be up on The Wall. And recent poll on MetsBlog shows that 82% of people agree with me that Hernandez’s number needs to be retired. He also has a wicked mustache, which helps his cause greatly.
Now comes Darryl Strawberry, the Mets All-Time leader in home runs, RBIs, and walks. Now if player’s numbers were retired merely on the statistics they put up, Strawberry’s number would have been retired by now. He was a controversial player in the clubhouse and his drugs and alcohol addiction was most likely the main cause of it. His addiction destroyed what could have been a Hall of Fame career. In recent years his life seems to be back on the right track. He set up the Darryl Strawberry Foundation, wrote a memoir, has been a part-time analysis for SNY, and recently opened his own restaurant in New York. I can certainly understand if the team wouldn’t want his number 18 up on The Wall, but at this point I believe the team should really consider it.
News came out today that the Mets are going to elect John Franco to the Mets Hall of Fame. Now the Mets need to decide if they want to hang up number 45. The Brooklyn native spent 12 seasons on the Mets and is the all-time leader in saves by a Met and is fourth all-time. He was also the last player to be where the letter “C” on their jersey for the Mets. For me, Franco not only meets all three characteristics, but he exemplifies them.
Another Met pitcher how played for 12 years on the Mets and deserves serious consideration is Jerry Koosman. In his rookie season as a Met he went 19-12 with a 2.08 ERA somehow placed second in the Rookie of the Year voting, losing to Johnny Bench. For the Mets he had a career ERA of 3.09, he his second all-time in innings pitched by a Met, third all-time in wins and strikeouts, and was a major reason why the Mets won the World Series in 1969.
I’m sure about the waiting period to retire a player’s number, but as far as Koosman and Hernandez go, I think they’ve waited long enough. With this year being the 50th anniversary of the team, it would be a perfect time to retire Koosman’s or someone else’s number.
For me, I believe 36, 17, 45, and 31 need to be retired. Of course, this is an argument that could go on for days. Whose number to retire, and whose number not to. I don’t even want to get into David Wright and Reyes… that’s a discussion for another day.