Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Matt Cerrone from Metsblog had a piece yesterday on Mike Piazza and the conundrum of him going into the Hall of Fame as potentially a Dodger, but the idea of retiring his number as a Met. Of course, Piazza is up for induction in 2012, so this point could all be moot.

But it got me thinking (did you smell the wood burning yesterday) about retired numbers. As of now, we all know that the only retired Mets numbers are 37 (Old Perfesser), 14 (Silent Gil) and 41 (The Franchise), plus #42 universally for some really cool famous dude Jackie Robinson.
The closing out of Shea Stadium and opening of CitiField, we were able to see Tom Terrific and Mike Piazza throw the final and opening pitches, respectively. Clearly, we are able to see that Piazza is at least viewed upon in the Mets organization "up there" with Tom Seaver as far as being the "best" at his position. I mean, for sentimental reasons, they could have easily gone with Gary Carter. But Kid Carter himself is in the Hall as a defunct Expo. Mike Piazza, to the latest of the Shea Generation anyway, view Piazza as one of "us," as a "true" Met.

Sentimentality is not the reason I am writing this, however. I have heard from numerous camps to "Retire 17" for Fernando Tatis...nah, just kidding. For Keith Hernandez of course, for "leading" the Mets to the 1986 World Series and 1980s overall greatness. To me, though, Keith was one of the key cogs of a well-oiled machine and as the argument goes for me anyway that if you retire his number, Gary Carter's #8 is worthy of being retired as is Darryl Strawberry's #18. I could even argue that Gary Carter, who is in the Hall as an Expo, should have his #8 retired because the current-Expos, Washington Nationals, do not recognize him as one of them. Gary Carter is a perpetual player, without a team, a man without a country.

What has been the biggest travesty to me, however, is that while NONE of the late-80s Mets numbers have been retired, Davey Johnson has been treated like Chopped Liva.

Seriously, if you retire Casey Stengel's number for being the first Mets manager (and harboring a losing record) and Gil Hodges for being a Met player and a great Mets manager who led them to the World Series, then you HAVE to give props where they are due for Davey Johnson. He was a stat-head before the term was ever popular, he was a player's manager and basically he led the charge for the team to take over the NL East in 1986. If you can't retire any player's number from the '80s, 1986 specifically, retire Davey's.

Back to Piazza. Even if he goes in the Hall as a Dodger, would it be so terrible if the TWO teams claimed him and retired his number? There are plenty of Dodger fans who would like that, as I saw first hand what he meant to them as an up-and-comer in the earlier part of his career. Nolan Ryan went into the Hall as a Ranger and his number is retired He split the majority of his years between the two teams, and I don't know if the Dodgers would need to set that bar that he needs to go in the Hall as a Dodger. (The Red Sox, I think, are a team that puts "rules" on the numbers they retire).

Personally, I think it's ridick to think in those terms. Take Mark Messier in hockey for example. His #11 is retired in both Edmonton AND in New York, the two teams he had the biggest impact on. What would be the big deal?

Retiring a number may seem like something that is petty, compared to what the organization has done to us fans in the last three seasons. Understand though, along with bringing back the Mets Hall of Fame and having more regular inductions, retiring a number is just what the fans need to look forward to and get behind. A moment that is bigger than them, since winning a championship might be a long time coming.

Therefore, I propose, besides Coop for GM, that the Mets right a wrong and bring back Davey Johnson to retire his #5 and retire Piazza's number whether or not he gets into the Hall as a Met.


DyHrdMET said...

Coop for GM!!!

What defines having your number retired (in a general sports sense)? Of course, I can't seem to figure out where the line is drawn between Hall of Fame and "Hall of Very Good".

But I like the idea of retiring Davey's number 5. He did contribute to both Mets Worlds Championships (hell, so did Buddy Harrelson).

Solly said...

Amen sister - Davey deserves it and it would be fitting to grandfather Wright in with #5.

Why are the Mets so afraid of honoring anyone not named Seaver? I mean the Padres retired Randy Jones' 35 for fuck's sake. Randy Jones! If they can do that, there's no reason why the Mets can't put up 5, 8, 16, 17, and 18 along with 14, 37, 41, and 42.

Bear Man said...

You do know that if Davey's #5 is retired, Tsuyoshi Shinjo will be very upset.

Nolan Ryan has Messier beat. His number has been retired by the Angels, Astros and Rangers.

I hope the Mets read what I'm about to write. Steve Garvey only played for the Padres as their baseman from 1983-1987, never hit .300 for them, never scored more than 80 runs, never drove in more than 86 runs and only hit a total of 61 HR for them (barely over 12 per season). He led them to one NL pennant in 1984, but the Padres lost the World Series to Detroit that year.

Keith Hernandez played first base for the Mets from 1983-1989, hitting over .300 four times, scoring AND driving in over 80 runs four times, and although not a home run hitter, he hit 80 HR for the Mets. He not only led to the Mets to a pennant, he led them to a World Series victory in 1986 (and was on another division winner in 1988).

So who's number is retired? That's right. The Padres have retired Garvey's number while Keith's number gets given out to guys like Jose Lima.

Why are the Mets so afraid to retire numbers? I agree that Davey Johnson's number should be retired (glad you brought it up, since no one else seems to be doing so) as should Piazza's, but Keith HAS to be the next one to be retired. After all, like Messier, he wore the "C" on his jersey...

Coop for GM!! (or at least president of the retired jerseys committee)

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