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.