The Mets notoriously have been very exclusive when determining who gets their number retired. The only players who have played for the Mets that have their number retired are the late Tom Seaver and Mike Piazza. The commonality between the two is that they both wear Mets hats on their Hall of Fame plaque. New owner, Steve Cohen, has commented in the past about wanting to include new numbers with Seaver and Piazza.
As it stands right now, Jerry Koosman is the only other player who will officially have his number retired. Koosman’s ’36’ will be up there next to Seaver’s ’41’ and Piazza’s ’31’. What other numbers should the Mets retroactively retire and retire in the future? Here are my top candidates to have their numbers retired by the Mets.
David Wright – #5
The Captain’s career ended just a few short years ago. Similarly to Dustin Pedroia, Wright was well on his way to Cooperstown before injuries derailed his career. David Wright is the franchise leader for career WAR for a position player. He is also the franchise leader in hits, RBIs, doubles, total bases, and more. He would have passed Darryl Strawberry for homeruns had he not gotten injured.
Wright also demonstrated what it meant to be a Met. Not only was he a career Met, he showed extreme loyalty when it was time for him to become a free agent. The Mets were in dark times after the 2011 season. They chose to let Jose Reyes walk in order to have enough money to sign Wright long term. Wright signed an 8 year, $138 million contract to stay with the Mets even though he could have gotten more else. Not only could he have gotten more money, but he could have had a chance to win a World Series. He chose to stay with the Mets and ended up as one of the greatest and most important players in franchise history.
Gary Carter – #8
Gary Carter could have been a part of this club a long time ago had he worn a Mets on his Hall of Fame plaque. Instead, he is wearing his Montreal Expos hat. Gary Carter was traded to the Mets in the winter prior to the 1985 season. He was the final piece to the puzzle that was a very young and very good Mets team. He played a pivotal role in leading the Mets to their World Series title in 1986. Carter slashed .255/.337/.439 in 1986. He hit 24 home runs and drove in 105 runs. Those numbers were good for an all-star appearance, a silver slugger, and a third-place finish in the MVP voting. Carter sadly passed away in the winter of 2012. A number retirement would be an excellent way to honor Carter’s contributions to the Mets.
Keith Hernandez – #17
Along with Carter, Keith Hernandez was a big trade piece that helped the Mets get over the top in the mid ’80s. He was traded to the Mets from the St. Louis Cardinals mid season in 1983. He accumulated 26.6 WAR with the Mets while playing a pivotal role in their 1986 World Series title. Hernandez also was one of the few official captains of the Mets joining Gary Carter, John Franco, and David Wright as official team captains. Hernandez is one of the best players to not be in the Hall of Fame. He is a 12-time Gold Glove winner as well as an MVP. He still plays a pivotal role for the Mets as one of the voices of the Mets on SNY.
There are some names that are in the tier below these guys that could get their number retired or were on pace to but did something to ruin their chances. Carlos Beltran was a top candidate as he was one of the best center fielders in team history. However, his role in the Astros banging scheme and his dismissal as team manager most likely ruined those chances. Both Doc Gooden and Darryl Strawberry have the numbers to be deserving but their off-field antics with drugs and other issues ruined that. Jose Reyes is also a part of this club. These guys did a lot for the franchise but did not do enough to get their numbers retired by the Mets.
As a fan, it is very refreshing to see Steve Cohen relax the standards that have been in place. The Mets have a rich history and many impactful players that need to be recognized. It should be interesting to see how Cohen decides to handle this and the catching up the team needs to do to honor their history. The three I specifically mentioned should follow Koosman as the next former players to get their numbers retired by the Mets. By no means do I think the Mets should retire numbers like the Yankees, but they do need to open the club up a little bit more.
-Pete Chatterton (@Pchat12)
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