Danny Abriano, SNY.tv | Twitter |
After the Mets announed Tuesday that they would be retiring Jerry Koosman's No. 36 during the 2020 season, COO Jeff Wilpon said the team has "a plan to catch up" when it comes to retiring more numbers.
Koosman will become just the third player (along with Tom Seaver's No. 41 and Mike Piazza's No. 31) to have his number retired, and will be the first non-Hall-of-Fame Mets player to receive the honor.
With Koosman's number about to take its place alongside Seaver and Piazza (and Casey Stengel, Gil Hodges, and Jackie Robinson), here are four other Mets who are deserving...
David Wright, No. 5
This one is as close to a slam-dunk as it gets. Wright was a homegrown Met, spent his entire career (2004-2018) with the team, became captain, and was one of the best offensive players in the history of the franchise. And it's fair to expect Wright's number will be retired soon after he officially retires.
Before injuries derailed his career, Wright wasn't just on pace to be the best Mets position player of all-time -- he was arguably on pace to reach the Hall of Fame.
Through his first six and a half seasons (2004 to 2010), Wright hit .305/.383/.516 with 169 homers, 258 doubles, 664 RBI, 138 stolen bases, and an OPS+ of 136. From 2006 to 2010, Wright made five consecutive All-Star teams and was a Top 10 vote-getter for MVP each year.
After 2010, with the health woes beginning and then becoming impossible to shake, Wright had only one other season where he wasn't severly limited due to injury (2012, when he hit .306/.391/.492 with 21 homers in 156 games).
Gary Carter, No. 8
Carter's stint with the Mets (1985-1989) is the briefest of any player on this list, but it's fair to argue that his impact was the greatest.
Acquired via trade from the Expos before the 1985 season, Carter is viewed by many as the piece that put the Mets over the top when it came to their ability to win the World Series -- which they did in 1986 as Carter hit .255/.337/.439 with 24 homers during the regular season before getting huge hits in the NLCS against the Astros and World Series against the Red Sox.
It was Carter whose effervescent personality helped define those great Mets teams of the mid-to-late 80s, and Carter who started the two-out rally in Game 6 of the World Series with the Mets one out from elimination.
Carter was also team co-captain -- along with Keith Hernandez -- from 1988-89.
Carlos Beltran, No. 15
When you say 'Carlos Beltran,' there are still some Mets fans who immediately cringe and start talking about the wicked curve ball Beltran took for strike three in Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS at Shea Stadium as the Mets' World Series hopes died. Those fans are doing a great disservice to the tenure Beltran had with the Mets.
Quite simply, Beltran is the best two-way player the Mets ever had (Darryl Strawberry -- more on him at the end of the article -- has him beat offensively, but was not nearly the defensive player Beltran was). Beltran's Mets career -- 2005 to 2011 -- looked like this at the plate: .280/.369/.500 with 149 homers, 208 doubles, and 559 RBI.
A four-time All-Star during his Mets tenure, Beltran was one of the best hitters in baseball during that time while also one of the best defensive center fielders in baseball.
And if you're one of the fans who wants to harp on Beltran watching a curve ball that no one would have hit, you should also realize that the Mets probably don't make it to Game 7 in 2006 without Beltran, who hit three homers earlier in the series.
While Beltran was tremendous with the Mets, his overall career is Hall-of-Fame worthy. And looking at his numbers, it's fair to say he should go in with a Mets cap on his plaque if he makes it. Before that choice is made, he deserves to have his number retired by the team.
Keith Hernandez, No. 17
Like Carter, Hernandez was an irreplaceable part of the great Mets teams of the mid-to-late 80s. And like Carter, Hernandez had multiple huge hits during the 1986 postseason that helped propel New York to the title -- including a two-run single in Game 7 of the World Series that helped key the Mets' comeback.
Hernandez, who was acquired from the Cardinals via trade during the 1983 season, was the Mets' captain in 1987, later serving as co-captain with Carter from 1988-89.
During his Mets tenure from 1983 to 1989, Hernandez hit .297/.387/.429 with 468 RBI, finished Top 10 in MVP voting three times, was a three-time All Star, and won five Gold Gloves at first base.
As it was for Koosman's No. 36, the retirement of No. 17 is overdue for Hernandez.
When it comes to Darryl Strawberry's No. 18, a strong case can certainly be made that his number also deserves to be retired by the Mets. But the acrimonious way Strawberry left the Mets for the Dodgers after the 1990 season -- saying "they just let me walk away" -- and his odd bashing of the team in 2017 (a rant that ignored facts) makes this one a 'no' for now.