Why Mets should retire #8

I was a bit surprised about how polarized the fans are about retiring Gary Carter‘s number. This debate was born yesterday after Mike Vaccaro of the New York Post wrote how even the “tone-deaf” Mets know this is the right thing to do. The naysayers had a mixed bag of reasons; citing statistics, belief in more deserving members, and the feeling this would look to be an act of pity. I am here to say that not only is retiring Gary Carter‘s number the right thing to do – statistics be damned – but it’s something that should be done with the team on a broader scale.

There are six former members of the organization that should have their number retired: Gary Carter, Dwight Gooden, Darryl Strawberry, Keith Hernandez, John Franco, and Mike Piazza. At a time where the organization’s Q-Rating is in the toilet, scheduling ceremonies celebrating stars of the past would be a good way to reconnect with the fan base. Start this off by honoring the Kid sometime this summer.

Everyone knows the eighties Mets were built on strong pitching and the bats of Strawberry, Hernandez, and Carter. That young staff wouldn’t have come along so quickly without to the veteran presence of Carter. Statistically, you could argue that Carter only had two productive seasons in New York (’85-’86), but even after his body started to give out he remained an important member of that locker room. Everyone remembers his big hits in the 1986 postseason, but if the Mets win the World Series in 1988, his Game 1 single off Orel Hershiser in the NLCS would be right up there in terms of all time clutch hits in team history. Even when he stopped hitting consistently, he still provided value behind the plate. Remember, a catcher gets up four times a game, but they put their fingers down 200 times. His ability to manage that pitching staff was sorely missed after his departure in 1989. The Mets would go through 14 catchers until acquiring Mike Piazza in 1998.

The Mets should have retired a majority of these numbers a long time ago. It’s a disgrace how standoffish, until recently, they have been to the 86′ championship team. The fact that a defunct franchise that played in Montreal has more retired numbers is an even bigger disgrace. It’s time to start doing things right. Kick it off this summer by having Gary Carter’s number eight join Casey Stengel, Tom Seaver, Jackie Robinson, and Gil Hodges on the Citi Field wall.

By Mike Silva
Thursday, 2 Jun 2011


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