December 12th, 1984, the Mets acquired one of their best players to ever grace our presence in Flushing. Immediately, the fanbase was ecstatic over the acquisition, but in the coming years, Carter would prove to be one of the greatest Mets of all time. In only a mere five seasons, most of the fifth spent on the DL, Carter with his child-like exuberance and play, found a special place in every person’s heart that calls themselves a Met fan.
But why hasn’t “The Kid” gotten his special moment with the Mets, the everlasting honor of having his number retired. In twenty or thirty years from now, when “Little Johnny Mets Fan” is going to his first game, looks out into left field and asks his father about those numbers on the wall, shouldn’t he know about Carter? The Co-captain of the World Champion 1986 Mets? Who started the inconceivable rally in the legendary Game 6 of the ’86 world series? Who iconically leaped into the arms of Jesse Orosco following the last out of Game 7? That answer, is an unequivocal YES.
Since 2003, since Carter’s induction into the Hall of Fame, the Mets have yet to recirculate his legendary number 8. The Mets only player to have their number retired is of course “The Franchise” Tom Seaver. It is high time to give the Mets their first position player their due.
When the Expos became the Washington Nationals, more or less, they put all of the once retired numbers back into circulation, including Carter and Rusty Staub. After such a slap in the face to Carter and the other great Expos, the Mets need to retire Carter’s number. Carter wanted to go into the hall of fame as a Met. Despite playing 12 seasons in Montreal, Carter loved New York and would have preferred to be immortalized as a Met. It is only fair that the Mets show Carter the same respect.
On a personal note, Gary Carter’s playing career before my time, but he, Piazza and Seaver are my three favorite Mets of all time. I have always been an advocate of retiring Carter’s, Piazza’s and Hernandez’s numbers, but due to the recent diagnosis of Carter, a proper and well-deserved move would be to retire his number. This is not just because he is well overdue for it, nor a move to please to fan base, but also to give Carter a personal boost while going through such a depressive period.
I just want to make clear, his number should not be retired now because of the recent discovery of inoperable cancerous tumors in Carter’s brain, but because this should have been done a long time ago.
Kid, I have been praying for you and I hope you can pull through. Feel better and hopefully the next time we will see you is in center field during a pre-game ceremony for the well-deserved retiring of the iconic number 8.