Whether or not the Mets should retire Gary Carter’s number is something that Mets fans are debating today. What are your thoughts on that? The following post was originally published in July of 2011 by Derek Candela. Some strong cases are made on both sides within our comments. Enjoy this latest MMO Flashback. Our prayers and thoughts are with Gary Carter. - Joe D.
While it seems inevitable that the Mets will eventually retire Gary Carters uniform No. 8, one serious consideration the Mets ought to make is retiring Keith Hernandez’ No. 17 as well.
Carter’s No. 8 has not been issued to any Mets player since his Hall of Fame induction in 2003, and rightfully so. However, the same can not be said for Keith Hernandez’ number 17. Adding insult to injury, we’ve seen number 17 issued to players like Luis Lopez, David Newhan, Graeme Lloyd, Chin-lung Hu, and so on. It is very possible that Keith may never be inducted into the Hall of Fame due to his involvement in the Pittsburgh drug trials in 1985, but there is no way that Mets ownership should ignore his accomplishments on the field in a Mets uniform from 1983-1989.
Their achievements as Mets speak for themselves, but the numbers clearly show Hernandez as the superior of the two:
Without Carter AND Hernandez, the Mets do not win the World Series in 1986. It was Hernandez’ leadership abilities on the field that transformed the Mets from a last place team in 1983 to a division contender in 1984. When Carter arrived in 1985, the Mets went from a divisional contender to a World Series contender. It all paid off in 1986, but more importantly, the Mets as a team improved in all areas of the game and were always in the hunt for the post season in the mid to late 1980′s. They were better defensively, offensively and most importantly, pitching. Younger players like Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry developed a lot faster than expected. Veteran players like Ray Knight and Lee Mazzilli overachieved in 1986. Carter and Hernandez had undoubtedly influenced these Mets teams in the most positive ways possible on the field.
It is time for Mets ownership to do what is finally right and get some more retired numbers beyond the outfield walls at Citi Field.
Only one Mets player (Tom Seaver #41) has had his number retired in the 50 year history of the Mets. That is not nearly enough to show for a franchise with 4 pennants and 2 World Championships.
The Mets need to honor their two most respected and defining players of the 1986 team, before moving on to retire Mike Piazza’s No. 31 not too long afterwards. As far as Gooden and Strawberry go, they could be considered after Carter and Hernandez, but I say make them wait for their days a little bit longer because of their contributions to the crosstown rival Yankees in the late 1990′s that made them a World Championship powerhouse. That’s just my opinion though.