Last week we learned from Dave Lennon of Newsday that the Mets are waiting for Mike Piazza to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame for them to retire number 31. For me, that takes away from the honor of retiring someone’s number. It should not be about if someone else sees him as a great player, it should be about how Piazza impacted the New York Mets from 1998-2005. If they look at the mark he left on solely the Amazin’s,–and they should– then his number should have already been retired long ago.
It is no question that Piazza will go into the Hall of Fame, –likely as a Met as well– but the principle of the fact that the Mets want to wait until a group of several hundred writers confirm what the rest of us already know makes the honor less special. It sends a message that they want to see others approve of him as an all-time great before they go ahead and retire the number.
In recent years, when Greg Maddux and Frank Thomas called it a career following the 2008 season, the Braves and Whitesox wasted no time in immortalizing their star players on the walls of Turner Field and Comiskey Park. They didn’t care what Peter Gammons or Jon Heyman thought of these players’ careers. They saw what they gave to their respective franchises as enough for them to honor them permanently by retiring their number.
Even the Mets themselves retired Tom Seaver’s 41 in 1988 before he was inducted into the Hall. At the time of his number being retired, of course everyone knew he was making it to Cooperstown. The Mets saw his accomplishments as good enough for them, why don’t they think the same of Piazza. Why does arguably the greatest hitting catcher of all-time have to be proven to his old club that he is worthy of having his number plastered in left field? Did he not do enough for the Amazin’s over his eight years in Flushing?
It should be about his contribution to the Mets, not what accolades or recognition he receives because of it. And why Fred Wilpon, Sandy Alderson or whoever is in charge of that cannot see this is beyond me.