The New York Mets are known for a lot of things. One thing they aren’t known for is retiring numbers. It is one part of baseball that they keep very exclusive. While some fans gripe about it, one beloved former New York Met is perfectly fine with it and thinks that’s the way it should be.
Recent Hall of Fame inductee, Mike Piazza, told reporters on Saturday (7-30):
“It’s great the Mets keep it very exclusive, so that’s even that much more special.”
You cannot argue with his logic.
The retiring of a number is special because it is exclusive. It tells a former player just how much of an impact they had and what they meant to the organization. At Citi Field, Piazza got to join the very elite of New York Mets baseball with Tom Seaver, Casey Stengel and Gil Hodges.
There is no questioning the impact Piazza had on the team in Flushing or what he has meant to the fans. His most memorable years were at Shea Stadium. He is probably one of the few players where it did not matter what uniform he wore after he left the Mets, he was always cheered by the Mets faithful. Even if he hit home run against the home team.
Over the years Mets fans have been calling for several numbers to be retired including 1986 favorites Gary Carter and Keith Hernandez. They feel those two players had a major impact on that team. Ponder for a moment what 1986 would’ve looked like if they were not on that team. Actually don’t. You might get depressed.
Retiring number 31 at home is the best way to honor Piazza. It was the perfect ending to such an amazing time for the greatest hitting catcher of all time.
It started in Cooperstown and it ended at Citi Field with the fans who made him family.
It was one more chance for the fans, the Wilpons and the whole Mets organization to say ‘thank you’ to the man who made being a New York Met “cool”.
Who do you think the next number to be retired should be?