Tuesday, February 21, 2012
The Numbers Don't Lie
With the recent passing of Gary Carter, it got me thinking about the numbers retired by the Mets: 37 for Casey Stengel, 14 for Gil Hodges, and 41 for Tom Seaver. Does Kid deserve the same honor?
If you look at the numbers, probably not. He had two solid years in Flushing before his career started to go south. Does he really belong there with Seaver? Does he "deserve" it before Piazza? Before Hernandez, Gooden, Strawberry, et al?
On the flip side, I always felt that Carter's worth was beyond the statistics he put up as a Met. A true leader in every sense of the word. And not for nothing but if we're so hung up on Carter's stats in NY, remember that Stengel was a joke and that Hodges only had three winning seasons as Mets manager. By that rationale, Davey Johnson should have the fucking stadium named after him.
Retired numbers are a tricky issue. The Padres retired 6 for Steve Garvey and 35 for Randy Jones. Do they really belong there with Winfield, Gwynn, and Hoffman? If a team like the Padres honored players who won NOTHING for them, why can't a storied franchise (yeah I said it) like the Mets honor their winners like Johnson, Carter, Hernandez, Gooden, and Strawberry?
The Mets are in a no-win situation here. If they do nothing, they're seen as heartless bastards. If they retire 8, they're seen as opportunistic since they had chances to retire it years ago.
VERDICT: I'd like to see them retire the number. This is a franchise that built a statue for a player who never wore the orange & blue so I don't think it's too much to ask to honor one of their own. A great Met and even better man.
I know they're going to do something to honor him, I just hope they do right by someone who always did right by everyone else.