In yesterday's Newsday, Steven Marcus explained that the Mets Hall of Fame committee is undecided about the possibility of retiring additional numbers. As it stands right now, the team has retired the numbers of Tom Seaver (41), Gil Hodges (14) and Casey Stengel (37) in their fifty year history. Of that group, only Seaver was fortunate enough to have his number retired based upon his work as a player. The Mets have been extremely selective when it comes to retiring numbers, and in my opinion it should stay that way.
Recently, there has been a lot of discussion about retiring the numbers of several 1986 Mets players. Gary Carter, Keith Hernandez, Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry find themselves amongst that group. The debate, especially within a group of passionate Mets fans, can become heated. However, are any of them really worthy of such an honor?
Simply put..I don't think any player who doesn't make the Hall of Fame should be eligible to have their number retired. That alone would eliminate everyone in this discussion with the exception of Gary Carter. Whether or not he meets the bar is anyone's guess. Personally, Carter is one of my favorite Mets of all time and the only throwback jersey I own. However, short of being an all-star human being in general, would he fit the bill if the Mets hadn't won a World Series during his tenure?
I'm not here to tell you whether or not the #8 should be hung on the left-centerfield party deck, but I do think that Carter is right at that bar. I wouldn't be upset if the team did decide to retire his number and I won't be upset when the team retires Mike Piazza's #31, but I think those are the only two who might fit the bill to date.
Unfortunately, the Mets past has not been littered with all-world baseball players. They don't have banners upon banners to hang from the rafters at Citi Field, but that doesn't mean they should compromise their previous standards to do so. Retiring numbers should be special. It should be reserved for the best of the best, and if a player isn't considered good enough to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame, they don't deserve to be enshrined in left-centerfield. The Mets should stick to their guns, because this is one of only a few things they've always done right!