By: Will Johnson

Anything The Yankees Can Do We Can Do Better

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The time has come. The Mets need to do something that’s been the Yankees territory for forever and a day. It’s time to retire a few numbers.

The Yankees announced that they’ll be retiring Bernie Williams, Jorge Posada and Andy Pettitte’s numbers. With these three numbers the Yankees will have 21 retired numbers. When they finally retire their patron saint of baseball Derek Jeter’s number 2, they won’t have anymore single numbers. The lowest number they’ll have available will be 11. Soon they’re either going to have to start using triple digit numbers or having letters.

“Now batting….Number 6G….Derek Jeter The Seventh.”

The Mets on the other hand have only three retired numbers. (Three numbers retired because they were Mets legends not because they were Jackie Robinson.) It was a trivia game my father used to quiz me on whenever we went to games. “Who was 37?” “Casey Stengel” “Good, you may sit down now.” 37, 14, 41. These were three men that changed the face of the Mets. If you don’t know who they are, stop reading now and go read up on Mets h

Casey Stengel was the man who brought people into the stadium. People came because of him, not the team. Gil Hodges led a team that had never finished higher then ninth to the world series champions. Tom Seaver *bows head in reverence* was the Mets first super star. He earned the nickname “The Franchise”.

Those three men helped the Mets become a beloved team. It’s time for the next three guys who helped change the Mets to have their days.

The next three numbers that need to be retired are 17, 8 and 31.

Keith Hernandez came to the Mets when they were at their lowest. The team played at Shea which had become known as Grant’s Tomb. There was nothing to be excited about. Then all of a sudden on June 15th, (the old trade deadline, also my best friend’s birthday) they got the best first baseman in baseball. He was a gold glover as well as an offensive force. This was a good day.

Hernandez admitted that he didn’t want to play for the Mets. He thought about retiring. Luckily he looked around and saw that there was some talent in the organization. He signed a contract to be with the Mets. He was the first step on the road to legitimacy and 1986. His number 17 should be retired.

Then in 1985, the Mets went out and got the best catcher in baseball. Gary “the Kid” Carter. He announced his arrival with a walk off home run on opening day that year. The final piece of the puzzle was there. The Mets had the best catcher and the best first basemen in baseball to lead a group of young brash players and established vets.

I feel that the Mets should’ve retired number 8 four years ago. When Gary was first diagnosed with cancer and it didn’t look good for him, they should’ve honored him. Invited him home to have the fans lavish the love he so richly deserved on him. But the opportunity was missed. That doesn’t mean they can’t remedy it. Retire the number this year. Not only that but have a Gary Carter day at Citi. Retire the number and announce that all proceeds will go to the Gary Carter Foundation.

The last number they should retire is 31. Mike Piazza deserves it. He came to the team after a much praised run with the Marlins and helped to shed the image the Mets had in the ’90s.

The 90s were a dark time for the Mets. It was a time of big contracts and little production. It was the time of Bobby Bonilla. The time of Vince Coleman throwing firecrackers at kids and injuring Dwight Gooden with golf club. It was a dark time to be a Mets fan. Especially with the Yankees beginning their dynasty.

Then the Mets acquired Piazza from the Marlins. When I had first heard about it I thought there’d been a mistake. Not that the Mets had gotten him, the fact that he was coming from the Marlins. I didn’t know that the Dodgers had traded him a week earlier. See this was before twitter and facebook. You didn’t get info as quickly. Yes there was a time before Facebook.

All of a sudden the Mets had a big name. An offensive power house. I think him being on the team helped get Robin Ventura and Al Leiter to come to Queens. He was a legitimate star. He helped the Mets play meaningful baseball in ’98, the playoffs in ’99 and of course the World Series in ’00. For changing the teams image he deserves to have his number retired.

It also would be nice to double up on 31 being retired. Piazza and John Franco. Franco is the all time leader in saves by a southpaw. He deserves to be honored. If for nothing else then sticking with the team through the lean years.

Honor these guys. Embrace the history. Let’s beat the Yankees at their own game. Cause the retired Mets numbers is the most exclusive club in New York. It seems like all you have to do for the Yankees is hold a bat and you get your number retired.  For the Mets, you need to make a sesmic change to the team. All three did so for the Mets and need to be recognized.

About Will Johnson

Mets fan since birth. Mookie Wilson is my hero. Chase Utley is my mortal enemy.

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