With word Tuesday that the Yankees plan to retire the numbers of Bernie Williams and Jorge Posada this year, along with the previously announced Andy Pettitte, the subject of the Mets failure to retire more than Tom Seaver’s 41 has reared its ugly head. The New York Post says the Mets should steal the Yankees thunder by retiring Mike Piazza’s 31. But really, is that why the Mets should make a move they should have done years ago?
Almost everyone agrees Piazza’s number should have been retired at some point since he left the game after the 2007 season. It appears the Mets are waiting for him to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, which will probably happen next year. But why wait? The Mets inducted Piazza into the team’s Hall of Fame two years ago — a perfect time to retire his number, too.
Perhaps the Mets are fearful the PED whispers will somehow become fact, and they would be embarrassed to have a steroid user’s number hanging in their stadium. But his plaque is already hanging in the Mets Museum. What’s the difference?
In addition to Piazza, Mets fans are clamoring for the likes of Jerry Koosman, Keith Hernandez, Gary Carter, Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry to have their numbers retired. Let’s put those arguments away for another day. Because today it would just be nice if the Mets just offered us some guidance on their criteria for retiring numbers.
Every team seems to have its own policy regarding retiring numbers. For example, The Red Sox actually say that a player has to make the Hall of Fame and have played in Boston for at least 10 seasons. Without being said specifically, it is clear the Orioles, Phillies and Pirates have the same rule.
The Astros seem to induct anyone who was a fan favorite, while a team like the Padres retired Steve Garvey’s number solely for hitting “the most famous home run in Padres history” that took them to their first World Series in 1984.
Whether you agree or not, at least those teams have policies that fans can understand, so they know why certain players have their numbers retired or not. Not the Mets. If they have a rule at all, they are not telling us. Once again they leave fans twisting in the wind, trying to figure out the team’s motives. This should not really come as a surprise; after all, how forthcoming are the Mets about anything (cough, cough — Madoff will not affect the team’s operations)?
So please, Mets, either reveal your retired numbers policy, or come up with one and tell us. That’s not asking for too much, is it?