The Mets announced on Tuesday they will retire Jerry Koosman’s 36 during a ceremony sometime next season.
“Jerry is one of the most iconic Mets of all-time and this forever honor is a tremendous representation of what he meant to the organization,” Jeff Wilpon said, according to Metsblog.com.
In a statement, Koosman said:
“The excitement of playing for the Mets when we won the 1969 World Series was an experience I never thought I’d be able to repeat. But the news that the Mets Hall of Fame Committee has voted to retire my number is another life-changing thrill and honor.
“This honor isn’t only for me and my family, it’s for the legions of fans I grew to love. To know that my number will be retired and sit alongside other team legends is one of the greatest tributes I could ever be granted. I was always proud to be a Met. Today, I am even prouder.”
This would be just the third player uniform number the Mets have retired, following Tom Seaver and Mike Piazza, a poor showing for a team with many more iconic players. Wilpon admitted, “We have a plan to catch up.”
It’s about time. Maybe Seaver’s dementia diagnosis and his retirement from public life was the kick in the tail the Mets needed to realize the team’s greats will not be around forever.
Koosman is a good start. He is arguable the third best pitcher in franchise history (behind Seaver and Dwigth Gooden). He won 140 games and pitched to an ERA of 3.09 in 12 years in Flushing. He was one of the heroes of the 1969 World Series — 2-0, 2.04 ERA with a complete game in the clinching Game 5. He also lost the Rookie of the Year vote in 1968 by one point to Johnny Bench (because one guy split his vote) and was second in the Cy Young vote in 1976. Truly a Mets a great.