(Joe McDonald/Sportsday Wire)
Mike Piazza has a date with a more exclusive club right now.
Today the Mets announced they are retiring No. 31 on July 30th, making Piazza the forth uniformed Met to have his number retired.
Yet, it wasn’t like anyone was wearing it to begin with. Piazza’s number was out of circulation since 2005 and it was just a matter of time before the Mets put it up on the wall.
That being said, the Mets still have Keith Hernandez’s No. 17, Gary Carter’s No. 8 and Willie Mays No. 24 out of circulation too. They should make a decision with those numbers as well.
We are not trying to say the Mets should be like the Yankees and have 22 retired numbers, but there are obvious oversights on the left field wall.
In 2016, the Mets have a golden opportunity to make up for Hernandez and Carter as this is 30th anniversary of the 1986 Mets. You can retire those numbers this year and no one would criticize you.
The Mets pulled No. 8 from circulation in 2003 – Matt Galante wore it – when Carter was elected to the Hall, but because he went in as an Expo, they never retired the number. They had their chance in 2003 and in 2012 when he passed away and whiffed on the opportunities.
So the Mets should use the 30th anniversary celebration of the last World Championship to put No. 8 up on the wall. Invite Carter’s family as well as having his ’86 teammates there. It’s the best solution for a difficult situation. Carter was beloved by the fans and a main reason why the 1986 team won the World Series. It should be done.
Hernandez, on the other hand, may not in the Hall of Fame but he is a Met icon. He has been a broadcaster since Piazza was on the team, while playing in the 1980s for the club. He is also in the Mets Hall of Fame. With all those years of service in the booth plus his leadership in the 1980s, it just makes sense that his number should be retired.
Heck, the club pulled 17 from circulation because of fan backlash in 2010.
Here’s the solution. The Mets should open their Hall of Fame up to their three broadcasters. Put Gary Cohen, who has been calling games in Queens since 1989 – longer than Lindsey Nelson broadcasted for the Mets – and Ron Darling, won 99 games for the Amazin’s and has 10 years in the booth, in the Mets Hall and retire then retire No. 17 for Hernandez.
The Mets can schedule this date anytime during the summer, and even though, Citi Field should be packed this summer, it doesn’t hurt to have another special day where tickets are a premium.
As for No. 24, keep it out of circulation until Willie Mays passes away and then start having players wear it again. Mays didn’t do anything for the Mets to retire his number. But since Mrs. Payson made a promise, the club should honor it.
The solution is clear. The Mets should just go ahead and retire 8 and 17 along with No. 31 this season. It’s not like the team will be accused of being like the Yankees who watered down there honorees over the years.
Piazza is going into this exclusive club, so should Hernandez and Carter.