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Why Carter’s #8 Should Be Retired

By Mike Silva ~ June 2nd, 2011. Filed under: Mike Silva, New York Mets.

I was a bit surprised about how polarized the fans are about retiring Gary Carter‘s number. This debate was born yesterday after Mike Vaccaro of the New York Post wrote how even the “tone-deaf” Mets know this is the right thing to do. The naysayers had a mixed bag of reasons; citing statistics, belief in more deserving members, and the feeling this would look to be an act of pity. I am here to say that not only is retiring Gary Carter‘s number the right thing to do – statistics be damned – but it’s something that should be done with the team on a broader scale.

There are six former members of the organization that should have their number retired: Gary Carter, Dwight Gooden, Darryl Strawberry, Keith Hernandez, John Franco, and Mike Piazza. At a time where the organization’s Q-Rating is in the toilet, scheduling ceremonies celebrating stars of the past would be a good way to reconnect with the fan base. Start this off by honoring the Kid sometime this summer.

Everyone knows the eighties Mets were built on strong pitching and the bats of Strawberry, Hernandez, and Carter. That young staff wouldn’t have come along so quickly without to the veteran presence of Carter. Statistically, you could argue that Carter only had two productive seasons in New York (’85-’86), but even after his body started to give out he remained an important member of that locker room. Everyone remembers his big hits in the 1986 postseason, but if the Mets win the World Series in 1988, his Game 1 single off Orel Hershiser in the NLCS would be right up there in terms of all time clutch hits in team history. Even when he stopped hitting consistently, he still provided value behind the plate. Remember, a catcher gets up four times a game, but they put their fingers down 200 times. His ability to manage that pitching staff was sorely missed after his departure in 1989. The Mets would go through 14 catchers until acquiring Mike Piazza in 1998.

The Mets should have retired a majority of these numbers a long time ago. It’s a disgrace how standoffish, until recently, they have been to the 86′ championship team. The fact that a defunct franchise that played in Montreal has more retired numbers is an even bigger disgrace. It’s time to start doing things right. Kick it off this summer by having Gary Carter’s number eight join Casey Stengel, Tom Seaver, Jackie Robinson, and Gil Hodges on the Citi Field wall.

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Mike Silva has hosted sports shows on 107.1 FM Champions ESPN Radio Long Island ,1240 AM WGBB , Blog Talk Radio and live from Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant. He’s also built and maintained two popular social media hubs: New York Baseball Digest and Sports Media Watchdog. Mike has broken national and local stories, as well as been mentioned on the YES Network, SNY.tv, WFAN, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, NY Daily News, New York Magazine, Journal News and the NY Post. Contact Mike professionally at mikesilvamedia.com

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16 Responses to Why Carter’s #8 Should Be Retired

  1. Patrick

    Loved Gary, favorite on that squad when I was a kid, but could not disagree more.

    Mets fans have always desperately been searching for reasons to pretend they have a deep seeded history. The truth is the Mets have always been a mutt like organization with very little to truly call their own.

    Gary was a great baseball player and deserving hall of famer and should be remembered as an important part of their second championship team, but his number is not worthy of being retired by the standards of teams and players before him.

  2. RonOK

    Mike, of the six players you listed — Gary Carter, Dwight Gooden, Darryl Strawberry, Keith Hernandez, John Franco, and Mike Piazza — the only two in my book that should definitely have their numbers retired are Hernandez and Piazza.

    I loved Gary Carter but he really only had two great years with the Mets …. I do think that retiring #8 now would be an act of pity and I am not sure anyone would want that.

    Strawberry and Gooden were destined for the Hall of Fame …. the simple fact is that they let Mets fans down in a huge way and I just cannot see them getting recognized for that.

    Gooden had great years in 1984 and 1985 … the fastball had already started to diminish in 1986 and by 1987 the drugs had consumed him …. Strawberry never really reached his full potential and then decided to abandon the Mets for the Dodgers …. you really think they should be rewarded for this?

    Franco — I know he had all those saves but aren’t they really accumulated due to longevity? Maybe that is a reason to have a number retired — I don’t know …. but I’d lean to no.

    Both Hernandez and Piazza dramatically changed the culture of their respective teams and turned them into winners. Carter was a compliment to Hernandez but Keith was the difference-maker. Piazza pretty much played the same role when he got here …. Ventura and Alfonzo complimented Mike … we wouldn’t consider having their of their numbers retired. I don’t think so anyway.

    I get your point and respect it …. I just don;t agree that all six of these numbers are worthy of being hung on the wall ….. frankly, I get Seaver, cannot understand Stengel, and almost understand Hodges.

  3. LongtimeFan

    I agree with the others. Carter performance plus only 5 years with the team doesn’t merit number retirement. Watering down the standards is act of desperation that diminishes the franchise, not elevates.

    Of the players mentioned, I think Piazza is the only player deserving and in a few years, when he reaches Cooperstown in Mets blue and orange, it will become official. That his number hasn’t been worn since his last game as Met, in 2005, is just an indication of what’s coming. Number retirement should be extraordinary rare and done for greatness and impact over time, like a Seaver. Carter does not fall under that header in a Mets uniform with his ho-hum overall stats.

  4. Marc R

    Piazza, Carter, Keith – Yes

    Strawberry, Gooden – My stats mind says yes, my broken heart says no.

    Franco – Every part of me says no (and my mouth would likely boo him at the ceremony)

    Mookie – Yes, Yes, Yes

    Bud Harrelson – At least made me think for a second about it.

  5. Marc R

    By the way, I refuse to believe that Carter’s less than stellar stats would somehow cheapen the Mets’ number retirement standards as long as Stengel is on that wall. His stats with the Mets weren’t so great either.

  6. Jon M

    Mike- great piece. I strongly agree with you on 5 of your candidates- the one exception being John Franco. Even though he put up some solid statistical season with the Mets and aggregated solid numbers over his career- I feel pretty strongly that he doesn’t deserve mention in this company (even if his numbers may support it).

    My sentiments are more closely aligned with Marc R in that Mookie Wilson would be another solid candidate. If for no other reason, the fact that Luis Castillo wore his #1 in between Mookie’s coaching stints should be reason alone to prevent future disasters…

  7. Jon M

    Just to reiterate, John Franco would cheapen the Mets number retirement standards- the other 5, Carter, Piazza, Gooden, Strawberry and Hernandez, would just be doing what’s right and what any decent franchise would do to honor it’s heroes.

  8. RonOK

    Jon M …. not to be combative in any way, but Gooden and Strawberry are hardly heroes to me

    A Met fan since 1964, I appreciate Gooden’s 1984 and 1985 seasons but detest the fact that he let fans, teammates and himself down with constant drug use …. I can forgive to a point but feel strongly that for the Mets to recognize this behavior would be wrong.

    Strawberry abandoned the franchise ….. he left to play with Eric Davis in LA … he has made amends since, but while he hit some majestic home runs, what did he really accomplish with the Mets?

    I respect your opinion …. if you consider them heroes, I respect that too.

  9. Mike Silva


    We have to get together in June like we talked about!!! Let me know if you are around.

  10. RonOK

    I will probably be up there around the July 4th weekend …. if I come up there I will let you know ….

  11. tnt1528

    gooden and strawberry disgraced the mets. you want to reward them??????? carter and hernandez werent here long enough.only 3 you can realy think about are piazza,franco, and if he was there long enough leiter.

  12. Tom

    I don’t see any of these guys as worthy for number retirement, including Carter. I’ve always liked that the Mets have never delved into Yankee territory, putting numbers on the wall of every briefly great or near-great player who won a ring. Roger Maris (3 great years), Billy Martin (average player, one championship as a manager), Reggie Jackson (5 yrs. of 20 with the Yankees, one great year, one great WS game). Retiring those numbers insults Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio and Mantle. To me, a retired number is the ultimate honor – it says you’re a once in a generation player so revered that no player from the franchise will ever wear that number again. Unfortunately, the honor has been cheapened into a promotional tool.

  13. FatMan

    Retiring numbers is for greats. Just because other franchise water down their retired numbers doesn’t mean the Mets should.

    It doesn’t mean they have to go unrecognized. I’m 99% sure that the Mets have a Hall of Fame where guys like Ed Kranepool are even rewarded for their roles.

    As has been said by others, Carter gave us 2+ good years. Gooden and Strawberry robbed us of their talents. Franco did NOTHING – the most complete waste. NEVER saved a big game. [Can you tell I still hate that trade?] Hernandez was my favorite ’86 Met, but I can’t see it.

    The only one I could support is Piazza. He gave a number of good years and took us from the embarrassment we became after signing Murray and Bonilla to compete again. His clutch homers were numerous. With the 7 run comeback yesterday, I recall his role in a similar one in 2000. His HR in 1999 game 6 to try and keep the NLCS alive with Atlanta. The one after 9/11. On and on.

    But, Carter? No.

  14. Stu B

    @FatMan: If Carter doesn’t get a 2-out, 2-strike hit in the bottom of the 10th inning of Game 6, the Mets lose the ’86 series in 6 games to the Red Sox. That was only the most clutch hit in team history!

  15. Tom

    Maybe the Mets can retire Kevin Mitchell’s and Ray Knight’s numbers too! They got hits in that inning. Maybe throw in Lenny Dykstra, who launched the turnaround of the 1986 World Series around when he led off game 3 with a homer. At the same time, the Yankees can add Roy White, Willie Randolph and Scott Brosius to the wall. Retired numbers for everyone!

  16. Gerry M

    Hernandez & Piazza – yes
    Carter, Franco, Gooden, Strawberry – no
    Ed Kranepool – yes! and yes I’m serious

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