For as good as he was, Jerry Koosman is often overlooked.
Unfortunately, that’s a byproduct of standing alongside Tom Seaver, arguably the best pitcher in the entire live ball era.
Jerry Koosman was overlooked again this week, decades after his retirement, and the Mets have only themselves to blame.
The Mets announced that they would retire Jerry Koosman’s number, putting his 36 on display in left field for eternity. It’s a great honor, as the Mets, who have been in existence since 1962, have only retired four numbers. Furthermore, two of those numbers belonged to Met managers, (Casey Stengel and Gil Hodges.)
In an attempt to control the news cycle, the Mets made this announcement right before being eliminated from postseason contention. The attention given to the lefty was short-lived as the focus soon shifted towards another lost season. The next day, all eyes were on Jacob deGrom who seemingly wrapped up his second Cy Young Award season in a row.
Given the timing, it’s clear this was a desperate, shameful PR stunt.
You know when would have been a good time to announce this news?
How about this June? You know, when the Mets allotted an entire weekend at Citi Field to honor the 1969 Mets?
The Mets have always had lofty standards for retiring numbers. They waited until Mike Piazza was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame before hanging up his #31.
Growing up, it was understood that the Mets would not retire a player’s number until they were inducted into the Hall of Fame.
After the Koosman announcement, G̶M̶ COO Jeff Wilpon mentioned that more numbers would be retired in the future. Furthermore, the Mets will be “relaxing” their standards for the future jersey retirements.
Listen, I want to see David Wright’s number retired. And as much as it pains me to type this, the third baseman will never be inducted to Cooperstown.
Many Met fans will tell you that in a big game, you didn’t want anyone on the mound besides Jerry Koosman. He played an integral role on one of the most iconic teams in sports history.
The issue is not “who” is being honored. It’s “why” they are being honored. Even if the Mets are twenty games out in August, a David Wright night will ensure a packed house.
Maybe, they were blindsided by Tom Seaver’s diagnosis and retirement from public life. Perhaps the Mets just want to give their players roses while they can still smell them going forward.
From where I’m sitting, it looks like the Mets have realized it’s easier to hang jerseys than pennants.
CELEBRATING JERRY KOOSMAN
346 Games Started
108 Complete Games
3,045.2 Innings Pitched
1 World Series Championship