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It’s time for the Mets to retire #8. September 23, 2015

Posted by tomflesher in Baseball.
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Yogi Berra has passed away. In his 90 years, he served as a player and coach, a Navy seaman at Normandy, a source of lighthearted comedy, and an inspiration to many young players and fans. Although he famously didn’t say everything he said, Yogi is a memorable character who will never be forgotten.

Yogi and his fellow #8, Gary Carter, have a lot in common. They are both remembered for accomplishments with other teams. Yogi’s #8 was retired by the Yankees in 1972, and he was memorialized in the Broadway play “Bronx Bombers.” Meanwhile, Carter is in Cooperstown as an Expo, despite his greatest success coming as a Met.

Two great 8s.It’s been three years since Gary Carter passed away. He was an enormous part of baseball in the region, serving as a manager in the Mets’ minor league system and for the Long Island Ducks. Before he coached, Carter hit 324 home runs, 89 as a Met. He was at the core of the 1986 World Series Championship team. More importantly, Carter was known for his intensity and deep love of the game.

Both Berra and Carter were excellent catchers and excellent hitters, as well as team players. Their importance to the Mets wasn’t merely on-field, though. Both Carter and Berra are regarded as legends by the fans for their presence during formative times for the team. Just as Carter managed in the minor league system, Berra’s most important contributions to the Mets were as a coach and later a manager. In addition, both were active philanthropists after leaving the diamond.

Yogi Berra and Gary Carter weren’t the sole keys to victory on the field when they were Mets, but their presence had long and persistent effects on the Mets organization. Both men had Hall of Fame careers. Even if you can’t justify retiring #8 for Yogi’s brief tenure as a manager, or for Gary’s short but successful Mets career, numbers need not be retired only for on-field accomplishments. Yogi Berra and Gary Carter are two great men, two great hitters, catchers, coaches, and 8s. It’s time for the Mets to acknowledge their contributions not just on the field but to the brand and public image of the Mets.