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metphistopheles
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May 2017
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captainsblog [userpic]
"Nobody retires here anymore. It's too crowded."

Yes, it's true. The day before the Mets return to the playing field for the first time since October 3rd, this blog rises from the dead for the first time since October 25th. (Trust me about leaving off the link; it was bad filk about an even worse post-season memory.) 

I haven't been dead, or even not writing. Hell, I wrote a whole novel in November; perhaps you've even seen it in a spam folder near you.  I just haven't had anything new to say about the Mets.

Still don't. They signed their best position player, finally; gave away their best pitcher for what will hopefully not turn out to be a bucket of balls; and generally did nothing else to redeem themselves or make themselves seem relevant in the coming year. Only the train wreck of Miami 2013 seems to be keeping the Mets safe from cellardom.

So, having nothing new to say, I'll retreat to something old- and even older- as I weigh in on the subject of retirement.

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37. 14. 41. 42. No, we're not Lost, but I think we're behind in the count, and hot stovers have brought it up in recent days. Today, FAFIF's Jason Fry offers his cents and sense about some of the coulda-been-contendahs.  He proposes going with two new ones: 31 for Piazza and 17 for Keith. (I presume Jack Dilauro and Don Bosch won't be invited to the ceremony.)  A second tier of numbers, leading off with 8, is proposed for a Senior Counsel level of not quite retirement: to be "on the shelf next to 24, to be assigned infrequently, and only when circumstances warrant."

With one exception, I concur. That exception is for the 8 Men.

The piece of 8 in that article was all about Gary Carter, the last man of any note to wear the number between the foul lines. His main disqualification seems to be that he was only here for five years, at least one of them being "awful."

Oh my God, wasn't it?  But if those are DQ's for enshrinement out there, we may as well paint over the four numbers we've got with a Dairy Queen ad and forget the whole thing. Casey Stengel was a Met for only five seasons. Likewise, Gil, except for a waning two months of Polo in 1963. Even the Franchise spent close to half his career with other franchises. And all of them had whole seasons that waned in comparison to their typical waxiness.

So if that's not a real objection, a case can be made for the Kid on his own, but it doesn't have to be. For this discussion needs to include the almost-Original owner of that number- the one who wore it the longest, ain't-over-till-it's-overed in it, and remains the oldest living man to ever wear it or any other number on those fields.

Yes, I give you Lawrence Peter Berra.

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It's not unprecedented to recognize a retirement in tandem. Burns and Allen, Abbott and Costello, and for our purposes, Staub and Dawson. Both of the latter wearers of numéro dix were honored by its retirement in Montreal before the inter-National incident of their shameful unretirement. Number 8 is already a shared memory across the Triboro, with Berra's time in it being shared with the second best ballplayer ever to be named Dickey.

Yogi's Mets tenure was itself mixed, and his Evil Empire connections may have kept him off the board to some extent. But just as he may not make the case alone, the combined mojo of the Old Man and the Kid should be enough. I daresay it must be.  We didn't do it when Gary Carter was still alive, but we damn should get an 8 on that wall while the Yahweh of Yoo-Hoo is still around to see it.

When I attended my first Citi Field game for the honoring of the 1969 Mets 40th season, it was Yogi's introduction, and inclusion among the heroes of my past, that brought me to tears. Likewise, when he stepped on Shea's plate for the final time following that horrid final game there the previous year.  Seeing him one more time, with the permanence of all those memories, would no doubt do it again.