Is an Actual “C” Really Necessary?


Terry Collins has told reporters he plans on going to the front office about making David Wright the Official Captain. And while the details are not out yet on if this will include the “C” on the front of his jersey, whether or not it should be there is very much up for debate.

By all accounts, David Wright is as “official” a Captain as one can be without a Declaration. My personal opinion is that it was his leadership and play to begin 2012, and how he came back with a broken pinky to homer on the first pitch (going 3-5 with some nifty defensive plays on the day), that solidified a role people had been trying to hand him since the day he arrived. THAT moment in Philly was where there was no turning back for the unity of the two entities, and the role Wright would play in it.

Since it’s most likely the front office will sign off on it, let’s already say David Wright is the first Mets Captain since John Franco, who wore a “C” on the front of his jersey. Is it really necessary, though, for the man who will, barring catastrophe, be the greatest position player in the history of this franchise when it is all said and done?

While Franco did wear the Orange and Blue “C,” his predecessors present two different schools of thought. Keith Hernandez was named Team Captain in 1987 and wore a “C.” Gary Carter was named Co-Captain a year later during his infamous home run drought, but DID NOT wear the “C” (whose decisions these each were is unclear to me at the moment.)

Looking around the Major Leagues currently, the only two Captains are Paul Konerko of the Chicago White Sox and Derek Jeter of Those Guys, and both do not wear the “C.”. Though I don’t think it make sense for Jeter to wear it, I have a feeling it is mostly an arrogant move on their part. It probably has more to do with “not defacing the Yankee Pinstripes” than anything else. Paul Konerko, it appears, falls more in the David Wright category: everyone knows he is the Team Captain, we have officially made him such, but he doesn’t need to wear the “C” because the people in that clubhouse know he’s the Captain, the people in those stands know he’s the Captain, and they all look towards him as such.*

Well…that’s at least the direction I want the Mets to go.

Looking at recent examples of Captains throughout the MLB, Jason Varitek comes to mind, who wore a red “C” patch above his left chest. Mike Sweeney was Captain of the Royals from 2003-2007 and wore a “C” above his right chest (I think it looks better on the Red Sox Uni than the Royals- aesthetically speaking, of course; not in terms of the individual wearing it.)

Around sports, there are varying degrees of “C’s” and no “C’s.” Some NBA teams have designated Team Captains but they do not wear a “C.” In football, most teams designate at least one offensive Captain, at least one defensive Captain and at least one special teams Captain. These Captains wear a “C” patch with varying amounts of Gold Stars depending on the years the individual has been a Captain (5+ years, you have 4 stars and the entire “C” patch goes gold.) Generally, the quarterbacks are the ones wearing the “C” on offense.

And of course, there’s hockey, where every team has a Captain and an Alternate Captain, with each wearing a “C” and an “A”, respectively. The “C” patch is so affiliated with the ice that even the Baseball Captain wikipedia page refers to it as an “NHL-style ‘C.'”

There is also a quote on the page from Jerry Remy, who was named Captain of the CA Angels at age 24 in 1977, on whether the sport even needs the designated position:

"…there’s probably no need for a captain on a major league team. I think there are guys who lead by example. You could name the best player on your team as captain, but he may not be the guy other players will talk to or who will quietly go to other players and give them a prod.”"

In the Mets case, however, the best player on the team IS that guy. He handles himself that way and everyone treats him as such.

(I also disagree, generally, with the comment that there is no need for one on a Major League team. If an individual has exerted himself in that way, it is a big statement for a franchise to make if they Proclaim that person as the Leader.)

Since it seems a foregone conclusion that David Wright will become the 4th NY Mets Captain, my personal opinion is that a “C” is not needed when it comes to David Wright’s role becoming official.

This thought process is mostly aesthetic, I guess.

I don’t need the visual redundancy since David Wright is already as much a Captain as anybody else in baseball.

How about you? What is your opinion on David Wright and the “C” patch? Write ’em in the comment section to get the debate goin’, and/or send us a tweet @risingappleblog.

*Some Yankee fans may say that it’s the same circumstances as how I outline the Paul Konerko situation, but if there are any Yankee fans actually reading this article, you know a good amount of you read the line, “not defacing the pinstripes” and said to yourselves, “Damn straight.” So yeah, there’s a separate element to the no “C” for Jeter.

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