#45: Tug McGraw
No player had as much pizzazz and fun as a Met than Tug McGraw. He pitched for the Mets for nine seasons and won a World Series ring in 1969.
In 1973, with the Mets slumping, a meeting took place with Chairman M. Donald Grant. Grant said that ownership was still behind the team, but that the team has to believe in themselves. At that moment, McGraw got up and yelled out “YA GOTTA BELIEVE!!”
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The Mets went on a hot streak and became the rally cry for that team. The lost the World Series in seven games to the Oakland A’s, but to this day that rally cry is as alive as ever.
McGraw is also a member of the Mets Hall of Fame and should have serious consideration to have his number retired.
#47: Jesse Orosco
A huge fan favorite whose most famous moment is when he struck out Marty Barrett and threw his glove up in the air. The Mets were World Series champions in 1986 and Orosco was a huge part of it.
Orosco appeared in the most games ever in the majors, breaking pitcher Kent Tekulve‘s record. He was the left-handed counterpart to Roger McDowell and pitched for the Mets from 1979 through 1987. I never understood why the Mets traded him away. He wound up pitching for another 15 seasons, most of which were very productive as a lefty specialist.
He made two All-Star teams and won 13 games for a 1983 Mets team that only won 68 games. Another fan favorite, Orosco’s #47 is definitely worth discussion of retiring his number.
I do not expect the Mets to retire enough numbers that single digits won’t be available anymore. However, the Mets have not done an adequate job of paying homage to their former players. The Mets are who they are because of their history, and fans have a very long memory of beloved players that contributed greatly to the organization. Retiring their number is the greatest sign of respect a team can show for that player.
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I’m sure there are players that I didn’t write about that you feel should be brought up. I would love your feedback because perhaps the Mets will finally take notice and start retiring some numbers.