Jacob deGrom was on track to becoming an obvious New York Mets player to have his number retired. Until recently, only Tom Seaver and Mike Piazza had their numbers hung from the rafters. Jerry Koosman and Keith Hernandez recently joined them as did Willie Mays in a surprise ceremony during the 2022 season. We should expect David Wright to have his day as well as a few others.
deGrom’s departure from the Mets after the 2022 season was a disappointment for many fans. He leaves with a 43.8 WAR with the franchise, fourth among all players. He’s ahead of Koosman, Darryl Strawberry, and Carlos Beltran. Only Seaver, Wright, and Dwight Gooden accumulated a higher number in their Mets careers.
deGrom has a few years left to play, but it won’t be for the Metropolitans. When the time comes and he has retired, will the Mets hold a ceremony to make sure no player ever wears 48 ever again?
Why the Mets will not retire Jacob deGrom’s number
Looking at the players who have had their number retired, there’s a theme. Seaver and Piazza are two of the best in MLB history. Seaver is the greatest Mets player. Piazza is their best catcher and the greatest offensive backstop in the game’s history.
Hernandez was a leader for the championship team in 1986 and remains a big figure within the franchise on the broadcast. Koosman’s number retirement was in honor of a pitcher who stayed with the franchise for a long time, contributing throughout the late 1960s and into the 1970s.
Only Mays, whose jersey retirement came as an overdue promise made by Joan Payson, didn’t have the numbers or Mets legacy as these others. We understand why it still occurred. Mays is a New York baseball icon.
deGrom definitely left his own lasting impression on the city, fans, and franchise. When it comes to number retirements, he’s part of a new era of starting pitchers. He leaves the Mets with some fantastic accomplishments. Due to how short it was and the end result being a single trip to the World Series, it doesn’t quite seem like he is in line for a jersey retirement.
It’s never easy to understand exactly who fits into this branch of a franchise’s history. Some clubs hold this honor for only the greatest. The Mets used to be this way. They have opened the door to retire a few other numbers. It’s more good than bad. There is nothing wrong with honoring your greats.
How we feel about deGrom today will be different in 10-15 years when serious talks about retiring 48 come up. Many fans still feel a bit jolted. He seemed almost happy to leave, but that could just be us trying to read him.
If the Mets are getting to retire numbers of Gooden, Strawberry, and others in their class of importance, they may need to include deGrom. It could take a little while, though. Steve Cohen doesn’t seem like the kind of person who would be eager to do it for a player who chose to leave his club.