Earlier today, the New York Mets officially revealed that they will retire Jerry Koosman’s number 36 during the 2020 season. Chief Operating Officere Jeff Wilpon made the announcement during a press conference prior to the team’s game against the Miami Marlins. The date holds plenty of significance for the organization, marking 50 years to the day since they won their first National League East title on September 24, 1969.
Koosman (36) will join teammate and fellow rotation mate Tom Seaver (41) and Mike Piazza (31) as the only players to have their numbers retired by the Mets. In addition to that trio, managers Casey Stengel (37) and Gil Hodges (14) have had their numbers retired by the Mets along with Jackie Robinson (42), whose number is retired throughout Major League Baseball. The 76-year-old released the following statement:
The news that the Mets Hall of Fame Committee has voted to retire my number is another life-changing thrill & honor...to know that my number will be retired and sit alongside other team legends is one of the greatest tributes I could ever be granted. I was always proud to be a Met. Today, I am even prouder.
The left-hander spent the first 12 years of his career with the Mets, making 346 starts and going 140-137 with a 3.09 ERA, a 3.12 FIP, and a 1.22 WHIP in 2,544.2 innings pitched. In his time in New York, he recorded 1,799 strikeouts and tossed 108 complete games. His 140 wins is a franchise record among left-handed pitchers, and his four postseason victories also stands as a franchise-best. He was named to the 1968 and 1969 National League All Star teams, pitching a combined two scoreless innings in those appearances. He led the team with a career-best 2.08 ERA in 1968 and led the way with 192 strikeouts in 1977 and 160 strikeouts in 1978.
Koosman was a key contributor on both the 1969 and 1973 National League pennant-winning squads. In the 1969 World Series, he took the mound after his team lost Game 1 and pitched 8.2 innings of two-hit ball to record a win. He then closed the series out with a complete game to earn his team their first championship. He went on to win Game 5 of the 1973 World Series.
The last Met to don the number 36 was manager Mickey Callaway, who announced that he would be taking number 26 following the announcement. The team has not yet divulged any details on a possible date for the ceremony, but Jeff Wilpon did add that the organization has “a plan to catch up” when addressing the organization’s lack of retired numbers. The organization will surely retire David Wright’s number 5 at one point, but Keith Hernandez (17) and Gary Carter (8) are players who may receive consideration, among others.