The New York Mets announced today that the retirement of Jerry Koosman’s uniform number 36 will take place on Saturday, June 13. The ceremony to honor the left-hander will take place before the team’s 4:10 p.m. game that afternoon versus the Washington Nationals.
Koosman, whose 140 wins make him the winningest left-hander in team history will become the third player to have his number retired by the Mets, joining his rotation mate Tom Seaver (41) and Mike Piazza (31). The uniform numbers of managers Casey Stengel (37) and Gil Hodges (14) also adorn Citi Field’s rafters, along of course with Jackie Robinson’s 42—retired throughout Major League Baseball—and tributes to Ralph Kiner and William Shea.
The left-hander spent the first 12 years of his career with the Mets, ranking second to Seaver in franchise history in wins, games started (346) and innings pitched (2,544.2) and third to Seaver and Dwight Gooden in strikeouts (1,799) and WAR for pitchers (39.5). Koosman was a key piece of the 1969 and 1973 National League pennant-winning squads, most notably in the 1969 World Series, where he went 2-0 over 2 starts and 17.2 innings, including a complete game in Game 5 as he recorded the iconic final out of the Miracle Mets championship.
Koosman’s number retirement would seem to end a de facto team policy of only retiring numbers for players who have entered the Hall of Fame as a New York Met. In announcing the event last September, the team noted “a plan to catch up” on the organization’s lack of retired numbers, leading to speculation on past Mets—such as David Wright or perhaps Keith Hernandez and/or Gary Carter—who might receive such a future honor.