Mets to retire Strawberry and Gooden's numbers in 2024

August 24th, 2023

NEW YORK -- Two iconic Mets of the 1980s are next in line to fulfill the organization's mission of embracing its past, as the team will retire the numbers of and in separate ceremonies at Citi Field next summer.

"There was no more electric place to be than at Shea Stadium on a Friday night in the ‘80s when Dwight Gooden was on the mound," Mets owner Steve Cohen said in a statement, recalling also "Darryl Strawberry's sweet left-handed swing" and his "monster moon shots" that "bounced off Shea's scoreboard."

The Mets had never previously moved to retire the numbers of Gooden or Strawberry due to an unofficial, team-imposed regulation against doing so for players not in the National Baseball Hall of Fame. That stance softened toward the end of the Wilpon family's ownership and has continued under Cohen's stewardship, with vice president of alumni relations Jay Horwitz spearheading the effort.

In recent years, the Mets have retired the numbers of non-Hall of Famers Jerry Koosman and Keith Hernandez, as well as that of Giants luminary Willie Mays, who played for the Mets at the end of his career.

Gooden and Strawberry, for their importance to the 1986 World Series championship team, represented an obvious next step. The Mets have been holding number retirement ceremonies in alternate years, but will retire Gooden and Strawberry during the same season in a nod to their historical link. The team plans to announce specific dates for the ceremonies in the months to come.

"Darryl Strawberry and Dwight Gooden each had an enormous impact on our franchise," Cohen said, "and it's my honor to continue our commitment to celebrating our wonderful history."

Strawberry, who ushered in a new era when the Mets drafted him first overall in 1980, spent the first eight of his 17 Major League seasons with the franchise, winning Rookie of the Year honors in 1983 and making the first of seven consecutive All-Star teams with the club the following year. His total of 252 home runs remains a franchise record.

"When I got the call from Steve, I welled up with tears of joy," Strawberry said in a statement. "I started to reflect on my journey through the organization. I had some ups and downs, but in the end, I am proud of my time in New York."

Gooden was drafted fifth overall in 1982 and made the Majors two years later, winning Rookie of the Year honors and finishing second in Cy Young voting. He ranks second behind Tom Seaver in franchise history in wins and strikeouts.

"I was completely overwhelmed when I got the call," Gooden said. "There is no greater honor a player can receive than having his number retired. ... This would make my mother and father extremely proud."

For various reasons, the Mets have never taken Gooden's No. 16 nor Strawberry's No. 18 out of circulation for an extended period of time, but that will happen immediately as no current roster member wears them. Those two will join Seaver, Gil Hodges, Casey Stengel, Mike Piazza, Koosman, Hernandez and Mays as Mets with their numbers retired at Citi Field.

As for what comes next, the Mets have been annually alternating number retirement ceremonies with Hall of Fame inductions. The team could hold another Hall induction in 2025, followed by a number retirement in 2026. The obvious candidate for both honors is David Wright, who played his final game in 2018. Team decision makers have been mixed on the idea of retiring No. 8 for Gary Carter, who is in the Mets Hall of Fame but whose most significant accomplishments came with the Expos.