NEW YORK -- Throughout their history, the Mets have established lofty standards when it comes to retired numbers. With the exception of Gil Hodges, who passed away as an active manager, the Mets have only allowed the numbers of Hall of Famers to grace the upper deck of Citi Field.
NEW YORK -- Throughout their history, the Mets have established lofty standards when it comes to retired numbers. With the exception of Gil Hodges, who passed away as an active manager, the Mets have only allowed the numbers of Hall of Famers to grace the upper deck of Citi Field. They waited until Mike Piazza earned induction into Cooperstown to honor him in Flushing.
That has led to the absence of several popular players -- Dwight Gooden, Keith Hernandez and Gary Carter, for example -- from their retired-number ranks. Those standards may soften in the coming years, given David Wright's popularity among his team and fan base. But, for now, the Mets are holding to their policy, which has resulted in the retirement of just four numbers to date:
Gil Hodges, Manager: No. 14
Number retired: June 9, 1973
An original Met, Hodges played parts of two seasons in New York after spending 16 in Brooklyn and Los Angeles with the Dodgers. His greater impact came as a manager; in just his second season at the helm, Hodges led the Mets to their stunning 1969 World Series victory. Although Hodges passed away at age 47 just before the start of the '72 campaign, his 339 wins stood as a franchise record for most of the next two decades. A Citi Field entranceway is dedicated in his honor.
Mike Piazza, C: No. 31
Number retired: July 30, 2016
Days after Piazza was enshrined in Cooperstown, the Mets retired his number at Citi Field. Arriving in Flushing via a 1998 midseason trade, Piazza made six All-Star teams over the next seven seasons. He guided the Mets to the 2000 National League pennant and hit one of the most memorable home runs in baseball history, in the first game in New York City following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. At the time of his retirement after the '07 season, Piazza's 220 homers ranked second in Mets history.
Casey Stengel, Manager: No. 37
Number retired: Sept. 2, 1965
A Hall of Fame manager who won seven World Series titles and 10 American League pennants with the crosstown Yankees from 1949-60, Stengel closed his career with four seasons as the Mets' inaugural skipper. Although he posted just a .302 winning percentage with a roster dominated by expansion-draft players, Stengel offered the fledgling franchise instant credibility. His career in professional baseball spanned six decades, including a 14-year playing career that began in Brooklyn in '12.
Tom Seaver, RHP: No. 41
Number retired: June 24, 1988
Nicknamed "The Franchise," Seaver was the driving force behind the Mets' transition from laughingstock to champion. In Seaver's third season, he won 25 games, then two more in October to lead the Mets to the 1969 World Series title. He went 182-107 with a 2.47 ERA over his first 10 seasons and was 7-3 at the time the Mets dealt him to the Reds on June 15, 1977, in what remains one of the least popular trades in Major League history. Seaver returned briefly to the Mets in '83, at age 38, before retiring after the '86 season and becoming a first-ballot Hall of Famer.
• On April 15, 1997, the Mets joined every team in MLB in retiring No. 42 in honor of Jackie Robinson.
• The Mets have an emblem beside their retired numbers reading "SHEA," in homage to Bill Shea, whose work was instrumental in the birth of the franchise.
Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo, Instagram and Facebook.