The New York Mets finally announced on Thursday (August. 24) that they plan to retire the numbers of two of their most popular players in franchise history. Legendary MLBbros Dwight “Doc” Gooden & Darryl Strawberry, next season.
#16 and #18 will be forever cemented in Citi Field and no one will don those numbers on their backs again in Queens.
As we reported two months ago, the honor was long overdue.
The Wilpon family during their 34-year ownership run only retired two numbers, Tom Seaver (1988) and Mike Piazza (2016). They ended Old-Times Day in 1994. They developed a reputation for turning their backs on many of the great players in their history. It was rumored that they held a grudge against Doc & Darryl.
Mets owner, Steve Cohen, upon taking over ownership in 2020, placed great emphasis on not only reconnecting with Mets history, but embracing it. He brought back Old Times Day in 2022, the first since 1994. He retired Jerry Koosman’s #36, Willie Mays’ #24, then Keith Hernandez’ #17 last year. Now Doc & Darryl are finally on deck. “Uncle Steve” as Mets fans affectionately call him, finally came through!
Via MLB.com: “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.”
“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.”
Due to their on-the-field success and personal struggles, Both Doc & Darryls stories have been intertwined for so long, its only right that they received the nod on the same day. This dynamic duo inspired future MLBbro’s around the world, brought excitement and a lot of W’s to starving fans, who hadn’t seen playoff birth since losing the World Series in 1973. They lived up to the hype as key contributors of the ’86 series, their first championship win since 1969 and second overall in franchise history.
Dwight Gooden was 157-85 with a 3.10 ERA, 1,7875 strikeouts in 305 appearances for The Metropolitans. His .649 win percentage is best in Mets franchise history, He’s second to the legendary Tom Seaver in wins, strikeouts and WAR.
Meanwhile, Darryl Strawberry, blessed baseball fans with a tremendous combination of bat speed, foot speed, and natural home run hitting power as well as being a dynamic offensive threat. He bro bombed an MLB leading 39 home runs in 1988. His speed on the base paths made him elite, notably during the ’87 season, when he became the 9th player in MLB history to join the 30-30 club.
Strawberry batted .263 with 1,025 hits, 252 home runs, 733 RBIs, 662 runs and 191 stolen bases in his career as a Met. He was one of the most feared sluggers in the 80’s and is currently STILL sitting atop the Mets all-time home run list. Straw still also ranks second in Mets history for RBIs and WAR amongst position players.
“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.”
“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.”
During their seven seasons played together between 1984-1990, the Mets went 666-466. This seven-year stretch is the best Mets fans have ever witnessed, as it’s still the most consecutive winning seasons in franchise history. A truly magical time in New York sports history that can’t be properly acknowledged without two of the players who made it possible.