Interesting update passed along by reader Nick in the comments for the post below: Chin-Lung Hu was assigned No. 17 yesterday, but is listed in No. 25 today. In between, there was some of the typical hand-wringing that accompanies every issue of No. 17 to the Koos, Limas, Lloyds and Appiers of the world, while, by contrast, No. 8 has been mothballed since 2002 in deference to Gary Carter’s enshrinement in Cooperstown.
Could this be a signal that Kevin Kierst, the Mets’ new equipment manager, will take a different route than his disgraced predecessor,Charlie Samuels? It couldn’t hurt if it was.
While I’ve never been a strong advocate of retiring numbers (I think the Mets’ cautious stance on this issue is more or less on the mark) I’d be against retiring 8 while also not retiring 17, particularly as Hernandez’ stature among fans has grown as his broadcasting career has flourished while Carter’s star dimmed amid the feeling that he was a plotting gloryhound with an appetite for a managerial coup. The issue then of course is what to do with 16 and 18, which is why the less-is-more approach is something I’ve always been behind.
That said, the wanton reissuing of 17 — aside from conforming to Met tradition before Hernandez came along — is wrong as well. I’ve long advocated that the Mets save those numbers that might otherwise be retired and issue them to players who would do them proud. I’d put Josh Thole in 8 and Ike Davis in 17 tomorrow. Hu — who like Kelvin Torve assuredly wants no part in a numerical controversy — is scheduled to meet the press tomorrow.
Rafael Arroyo, by the way, was removed from the list of coaches today.