Add Darling to the Mix
With the Mets announcing they are finally retiring Mike Piazza’s number, there have been renewed discussions regarding if there should be any other Mets who should have their number retired. You know the names: Gary Carter, Dwight Gooden, Darryl Strawberry, and, of course, Keith Hermandez.
Instead of arguing the merits of each of these players, I thought I would offer up a new name. Ron Darling.
Looking over Darling’s resume, he was a good, but not a great Met. He was 99-70 with a 3.50 ERA in nine years with the Mets. He won a Gold Glove, and he went to an All Star Game. He had a nice career, and he certainly justified the Mets trading away fan favorite Lee Mazzilli for him. Justifying a trade and having your number retired are two separate distinctions. Admittedly, Darling’s career falls well short of justifying his number retired.
The argument for his number being retired emirates from his current role with the Mets. He’s part of the already iconic Gary, Keith, and Ron. He calls Mets games from the Ralph Kiner TV Booth. That honor was bestowed upon Kiner, an original Met, and Mets broadcasting legend. Kiner was part of the original amazing Mets trio of Kiner, Lindsay Nelson, and Bob Murphy. The radio booth was named after the Hall of Famer Bob Murphy.
Darling is a terrific broadcaster in his own right. He’s so great he was picked up by TBS to do color commentary. As a member of the 1986 Mets and as a broadcaster, Darling has been an important part of Mets history. Since the TV booth already carries the name of Ralph Kiner, and deservedly so, we need to find another way to honor Ron Darling’s rich Mets career. The Mets should retire his number 12.
However, they shouldn’t do it before retiring Keith’s number 17.