Mets Should Retire Davey Johnson’s Number
With the scare of Davey Johnson being sick in the hospital with COVID19, the Mets were in danger of losing their second franchise great in less than a year. Tom Seaver will never be around to see his statue, but Johnson could be around to see his number retired.
The Mets standards for retiring numbers is all over the place. Casey Stengel was the first for, well, it wasn’t his performance as manager. That’s for sure.
Then, it was Gil Hodges. His number was posthumously retired a little more than a year after his tragic death. His guiding the Miracle Mets certainly factored into this decision.
After that, for the longest time, only Hall of Famers had their number retired. Yes, Seaver’s number was retired before his induction, but his induction was a fait accompli. For his part, Mike Piazza had to wait for his induction.
Things have changed with Jerry Koosman now getting his number retired. With that happening, it’s hard to ascertain where the line now is. Wherever it is, one thing should be clear – Davey Johnson should have his number retired.
Johnson is arguably the best manager in Mets history. In fact, in the 59 year history of the Mets, he remains the only manager to win two division titles. That’s a record which will stand for at least two more years.
That’s not the only records Johnson has. He’s the only manager to have never finished below second place. His .588 winning percentage still rates first. The same for his 595 wins.
He’s the only Mets manager to have five consecutive 90+ win seasons.He’s the only manager to have multiple 100 win seasons.
In fact, his 1986 Mets are one of the best teams of all-time. In fact, since World War II, no National League team has won more games than that Mets team won that season. As we all know, the Mets won the World Series that year.
With that, he joined Grote as only one of two Mets managers to win a World Series.
The way Johnson did it was truly unique. He was one of the first managers noted for what we now deem an analytical approach. Before games, he used to scour over computer printouts to not only try to maximize his lineup, but also to try to find an edge. As his record indicates, he was very successful.
He also was unique in that he was not always beholden to veterans. In fact, one of the reasons the Mets were so successful early on is Johnson went with the talented Mets core. That included his pushing Frank Cashen to call Dwight Gooden up for the 1984 season.
That was a very bold decision which helped deliver the Mets a World Series title three years later.
Johnson did his part getting the most out of those young Mets on the field. Although, there will forever be the question if his laidback style managing personal lives had a negative impact. To be fair, it’s hard to pin substance abuse issues on just a manager. That’s an unfair criticism.
Overall, Johnson wasn’t just the winningest manager in Mets history, he’s also a revolutionary figure in the game. He’s as important a figure in team history, and in many ways, he’s the best manager in Mets history.
Really, it’s hard to imagine anyone can do what he did. The winning. Changing the way the game is managed. All of it. And that is exactly why the Mets should retire his number.