Mets retire Jerry Koosman’s number 36: ‘I don’t know if I deserve it’

Simeon Woods-Richardson

The New York Mets are having a disastrous second half and are quickly falling out of playoff contention. That doesn’t mean, however, that they can’t honor their legends, such as former pitcher Jerry Koosman.

Before Saturday’s game, the Mets retired Koosman’s number 36 in a heartfelt ceremony in Citi Field. It was a very special day for a beloved member of the “Miracle Mets,” one who was a very important piece in the 1969 World Series, the first one won by the franchise.

Koosman’s in the third number that the Mets retire among players, after Tom Seaver (No. 41) and Mike Piazza (No. 31). Managers Gil Hodges (No. 14) and Casey Stengel (No. 37) also had their numbers retired.

Some of Koosman’s teammates, such as Art Shamsky, Wayne Garrett and Ed Kranepool, were present, as was Piazza.

“I’m thankful that they thought so much of me to retire my number,” Koosman said according to the Mets’ official site. “I know I’m joining a great crew that they had their numbers retired. I don’t know if I deserve it. I guess we are going to get on with it.”

A fantastic career with the Mets

Koosman spent 12 years with the Mets and won 140 games, had a 3.09 ERA and had a 21-win season in ’76.

He reminisced some memories of his playing days and got to enjoy the applauses of Mets’ fans. “A lot of things pop up — different memories. You see something, you have a related story,” Koosman said.

During a 19-year career in MLB, the pitcher also wore the Minnesota Twins, Chicago White Sox, and Philadelphia Phillies’ uniforms. He was elected to a couple of All-Star games and achieved 222 career wins and 2,556 strikeouts.

He is perhaps best remembered for his complete-game victory in Game 5 of the 1969 Series, as he dominated a tough Baltimore Orioles’ lineup en route to the franchise’s first career Fall Classic win.

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