It’s Time to Start Honoring Mets Players with Statues at Citi Field: Let’s Begin with Tom Seaver, In Bronze

“The Mets are weird when it comes to honoring their players.”

– Comment from “2 Guys” Reader, Alan K.

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Our faithful reader Alan made that remark in the comments section below a post about Mike Piazza. He is not the first one to make that observation.

And frankly, “weird” is a nice way of putting it. That’s sort of like describing Ted Bundy as irritable.

“Out of touch with the fans” might be another way.

“Stupid” would be another, if you prefer blunt force impact.

Ownership has rarely demonstrated the most basic understanding of the team’s fans. Time and again, they’ve neglected the club’s rich history and former stars. We saw this most clearly — and astonishingly — when those dummies opened up brand new Citi Field. We all walked around and said, “Yeah, it’s pretty . . . but where’s the Mets stuff?”

It’s such an old story it’s not even worth recounting. Real fans know: We respect the team’s history much more than the Wilpons ever have.

Mike and I are not the most well-traveled baseball fans, but between us, we’ve been to some ballparks . Each year, it’s a tradition for us to make a trip to catch the Mets in a new ballpark: Baltimore, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Washington, Philadelphia, to name some of places we’ve been. Next year we’re considering San Francisco.

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There seem to be statues outside of every park. In fact, it’s a documented trend. Baseball statues are popping up all over the place . . . except, well, you know where.

Outside PNC in Pittsburgh, there’s a dramatic statue of Bill Mazeroski’s World Series home run. If that doesn’t satisfy you, there’s Willie Stargell, Honus Wagner, and Roberto Clemente. In Atlanta, there’s Warren Spahn, Hank Aaron, and Phil Niekro. The Nationals have statues of Frank Howard, Walter Johnson, and Josh Gibson.

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On and on it goes.

There are statues of Stan Musial, Mike Schmidt, Craig Biggio, Frank White, Juan Marichal, Ted Williams, Minny Minoso, Nolan Ryan, Ernie Banks, Hank Aaron, Harold Baines, Dizzy Dean, Jeff Bagwell, Joe Nuxhall, Hal Newhouser, Willie Mays.

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And still it goes on and on.

There’s Joe Morgan, Ted Kluszewski, Ernie Harwell, Eddie Murray, Earl Weaver, Johnny Bench, Orlando Cepeda, Kent Hrbek, Red Schoendienst, Cool Papa Bell, Harray Caray, Connie Mack, Luis Aparicio, George Brett, Tony Gwynn, Bob Gibson, Al Kaline.

Kauffman Stadium

What’s my point?

It’s obvious.

The Wilpons need to wake the f up.

It’s time for a Tom Seaver statue at Citi Field.

And while we’re at it: Gil Hodges. And you know what? Give me a Darryl Strawberry, a Bud Harrelson standing up to Pete Rose, a leaping Ray Knight. Let’s celebrate the great moments.

And yeah, Mike Piazza — that immortal home run swing on the first game back after 9/11 — let’s get that up there, too. In bronze.

Why do the most obvious decisions take these guys so many years to get right? It’s mind-boggling, the cluelessness. Right now, today, let’s retire Keith’s number. Mike’s, too. Let’s get statues of Gil Hodges and Tom Seaver out by the entrance. That’s before you even start thinking about it.

What is wrong with these people?

Below, a few images that I’d nominate as potential statues for outside Citi Field . . . I’m sure you’ll have more.

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Fans will surely enjoy this great overview of more than 200 baseball statues by Erik Malinowski.

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18 comments

  1. Michael Geus says:

    A quick note, this is listed above as written by me, but that is incorrect. Jimmy put this together.

  2. Alan K. says:

    Well, it does cost money to build a statue…but clearly beyond ridiculous that Tom Seaver is not honored with a statue. And I think the Carter and Piazza imges would be great statues, especially the post 9-11 HR by Mike.

    • James Preller says:

      The word I keep thinking of is “disconnect.” The owners and fans are separated by a huge gulf of distrust. We can’t even get together on our own team.

  3. Michael Geus says:

    When we went to Atlanta this year, they had more interesting artifacts from the years they were in Boston and Milwaukee in their HOF then the Mets have in all of Citi Field for the New York Mets.

    On the list of dumb things going on right now around this franchise, the snubbing of the teams rich tradition and history has to be included.

    • Alan K. says:

      I was at Kauffman Stadium a few years back and the Royals not only had a statatue honoring George Brett but also statues honoring Dick Howser and Frank White which I thought reflected good recognition of history although neither White or Howser are Hall of Famers.

  4. With our luck, Wilpon would probably honor himself with a statue, instead. Or, as in “This is Spinal Tap” (with the miniature statues of Stonehenge), the Seaver statue would end up being only a ten inches tall instead of life-size.

  5. DD says:

    No George Theodore? He would have been a good subject for an abstract sculpture.

    Completely agree, btw. The Mets are piss-poor at sharing the memories; always have been.

  6. Frank Dunne says:

    I am no fan of the Yankees. I do have to say, even the Steinbrenners know how to capitalize on the (very rich) history of the team they own! Just watch the top of the 9th inning of Wednesdays game. Well done Yankees.

    It is pretty obvious that the Wilpon/Katz/Wilpon team are not “fans” of the Mets. It is a business… that’s it. I think that Fred would be quicker to put a statue of Duke Snider to offset the Jackie Robinson Rotunda. Even the ballpark in Coney Island enshrines Dodgers. I understand… it is Brooklyn baseball, but he needs to get over the fact that O’Malley moved ‘em to LA. They moved 55 years ago. Who is trying to appeal to? The Over 70 crowd? Who is advising him on marketing? How about honoring YOUR team and its history Fred?

    • Alan K. says:

      I hate to pick on Mr Met but why is that the Mets go to great lengths to include Mr. Met on everything involving the time and giving little to no recognition of their history? To be fair, the Mets did a great job with the ceremony when they closed Shea in 2008, so they can’t be totally tone deaf.

  7. Patrick Boegel says:

    I have to be honest, I always worry more about the current on field product than the past, but that said they Mets can surely do better. After they totally fubr’d the opening of Citi Field they did at least in quick order start to fix what should have been glaring mistakes.

    I’d have no issues with statues of Seaver and Doc (there two CY Young winners ROY pitchers) I would also think some thing 69, maybe the last out going down to one knee, 73 Tug, 86 Orosco. Others certainly could be Straw (ROY 83) Piazza for sure.

    Beyond that I’d like to see a non-statue of Choo, perhaps even a non-statue Ellsbury and then a trade for either a non-statue Tulowitzki or a 1B.

    Then next September Fred could likely have meaningful games at Citi Field.

    • As far as non-statues, I see the Mets able to bring in one big contract and I’d like it to be Tulo. Choo is not happening and Ellsbury seems so risky to me. Then they will sign one medium pitcher (Arroyo) — maybe two — and hand out invitational flyers to every chicken with a busted wing. Can you build a bullpen with an Evite?

      • Alan K. says:

        Sandy Alderson has your answer on the subject of off-season
        acquisitions: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0f6l1QljpMo

      • RAFF says:

        James- when you state your view that the Mets can bring in one big contract – why just one? I’m guessing that your definition of a “big” contract shapes your opinion. From everything they claim, specifically that they see themselves with a $100 Million+ payroll target- can’t we project that they should have about 60Million available for talent? (Maybe more)… The going rate for major league middle to front-line players seems to be $10-14 Million annually. I define those as “big” contracts- but I understand that a Tulo may be in the $17-20 Million range.

        • Sorry, RAFF, that I’m late in replying to your question. We’re hoping to write more coherently about this topic in the near future. By “big contract” I loosely think of something in the $18-20M range. $10-14M is nowadays a “good player” on the open market.

          The Mets still owe Jason Bay $15M. That figure hasn’t disappeared. Last year David Wright deferred money (which the Wilpons pocketed, did not re-invest). His salary jumps from $11 to $20M.

          It’s an expensive sport and an extra $40M doesn’t go very far these days. I see a guy like Arroyo — if not Arroyo himself — as going in the $12M range. There are other teams needs as well. By my reckoning, I think they can go for one guy at a big price, plus a mid-range guy. After that, I see more bargain basement hunting.

          Sandy doesn’t care and he doesn’t want to win, in that it’s still not a priority. But I think he does recognize that there’s got to be somebody to excite the fan-base this off-season. Then it will be about “staying the course.”

          I don’t believe the payroll will reach $100M. Below $90M would not shock me.

          • Michael Geus says:

            I would also add that they continue to play shell games on how they communicate the payroll. Last year we were told that for 2013 we needed to count all of Bay’s remaining commitments (including the 2014 buyout) in the 2013 number. The same for Santana. Now that 2013 is behind us expect to hear about the $5 million still due Santana, and as Jimmy mentioned, what Bay is still owed, as remaining commitments.

            So I do not worry about a payroll number when it comes to the Mets, meaning an actual number. It’s more hot air, they move the goalposts around all the time to try and fool people. It’s too much work to keep pointing out every lie and inconsistency, Easier to just ignore what they say on the topic.

            They can manipulate the numbers all they want, the basic fact is they need players. The team has to either pony up and pay some or it will be a bad team again in 2014.

          • Tagging on: Today’s reports say that payroll will go down from last season’s semi-fictional $95 million and that Alderson reckons he has $35 million to spend.

  8. vin says:

    I’ve been to ball games in 28 MLB parks, some are still standing and some are gone. The one thing that 27 of them have in common is that they all represent their team, albeit some do a better job at this than others. The one standout is Citifield, it does not represent the Mets. No posters, wall banners or renamed sections will correct this. A statue of Tom would be nice, but it still feels like a monument to a league rival that left New Yorlk a long time ago. Jackie Robinson deserves a rotunda and the type of recognition he had recieved but it should be in LA in his teams home. Citifield just doesn’t feel like home, coincidently the Mets are the only sub .500 MLB team with a plus .500 road record…go figure.

  9. Dave says:

    The need for more recognition of the Mets history/tradtition at Citi Field has been well chronicled here and elsewhere. However, I am picky about statues…..they are sprouting up like mushrooms. My view is these War memorial size bronzes should be reserved for the immortals of the franchise. For the Mets, Seaver is the one and only “no-doubter”. The drop and drive image of Seaver posted by Jim is perfect for a statue. Beyond that, I’m not sure any other player deserves a statue, based on his contribution to the Mets. Piazza is a maybe, but if you include him, how do you leave out Strawberry. Both played 8 years for the Mets, with very similar #s for HRs, RBIs, etc. You could argue that Straws #s as a Met are more impressive, since he did it during a decade when 30 HRs in a year meant something.

    Some stadiums have added a designed area akin to a “sculpture garden” where smaller statues of lesser players/iconic moments are displayed. Large murals are perfect for other players/teams/memories, e.g. the ’69 and ’86 WS teams, Gooden, Tug and Harrelson vs. Rose in ’73, the ’99, 2000 teams, Koosman, etc. However, if we are talking about the oversized, entrance to the stadium type bronze statues, Seaver should stand alone (for now), with Piazza and Wright possibly to follow down the road.

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