The Mets announced on Thursday that they will retire former starting pitcher Jerry Koosman’s No. 36 jersey number in a pregame ceremony on Jun. 13 against the Washington Nationals.
Koosman’s number will be just the third player to have his number retired, joining Tom Seaver (41) and Mike Piazza (31). The Mets’ first-ever manager, Casey Stengel, also has his No. 37 retired by the club.
“The excitement of playing for the Mets when we won the 1969 World Series was an experience I never thought I’d be able to repeat,” Koosman said. “But the news that the Mets Hall of Fame Committee has voted to retire my number is another life-changing thrill and honor. I can’t wait until June 13.”
Koosman is the winningest left-handed pitcher in franchise history, going 140-137 over 12 years with the team from 1967-1978. He also ranks third in franchise history with 1,799 strikeouts, sixth in ERA (3.09), and second in innings pitched (2,544.2), games started (346), complete games (108), and shutouts (26).
A two-time All-Star, he won 14 or more games in six of his seasons with the Mets, including a 21-10 1976 campaign in which he posted a 2.69 ERA with 200 strikeouts.
The now-77-year-old southpaw’s claim to fame, however, will forever be his heroics in the 1969 World Series against the Baltimore Orioles when he went 2-0 with a 2.04 ERA in 17.2 innings pitched. That included the infamous complete-game, championship-clinching victory in Game 5 in which he allowed just five hits over nine innings against a potent Orioles lineup that featured future Hall of Famers like Frank and Brooks Robinson.
“I’m enormously proud of the time I played in the orange and blue uniform of the Mets,” Koosman said. “It was a privilege to play alongside some of the most wonderful and talented teammates for more than 11 years and to hone my craft under Gil Hodges. This honor isn’t only for me and my family, it’s for the legions of fans I grew to love. To know that my number will be retired and sit alongside other legends is one of the greatest tributes I could ever be granted. I was always proud to be a Met.”