No New York Mets player will wear No. 24 again after Willie Mays‘ number was retired in a surprise ceremony Saturday ahead of a game against the Colorado Rockies.
Mays is best known for his accomplishments during a 21-year career with the New York/San Francisco Giants that earned him Hall of Fame honors. But in 1972, Mays was traded to the Mets one day ahead of his 41st birthday. He played out the remainder of his career in New York, retiring after the Mets lost in the 1973 World Series.
As part of today’s Old Timers’ Day ceremonies, we have retired Willie Mays’ No. 24.
Mays’ No. 24 was retired by the Giants in 1972, a year prior to his career ending, and he was elected as a first-ballot Hall of Famer in 1979. Mays now joins a small list of 14 players — which includes Nolan Ryan, Hank Aaron, and Reggie Jackson — who have had their number retired by multiple teams.
Former Mets owner Joan Payson, who died in 1975, reportedly once told Mays that he’d be the last player on the team to wear No. 24.
Mays is still fifth in MLB history in wins above replacement (WAR), sixth in home runs with 660, and has the most putouts all-time from a center fielder with 7,024.