Mets retire Darryl Strawberry’s No. 18 jersey

Darryl Strawberry had his jersey number retired by the New York Mets organization during a pregame ceremony at Citi Field on Saturday afternoon.

The Mets, who were hosting the Arizona Diamondbacks, honored Strawberry by retiring his No. 18 and even turned their iconic home run apple into a strawberry for the occasion.

Strawberry, 62, had suffered a heart attack earlier this year but was cleared to travel shortly thereafter for the jersey retirement ceremony of former teammate Dwight Gooden’s No. 16 on April 14.

The jerseys were the ninth and 10th to be retired by the Mets.

“I came close to losing my life. I’m sitting here because it’s a gift from the Lord and I don’t take it for granted,” Strawberry said Saturday.

“Having your number retired, it’s bigger than going into the Hall of Fame,” Strawberry said shortly after the announcement was made earlier this year. “You play for a franchise that has not had a lot of homegrown players come through the organization and be able to achieve some great things. … My heart and soul bleed blue and orange, always. It’s a great honor.”

He added to that sentiment Saturday, expressing thanks for being drafted by the Mets in the first place.

“”Little did I know that I would come to the greatest place to play baseball. Little did I know I would play in front of the greatest fans, forever.”

Gooden and Strawberry were linchpins to the Mets’ World Series championship season of 1986. The Mets defeated the Houston Astros in the National League Championship Series and the Boston Red Sox in seven games in the World Series.

Strawberry hit .259 with 27 home runs and 93 RBIs that season, earning his third straight All-Star appearance in a run of eight straight overall. He slugged three HRs in the postseason and drove in six runs. The 1983 NL Rookie of the Year hit 252 career HRs in his eight seasons with the Mets and is the franchise’s all-time leader.

Gooden went 17-6 with a 2.84 ERA in 33 starts while striking out 200 in 1986. He went 157-85 in his 11 seasons with the Mets. The four-time All-Star was the NL Rookie of the Year in 1984 and won the NL Cy Young Award in 1985.

Gooden and Strawberry have joined Casey Stengel (No. 37), Gil Hodges (No. 14), Tom Seaver (No. 41), Mike Piazza (No. 31), Jerry Koosman (No. 36), Keith Hernandez (No. 17) and Willie Mays (No. 24) as Mets to have their numbers retired. Jackie Robinson’s No. 42 was retired across Major League Baseball.

–Field Level Media