All eyes were on David Wright on Thursday afternoon, as members of the media and teammates of The Captain sat in on what wound up being an emotional press-conference for No. 5.
In the press-conference, Wright revealed that the Mets will activate him at the start of their final homestand against the Marlins on Sept. 25, and he will start at third base on Sept. 29. Wright who has not played in a major league game since May 2016, did not explicitly use the word “retirement” during the press-conference, though he did say that he will not be medically able to play after September.
“Physically and the way I feel right now, and from everything that the doctors have told me, there’s not going to be any improvement,” Wright said. “So yeah, I don’t see [playing beyond September] as a possibility.”
Drafted by the Mets in 2001 and making his major league debut in 2004, Wright is the Mets’ all-time leader in hits, doubles, walks, runs scored and RBIs. He is second all-time in home runs, sitting behind Darryl Strawberry.
Wright’s professional baseball career has been riddled with injuries since 2011. In 2015, things became worse for Wright when he was diagnosed with spinal stenosis, a condition that will affect his back for the rest of his life.
Despite surgeries on his shoulder, back, and neck, Wright, who had multiple Hall of Fame-caliber seasons with Mets, never stopped trying to make a comeback. Wright participated in Minor League rehab assignments between 2016 and 2017, and took extra precautions while warming up.
“I am certainly happy with getting a chance to put this uniform on again. That has been my goal from day one. It’s been a long road to get to that goal…” Wright said.
Wright, who was named the fourth captain in Mets history in 2013, is a two-time Gold Glover, two-time Silver Slugger Award winner, and seven-time All-Star.
Jeff Wilpon, the Mets chief operating officer, said that one day, No. 5 will likely be retired amidst the rare few who have earned the distinction – Casey Stengel, Gil Hodges, Tom Seaver, and Mike Piazza – and that Wright will be inducted into the team Hall of Fame.
“This is a very difficult day for me and the entire organization, our fans,” said Wilpon. “David Wright is a Mets icon, one of the finest players, and people to wear a Mets uniform or any uniform.”
One of the main reasons Wright wants to put on the blue and orange and play one last time at Citi Field is so that his daughters, 2-year-old Olivia Shea, and four-month-old Madison, can watch their father play for the first time.
“I said it when I was a younger player and I’ll say it again: I truly bleed orange and blue, and throughout this process the love and the support and the respect from inside and outside the organization has meant the world to me,” Wright said.
Although Mets fans and baseball fans alike will wonder what could have been for Wright, one thing that is certain is that he always held himself in a classy manner on and off the field, and that he competed until he physically could not compete anymore.
“I love the game, I truly do, I love it,” Wright said. “There are not that many people who can say they got to play for one team their entire career and got to captain that team and have the success, at least in my mind, I would like to think that I had.”