New York Mets: What Each Commemorative Patch Memorialized
Patches are a part of the baseball uniform. There are team logo patches, anniversary patches, All-Star Game patches, stadium patches, memorials, you name it.
For the 2012 season, the New York Mets are wearing two patches. Replacing the familiar logo patch is one that commemorates the 50th anniversary of the team. The other patch is a tribute to Gary Carter, the catcher for the 1986 World Series champions.
But what other patches have the Mets worn in their history? What have they honored? Who have they memorialized?
This slideshow will examine 50 years of Mets commemorative patches from 1962-2012.
Special thanks goes to Jon Springer, whose book Mets by the Numbers provided insight into some of the earlier patches.
Without further ado.
1964-65: World's Fair Patch
In 1964, the Mets were two years removed from their disastrous 1962 inaugural season. Casey Stengel was the manager, and their top player was an otherwise unknown named Ron Hunt.
But 1964 wasn't all bad. It was the year of the World's Fair, which ended up extending into 1965. It was the debut of the famous Unisphere and Shea Stadium. And it was the first, and until 2013, only year the All-Star Game was played in Shea Stadium.
To coincide with the World's Fair, the Mets wore this on their sleeves until the end of the 1965 season.
1969: 100th Anniversary of Major League Baseball Patch
The Mets and all the other Major League Baseball teams were required to wear this patch to celebrate the sport's 100th anniversary.
In October, to end the 100th-year celebration, the Mets swept the Baltimore Orioles in the World Series.
1972: In Memory of Gil Hodges
Before the 1972 season, Gil Hodges was playing golf with his coaches in Florida when he collapsed and died of a heart attack at age 48.
To honor his memory, the Mets not only put a black armband on their sleeves, they retired his number on the spot.
It's hard not to think about what could have happened if Hodges had not died.
1976: Armband for Stengel and Payson and Bicentennial Patch
In 1976, the United States celebrated 200 years of independence. Each Major League Baseball team wore a patch commemorating this. This is the Mets' patch.
On a sadder note, the Mets lost two of their own that year when ex-manager Casey Stengel and minority owner Joan Whitney Payson passed away. To pay tribute to them, the Mets wore a black armband for the duration of the season.
1986: Silver Anniversary
Many fans recall 1986 as probably the best season in Mets history. It featured 108 wins and a World Series victory over the Red Sox. But it also was the silver anniversary of the Mets.
To commemorate, this little beauty was put on the sleeves and worn for the year. When the Mets made it to the World Series, the patch was accompanied by a World Series 1986 patch.
1992: William Shea Memorial
One could argue that 1992 was the beginning of a two-year nightmare for the Mets. They were written off as the Worst Team Money Could Buy. The magic of 1986 was pretty much gone.
It certainly was tragic, though, when the man behind the Mets, attorney William Shea, died in 1991. The man had successfully put a team in New York by threatening to field a New York team in a third major league to be established in 1961. His threat led to the birth of the Mets.
To honor Shea, the Mets put a block S in a pinstriped circle and put it on their sleeves.
Sixteen years later, the Mets effectively "retired" Shea's name by putting it up with the retired numbers.
1994: 25th Anniversary of the Miracle Mets and 125th of Major League Baseball
The Mets wore two patches in 1994: The first was to honor the 125th anniversary of Major League Baseball. It was basically the 1969 patch, only it was colored gold. Well, nothing about that year was gold, as part of the season, including the World Series, was cancelled.
On the brighter side, the Mets wore this patch to honor the 1969 Miracle Mets. One word: Classy.
1996: John McSherry Patch
They say that umpires do not get respect in baseball. On the contrary.
John McSherry was calling balls and strikes on Opening Day 1996 at Riverfront Stadium, a game between the Reds and the Expos. Seven pitches into the game, McSherry called time, walked to the Reds dugout and collapsed. A short time later, he died as a result of a massive coronary.
The Mets, of all teams, decided to honor the fallen umpire by putting this on their sleeves during the 1996 season, despite the fact that his last game wasn't a Mets game.
Talk about class.
2001: Tommie Agee/Brian Cole Patch
Tommie Agee was one of the heroes of the 1969 World Series. Brian Cole was a 22-year-old prospect. Both died in 2001. Agee died of a heart attack, Cole was tragically killed in a car accident.
For Opening Day only, the Mets wore this patch to honor the two.
2002: 40th Anniversary and 9/11 Memorial
Although the Mets did memorialize the victims of the 9/11 attacks like everyone else with an American Flag patch, they decided that that wasn't enough and added a 9-11-01 patch to show their support. After all, emergency services were based in Shea Stadium that fateful day.
In addition, the Mets had their 40th anniversary that year and put together this patch, kind of an offshoot from the 1986 patch.
2004: Shea Stadium's 40th Anniversary, Tug McGraw and Bob Murphy
The Mets celebrated the 40th anniversary of Shea Stadium by wearing this version of the Unisphere patch. It featured the pitcher and batter silhouettes that adorned the stadium exterior.
However, the Mets lost two of their own when pitcher and "Ya Gotta Believe" coiner Tug McGraw and longtime broadcaster Bob Murphy both died. To honor Tug, his famous words were placed under the Shea logo, while Murphy's name was arched over the Mets logo.
2008: Shea Stadium's Final Season
When Shea Stadium played home to the Mets in their final season, they unveiled this logo. It showed how Shea looked in the beginning, in gray with the blue and orange tile panels, and the modern version, which showed part of the catcher silhouette. In the background is the New York skyline, as shown in the Mets logo.
It is by far my favorite patch in Mets history.
2009: Citi Field Inaugural Season
When the brand new Citi Field opened, this was how the Mets decided to honor it.
Frankly, this logo deserves to be criticized, as it looks like something any graphic artist could do with his eyes closed.
I have to wonder if they drew the inspiration from the Domino's Pizza logo.
After the 2012 All-Star Game, the logo will be revealed for the 2013 MLB All-Star Game, which will be held in Citi Field.
In 2019, the Mets may decide to honor their first championship with a 50th anniversary of the Miracle Mets logo.
in 2022, the Mets will probably wear a 60th anniversary logo.
And so on and so forth.