A history of uniform patches for the Mets

This coming season the Mets will have their uniforms adorned with the 2013 All Star Game Patch.  So, channeling the inner UniWatch, let’s take a look at the history of Met uniform patches, whether special one-offs, memorials, or standard through the years.

The standard Met uniform patch, a patch version of the official Met logo, made its debut on the 1962 road jersey.  But, it wouldn’t be until 1966 that the same patch would show up on Met home pinstripes!  The Met uniforms would have the logo patch on both home and road uniforms through the 1981 season.  The patches would return as part of a major uniform overhaul in 1993, and they have been on the left hand sleeves of Met uniforms, with the exception of the blue parts going black when the Mets donned all black jersey tops from 1998-2012, ever since.

The first commemorative patch that the Mets would wear would be during the 1964 and 1965 seasons commemorating the World’s Fair that was held in Flushing Meadows those years.

Major League Baseball celebrated its centennial in 1969 with every team wearing a special “One Hundredth Anniversary of Major League Baseball” patch.

Again the Mets would comply with a league wide event in 1976 with the National League’s Centennial patch.

It wouldn’t be until the 1986 season that the Mets would wear a commemorative uniform patch again, this time it was a team patch, signifying the 25th anniversary of the franchise.  It is a bit interesting that the two World Championship runs have been while wearing a special one-off uniform patch.

1994 would see Major League Baseball celebrate the 125th year mark, and so every franchise would don a commemorative uniform patch, this would go along a version of the logo patch that the Mets had on the other sleeve commemorating the 25th anniversary of the 1969 World Champions.

In 1997 the Mets would again wear a Major League Baseball mandated uniform patch, this time in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s debut.

2002 would see the Mets celebrate their 40th anniversary, and so a “>patch was added in commemoration.

Speaking of 40th anniversary celebrations, Shea Stadium’s 40th in 2004 warranted a special uniform patch.

And speaking of Shea, she would even get a commemorative patch in 2008 to signify the final season of the old stadium.

And in 2009, to celebrate Citi Field’s inaugural season a patch was added.

And this past year the Mets wore a patch commemorating the 50th anniversary of the franchise.

So 2013’s All Star Game Logo, which host teams have worn in season, usually up until the All Star Break, since 1987, will be the 13th different special uniform patch worn during the regular season;

Four, well five if you count next year’s All Star Game as being mandated for the host team to wear, as league wide mandates
One in celebration of a championship season
Three to celebrate franchise milestone seasons
Three to commemorate various stadium milestones
And one to commemorate a New York City event.

The Mets first donned a memorial uniform affect in 1972, with an armband in tribute to skipper Gil Hodges who died that spring.

And again in the 1976 season the Mets wore armbands in tribute to first manager Casey Stengel and owner Joan Payson who both passed during the 1975 offseason.

In 1992 the Mets changed things up with an honorary logo, a black S in a circle, in honor of New York attorney William A. Shea, whom the stadium was named for, as he was influential in getting the National League to award New York a new franchise.

When New York born NL umpire John McSherry suffered a fatal heart attack before the 1996 Opening Day game in Cincinnati, the Mets paid tribute to him with a uni patch that simply said JM NL UMPIRE 10 inside a black home plate with interlocking black bats.

Prior to the 2001 season, the Met family was hit with sad news, first with the death of 1969 Met, and a member of the team’s Hall of Fame, Tommie Agee, and then the death of prospect Brian Cole.  In their honor the Mets wore a double black number patch with Agee’s #20 and Cole’s organization assigned #60 for the first game of the season.  And following the tragic events of September 11th, the simple lettering of 9-11-01 was on the right sleeves for the remainder of the season, and throughout the 2002 season as well.

In 2004 the Mets added the words “Ya Gotta Believe – Tug” underneath the Shea Stadium 40th anniversary patch to honor the passing that winter of legendary relief ace, and member of the Met Hall of Fame, Tug McGraw.  And then following the passing of legendary Hall of Fame announcer Bob Murphy in early August, his name in black would be placed above the Met logo on the left sleeve.

And the most recent in memorial uniform affect was 2012’s tribute to Hall of Fame catcher Gary Carter, KID 8 inside a black home plate.

And a final thing to track, uniform patches, worn in special events, like the All Star Game and Postseason games.  First, starting with the 1988 All Star Game in Cincinnati, the All Star participants would be clad with a patch on the sleeves of their game jerseys.  Starting around 1997 MLB would market authentic replicas of these.

Starting with the 1997 All Star Game Weekend in Cleveland, and continuing every season since, the participants have been clad for all various events not including the actual All Star Game in either American or National League gear sporting color schemes, and at times lettering that reflects the home team.  No doubt orange and blue will be issued this year, and typically the player’s team is signified with a sleeve patch.  As with the game jerseys, you can purchase authentic replicas of these warm-up gear jerseys.

In the late 1990s, World Series patches became prevalent on uniforms and caps.  Of course 2000 would be no different as the Mets would be sporting the World Series’ logo patch on the right hand sleeve of their road blacks, road greys, home blacks and home snow whites.  Sadly the pinstripes were nowhere to be found in the 1999 and 2000 postseasons.  And of course MLB marketed authentic replica jerseys with the patches of the bigger name Mets (Piazza, etc) of that season.

One final stop on the patch journey takes us to the Far East.  In 2000 the Mets and Cubs opened the baseball season with a two game series in Tokyo, on the Met uniforms for the series, one road grey and one snow white, was a patch from one of the sponsors of the series.  It is unclear if these jerseys were made available anywhere other than the secondary memorabilia markets.

5 comments for “A history of uniform patches for the Mets

  1. December 10, 2012 at 11:31 am

    It’s very interesting to me the wide variety of quality in these patches. We all remember how much fire the Mets came under for the “Dominos Pizza” patch. I thought the Gary Carter patch was underwhelming, too. But the anniversary patches for the Mets are all very nice.

  2. Pete Donahue
    December 11, 2012 at 12:26 am

    Though my following comment has more to do with the logo treatment than patches themselves, it’s something that has bothered me ever since they made the decision, as small as it is.
    Why did they take the interlocking ‘NY’ out of the logo? It used to nestle above the serif of the ‘M’ in the dark of the skyline and was a like little easter egg. I know this is a ridiculous complaint, but why did they do this?

    • December 11, 2012 at 6:33 am

      “Amid all the hoopla recently generated by the possibility of a Subway Series, nobody’s noticed that the Mets appear to have conceded a small aspect of the battle for New York. The team’s interlocking ‘NY’ insignia, which appears on the club’s caps and had also appeared on the left side of the Amazins’ skyline logo design since the franchise’s 1962 inception, was quietly removed from the logo at the beginning of this season.

      “Are the Mets, who’ve always drawn a hefty percentage of their fans from Long Island, trying to downplay their urban identity? Not according to Mark Bingham, the team’s senior vice president of marketing, who says, ‘Of course we’re proud to be from New York.’ So why alter the logo? ‘The ‘NY’ on the logo never matched the one on the caps,’ Bingham explains. ‘The one on the logo was more primitive-looking, sort of a stick-figure “NY.” At the end of last year we wanted to dress it up and have it match the “NY” on the caps, but then we said to ourselves, “Why do we need it on the logo anyway?”‘

      “Interestingly, many media outlets either unmindful of or indifferent to the subtle change have continued to use the old ‘NY’-inclusive logo design. Does this bug Bingham and his staff? ‘Nah. The truth is, the old logo is probably still featured on a lot of the signs here at the stadium,’ he says. ‘We try not to go crazy about it.’” (“Jockbeat: Uni Watch: Mets Concede,” Paul Lukas, Village Voice, October 13 – 19, 1999)

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