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Contributed by Michael Cesarano
Original uniform design
Team Colors: Royal Blue and Orange
Numbering Style: Block, two-color (royal blue with orange outline), eight-inch numbers. Block style is same as the style used by the Yankees at the time, although the Yankees were using one-color numbers; the Mets use two-color.
Pants & Other:
Numbering Style: Full-block, two-color (royal blue with orange outline), eight-inch numbers. Full block style is in contrast to the numbering style on the home uniform, which is block.
Pants & Other:
Road jersey changes from a button-down with piping to a pullover with a two-button, crew-neck collar. Three equal-width stripes (royal blue-orange-royal blue) are added to collar and sleeve edges. Mets "skyline" logo patch remains on left sleeve.
Block numbers, identical to the style of numbers used on the front and back of the home jersey replace full-block numbers on the road jersey.
Royal blue piping down the sides of the road pants is replaced with a thin triple stripe (royal blue-orange-royal blue) down the sides.
Names are also added to the back of the home jersey. Placed in an arch on a plain white (no pinstripes) nameplate, the letters are two-color (royal blue with an orange outline), three-inch; and are not vertical arch. Players with long names had letters that were slightly thinner.
The Mets also add an alternate road jersey, only used in 1982. This jersey is a royal blue v-neck pullover with "Mets" in script (orange with gray outline) across the front on an upward slant. The jersey has three equal-width stripes (orange-blue-orange) at the collar and sleeve edges. This alternate road jersey has often been mistaken for the batting practice jersey the Mets were using at the time. The main factor that differentiates the two is the trim at the collar and sleeve edges: The batting practice jersey has an orange-white-orange triple stripe around the collar and sleeve edges, while the alternate road jersey has an orange-blue-orange triple stripe around the collar and sleeve edges.
A new style script is used for the word "Mets" across the front of the home jersey. This is the first change ever made to the lettering style of the script "Mets" on the front of the home uniform. Although the new script is similar in style to the one that had been in use since 1962, they are two distinctly different patterns. The most significant (but not the only) difference between the two lettering styles is that the new style script has a tail that extends to underline the word "Mets." All lettering is still royal blue with a double outline of orange (inner) and white (outer).
The "zigzag" pinstripes, that had been on the home uniform since 1972 when the Mets began using double-knit uniforms, are changed to straight pinstripes.
The pro-block lettering of "New York" on the front of the road jersey is replaced with script lettering that goes across the front on an upward slant and has a tail that extends to underline the words "New York." This lettering is smaller than and a different style script than the script lettering that was used on the road uniform in 1987. All lettering is royal blue with a double outline of orange (inner) and white (outer).
Three thin equal-width stripes (royal blue-orange-royal blue) are added to sleeve edges.
The road pants have a new, thinner, royal blue-orange-royal blue stripe running down the sides in place of the "racing stripe." The new pants are similar to the road pants that were worn from 1978 through 1981. (Saunders, Craig, "The Shirts Off Their Backs", Mets Official Scorebook Magazine, June, 1993, Vol. 32, No. 2, pp. 44-50.).
All teams add the official Major League Baseball logo to the back of their caps, in the center.
Numbers are added to the front of the uniform for the first time since the 1987 season. Placed at the lower left, the numbers are 3-color (royal blue with orange outline and white outline), 4-inch; and are block.
Mets "skyline" logo patch on left sleeve of both home and road jerseys is replaced, for this season only, with a patch commemorating the Mets' 1969 World Series victory. The patch is rectangular: The words "25th Anniversary" are embroidered in bridge lettering above the centered Mets "skyline" logo, and the words "Miracle Mets" embroidered in reverse bridge lettering below the logo. (New York Mets 1994 Official Yearbook, cover).
The lettering of the words "New York" on the front of the road jersey is changed back to the fancy style that had been used on the road jersey from 1962 through 1973. All lettering on the road uniform continues to be royal blue with an orange outline. The white outline, which remains on the home uniform lettering, is gone from the road jersey.
The royal blue piping from that era that ran down the front of the jersey and down the sides of the pants also returns. Royal blue piping also replaces the three thin equal-width stripes (royal blue-orange-royal blue) at sleeve edges. This blue piping around the sleeve edges was not present on any of the previous (1962-1973) versions of the road uniform.
Although the road uniforms from 1962 through 1973, on whose design this uniform is based, had full-block numbers, the numbers on this jersey are block.
A slight change is made to the cap. The color of the button on top of the cap is changed to orange. It had previously been royal blue, the color of the cap.
An alternate cap is added. The alternate cap is white, with a royal blue brim, and a royal blue button on top. The orange interlocking "NY" that appears on the regular cap also appears on the alternate cap, but with a new royal blue outline. This cap, sometimes referred to as the "ice cream man" cap, is only used in the 1997 season.
A patch commemorating 50th Anniversary of Jackie Robinson's Major League debut is worn, for this season only, by all teams. The Mets wear it on the right sleeve of both home and road uniforms.
The alternate cap is changed. The new alternate cap is black, with a royal blue brim, and a royal blue button on top. The interlocking "NY" that appears on this cap is royal blue with an orange outline. A slight change is made to the snow-white home alternate jersey. The white (outer) outline on all lettering and numbering is replaced with a black drop-shadow.
A slight change is made to the road gray jersey, the one that has "New York" across the front in fancy letters. A black drop-shadow is added to all lettering and numbering on this jersey. A second alternate jersey is added, which is worn both at home and on the road. It is a black button-down jersey with "Mets" in script across front on an upward slant and 4-inch block numbers at the lower left. All lettering and numbering is royal blue with a white outline and an orange drop-shadow. There is royal blue piping down the front and around the sleeve edges, and the Mets "skyline" logo appears on the left sleeve.
The Mets now have four uniform jerseys: Home pinstripe jersey, home "snow-white" alternate jersey, road gray jersey and black alternate jersey, used both at home and on the road. A black undersweater and black stirrups begin to be used, alternated with the regular royal blue undersweater and royal blue stirrups.
Player names are removed from the back of the three jerseys worn at home: The pinstripe jersey, the "snow-white" jersey and the home black alternate jersey. This is the first time since 1977 that the Mets use a jersey that does not have player names on the back.
A black drop-shadow is added to all lettering on the home pinstripe jersey. This black drop-shadow replaces the white outline that had been on the lettering of the home pinstripe jersey since 1991.
Black undersweaters and black stirrups begin to be worn with the home pinstripe uniform for the first time.
An alternate black road jersey is added. It is a black button-down jersey with "New York" in fancy lettering across the front and four-inch block numbers at the lower left. All lettering and numbering is royal blue with a white outline and an orange drop-shadow. There is royal blue piping down the front and around the sleeve edges.
The Mets "skyline" logo appears on the left sleeve, with alternate coloring: The alternate color of the skyline part of the logo is black (normally royal blue), and the alternate color of the lettering of the word "Mets" within the logo is royal blue with a white outline and an orange drop-shadow (normally orange with a white outline). This alternate coloring of the Mets "skyline" logo appears only on the two black alternate jerseys; the logo has its regular coloring on the road gray, home "snow-white" and home pinstripe jerseys.
According to a New York Mets press release, "The Mets have not abandoned their traditional pinstripe uniform. Blue pinstripes are still the official home uniform along with the blue cap. The snow-white uniform also remains a popular home alternate. All home and road uniforms will be rotated along with the team's three caps." (Mets press release, Monday, November 2, 1998, "Mets Add a New Black Road Jersey and Second Black Alternate Cap for the 1999 Season").
A slight change is made to the Mets "skyline" logo sleeve patch. The small, interlocking "NY" that had always been to the right of the word "Mets" is removed. The "NY" had previously appeared on both the original "skyline" patch, which had been unchanged since 1962, and the alternately-colored "skyline" sleeve patch that was introduced in 1999.
"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
"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)
"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)
All teams begin to use "batting practice caps" in spring training and before games. ("Batting practice caps" will not be extensively documented, as they are not part of the "game" uniform. Nevertheless, it is significant to note when teams began using them regularly).
Rawlings becomes the Mets' official uniform manufacturer, and the Rawlings logo is embroidered onto the left sleeve of all jerseys. Up until now, manufacturer logos had appeared on the right sleeve. From 1992 through 1999, Russell Athletic had been the official uniform manufacturer for all Major League teams. Rawlings had previously been the official uniform manufacturer for all Major League teams from 1987 through 1991. Incidentally, the appearance of the Rawlings logo on uniforms in 1987 marked the first time a manufacturer's logo appeared on the outside of a Major League Baseball team uniform. Unlike the 1987 Rawlings logo, which consisted of the entire word "Rawlings," this new Rawlings logo was simply the Rawlings "R" in a circle.
The Mets open the 2000 season at the Tokyo Dome in Japan with a two-game series against the Chicago Cubs. For these games, a patch is worn on the right sleeve of both Mets and Cubs jerseys commemorating the first Major League baseball games to be played in Tokyo, Japan. There is also a logo commemorating the Japan trip embroidered onto the left side of both teams' caps. The Mets are the "home" team for game one this series and the "away" team for game two. They wear the following uniform combinations: Game One: The Mets wear their home "snow-white" alternate uniforms, with black undersweaters, and the black and blue alternate cap. This is the alternate cap with a royal blue brim, and a royal blue button on top. The interlocking "NY" that appears on the black and blue alternate cap is royal blue with an orange outline. Game Two: The Mets wear their road gray uniforms, with black undersweaters, and the black and blue alternate cap.
Player names are returned to the back of the three jerseys worn at home: The pinstripe jersey, the "snow-white" jersey and the home black alternate jersey. Player names had been removed for the 1999 season in an effort to give the home uniform a more traditional, old-fashioned look.
During the World Series, the Mets have the official 2000 World Series logo embroidered onto the left side of all their caps. It had been common practice since the 1996 World Series for both of the year's participating teams to feature the current year's World Series logo in this fashion.
The Mets had opened the season on the road and did not wear the patch for the first six road games. Its first and only appearance on the uniform is at the Mets home opener on April 10, 2001, where Agee was honored as part of the pre-game ceremonies.
It is surprising that the Mets chose to honor a player of Agee's stature with a patch that is only worn for one game, considering his importance to the team's history. The Braves, who were the Mets opponent that opening day, were honoring the recently deceased Eddie Matthews with a similar patch on their uniform. By contrast, the Braves wore their patch for the entire season, both at home and on the road.
"Maxcine Agee, Tommie's widow, was escorted to the mound by her husband's teammate, and former Mets great, Tom Seaver. She threw out the first pitch to a standing ovation. Her husband and Cole were also honored with a patch worn on the right sleeve of the Mets' uniforms. The patch featured the 20 and 60, the numbers worn by Agee and Cole." ("Home Opener Thick With Emotions," Kevin T. Czerwinski, www.mets.com, April 9, 2001)
Although "batting practice caps" will not be documented in any great detail here, it is significant to note one development that occurred this season to the spring training "batting practice cap." The "batting practice caps" of several teams, the Mets among them, featured an embroidered palm tree logo on the back center of the cap, just above the Major League Baseball logo.
In response to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., a slight change is made to the uniforms, caps and helmets of the Mets and, in fact all, Major League teams on Monday, Septermber 17, 2001. The following description of the change is made up of excerpts from an article posted to www.mlb.com, the official web site of Major League Baseball:
"To show suppport of America during this time of crisis, every MLB player,
manager and coach will wear an American flag patch on his cap and jersey for
the rest of the season. A patch of the American flag will be sewn on the back
of the jerseys, just above the letters [covering the MLB logo that was
added to all uniforms at the beginning of the 2000 season (see 2000 entry)].
It will replace the MLB logo because MLB wanted a meaningful symbolic gesture.
'The symbolism is important,' said MLB Senior Vice President Howard Smith.
'This thing is much bigger than the game... and the best way to portray
that is cover up the MLB logo with the flag.'
"A 1 x 1/2 inch flag will also be stitched on the left side of every cap,
which takes about an hour to do 20-25 hats. The work is being completed
by the New Era Cap Co. They figure 'there are about 1000 hats to do,
so they have a lot of work to do,' according to Smith. The MLB logo on
the side of all the bases also will be covered by a flag, and batting
helmets will also be adorned with the symbol."
("MLB Players To Wear Flags For Rest Of Season," Jim Molony, MLB.com, September 15, 2001)
"A 1 x 1/2 inch flag will also be stitched on the left side of every cap, which takes about an hour to do 20-25 hats. The work is being completed by the New Era Cap Co. They figure 'there are about 1000 hats to do, so they have a lot of work to do,' according to Smith. The MLB logo on the side of all the bases also will be covered by a flag, and batting helmets will also be adorned with the symbol." ("MLB Players To Wear Flags For Rest Of Season," Jim Molony, MLB.com, September 15, 2001)
Additionally, the Mets make a temporary change in their game uniform for their September 18th and 19th games in Pittsburgh against the Pirates, and for their September 21 game at Shea Stadium against Atlanta. To honor New York City's Fire, Police and EMS (Emergency Medial Service) Departments, the Mets replace their game caps with caps featuring various logos from those three agencies. Catcher Mike Piazza, who wears a helmet under his catcher's mask, wears a black helmet with a blue brim with "NYPD" replacing the Mets "NY" logo. This is notable because it is the only helmet that features any logo other than the Mets "NY".
They had also worn these caps on September 17 during batting practice and pre-game ceremonies, switching to their game caps for the actual game (except for Mets manager Bobby Valentine, who continued to wear his NYPD cap throughout the game on the 17th as well).
The American flag patch covering the MLB logo that is on the back of all jerseys that was added in 2001 after the terrorist attacks is gone; the MLB logo above the player name is uncovered in 2002.
On Memorial Day, May 27, 2002, the Mets (and all MLB teams) wear caps with a 1 x 1/2 inch flag stitched onto the left side. The Mets are at home on this date, playing the Florida Marlins, and they wear their "snow white" alternate uniform with black undershirt and blue and black cap.
On Independence Day, July 4, 2002, the Mets (and all MLB teams) wear caps with a 1 x 1/2 inch flag stitched onto the left side. The Mets are on the road on this date, playing the Florida Marlins. They wear their gray uniform with black undershirt and blue and black cap.
All teams begin to use batting practice jerseys and caps (in spring training and before games) the design of which has been standardized (and heavily marketed) by Major League Baseball. The Mets finally use the last of their colors that has not previously been the main color of a jersey: orange.
On Memorial Day and Independence Day, the Mets (and all MLB teams) wear caps with a 1 x 1/2 inch flag stitched onto the left side.
Although the pinstripe uniform is still technically the "official" home uniform, it continues to be used very sparingly. Most of the time, the Mets wear one of their home "alternate" variations.
The patch also incorporates two of the neon sculpture figures that were added to the outside of the stadium in the 1980’s. Beneath the patch, also on the right sleeve, there is an embroidered inscription in a font closely resembling Arial which reads,
"It's unusual for an athlete to have such an impact on two franchises that they both memorialize him upon his passing. But Tug McGraw, the key character on both the Mets' pennant-winning team in 1973 and the Phillies' 1980 world championship team, was a special guy. With McGraw having passed away last winter, the Mets have honored him by embroidering his signature rallying cry, ‘Ya Gotta Believe,’ onto their right sleeves (it's hard to see, but look beneath that huge, garish patch they're wearing to celebrate Shea Stadium's 40th anniversary), while the Phillies have drawn on McGraw's Irish heritage by wearing a shamrock sleeve patch inscribed with ‘Tug.’" (Paul Lukas’ column, Uni Watch, on slate.msn.com, May 17, 2004: "You’re Dead. Here’s your uniform tribute.")
From April 14, 2004 to April 22, 2004, the Mets wear an "Opening Day" cap logo on the left side of their caps. It is unusual that the logo does not appear on the Mets’ caps until the 14th because their home opener took place two days earlier, April 12, 2004. Nevertheless, the logo does not appear on the caps until April 14, 2004, which was the first annual Jackie Robinson Day. Since the logo is so small and made its first appearance on Jackie Robinson Day, there was a misconception that the logo was a Jackie Robinson Day logo and not an Opening Day logo. However, the logo that appeared on the caps from April 14-22, 2004 is the same Opening Day logo that was painted on the field on April 12 (the actual home opener). The logo was also used by other teams on opening day.
The Mets did not wear their blue caps between April 14th and April 22nd, so the 2004 Opening Day cap logo never appeared on a blue cap in game use.
On Sunday, June 27, 2004, two Mets players, Tom Wilson and Jose Parra, appear in a road game against the Yankees wearing a different jersey than the rest of the team. While the Mets wear their black alternate road jerseys, which read "New York" in fancy lettering across the front, Wilson and Parra are wearing the black alternate home jersey, which is identical except for the lettering on the front of the jersey. The front of the black alternate home jersey has the word "Mets" on it in the same script lettering that appears in the official team logo.
The mistake occurred during the second game of a day-night doubleheader and was
reported on by the Associated Press. From www.espn.com, June 27, 2004:
"The Mets wore gray uniforms for the opener, an 8-1 loss. For the night game, they wore black jerseys with ‘New York’ across the chest. Wilson and Parra wore jerseys in the night game that had ‘Mets’ on it in script, a shirt used for home games. Even after the game, Wilson was unaware he had been dressed differently. "‘I had no idea,’ he said." (Uniform blunder: 2 Mets wear wrong jerseys. Wilson, Parra out of step for nightcap. - Associated Press)
Tom Glavine and Mike Piazza are the lone Mets representatives at the 2004 All-Star game, and appear in the "snow white" alternate home jersey. On each player’s game uniform, the Shea Stadium 40th Anniversary patch on the right sleeve is replaced by the 2004 All-Star Game logo. The Tug McGraw memorial, however, remains on the sleeve, just below the All-Star logo.
Adam Rubin of the New York Daily News reports on the uniform change in the Mets Notebook column of the Sunday, July 11, 2004 issue. In his report, he refers to this uniform as the "white home uniform." The Mets still consider the snow-white jersey to which Rubin refers as one of the "alternate" home uniforms. The pinstripe uniform, despite its infrequent use, is still the "official" home uniform.
Even when the Mets pinstripe home uniform makes a rare appearance, it is often paired with one of the black alternate caps instead of the more traditional all-blue cap. It has been speculated that the reason for the scarcity of appearances of the all-blue cap is that the dugout jacket is black and as such does not go well with the all-blue cap. In order to minimize instances of players wearing the all-blue hat with the black jacket, it is rumored that the Mets try not to wear the all-blue hat in any weather except the hottest of temperatures, since almost no one will be wearing the jacket on an extremely hot day. (A statement to this effect was repeated to me and attributed to Mets Equipment Manager Charlie Samuels in early 2004, but to date is unverified by this author.)
Michael Cesarano is a professor of Speech and Theatre at Queensborough Community College in Bayside, NY. He has been studying Major League Baseball uniform designs for almost twenty years and is a collector of professional baseball uniforms. At present, his collection includes over 100 pieces. Michael is also a member of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR).
You can contact Michael at firstname.lastname@example.org
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