If you have ever been to Citi Field, you have more-than-likely seen Mr. Met, a man with a giant baseball head walking around. You’ve probably heard of him too, considering he is consistently ranked among the best baseball mascots of all time.
In 2012, Forbes Magazine ranked Mr. Met as the best mascot in all of the sports. He has also been inducted into the Mascot Hall of Fame and has appeared on many TV shows and commercials. Simply put, the New York Mets’ mascot is a cultural icon in the world of sports. Interestingly enough, there is even a real history behind the mascot…
Early Years (1962-76)
According to the Mets website, Mr. Met was “born” on April 11, 1962, the date of the first game in Mets history. However, it wasn’t until 1963 when fans began to see the mascot on scorecards, game programs, and yearbooks. While most-likely a myth, according to the Mets’ website,
“On the first spring morning of ’63, with the dew still dampening Coogan’s Bluff, Casey Stengel, the old skipper of the young Mets, saw a figure in the distance. Deep in the Polo Grounds’ center field stood a fan like no other — a fan clearly born to root for the New York Mets. Casey took to the big guy, he invited him to join the Amazin’s the next year at their new park, Shea Stadium. Mr. Met was home.”
Beginning in 1964 at the newly built Shea Stadium, a live-version of Mr. Met did actually make its debut. He was given a female companion, Mrs. Met at some point during the 1960s, but only occasionally on print. It wasn’t until 1975 when Mrs. Met made a short-lived costume debut at Shea Stadium.
Unfortunately, by the mid-1970s the Mets franchise began to dissolve the Mr. Met mascot away from fans. In 1976, the mascot appeared on the cover of the team’s yearbook for that season, and that was it. For the next 20 years, Mr. Met did not appear on any advertising for the team and was absent from all games.
In 1979, after the team discontinued Mr. Met, the team experimented with a live mule as a mascot at games. The mule was named Mettle the mule and only appeared for that one season.
Before the 1992 season, long time Mets fan, Lois Kauffman wrote a compelling argument to the team on why they should resurrect Mr. Met. The team was originally slow on responding to the fan, but alas they decided to bring back the mascot during a promotional event in 1994. The team icon had finally returned. Despite being forgotten for 20 years, Mr. Met has been with the team ever since as fans quickly reembraced the mascot.
In 2003, first baseman Tony Clark became the first Met to ever wear the number 00, which happens to be Mr. Met’s number. In June of that season, the first baseman actually switched his number to 52 after a young fan had asked him where the mascot went. The embrace of Mr. Met among fans had soon become very apparent.
Today, fans can see Mr. Met at all Mets home games, where they can meet and take photos with the mascot. An early version of the Mets’ mascot is on display at the New York Mets Hall of Fame and Museum at Citi Field. He can also be seen featured on batting practice caps as well as patches on jerseys. Mr. Met, an iconic figure not only to the New York Mets, but baseball in general.
Mets, New York. “The Story of Mr. Met.” MLB.com, www.mlb.com/mets/fans/the-story-of-mr-met.
“Mr. Met.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 29 Sept. 2020, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mr._Met.