Key Mets introduce 50th anniversary logo
Wright, Davis on hand to help honor franchise's tradition
NEW YORK -- From Ed Kranepool and Casey Stengel to David Wright and Jose Reyes, it has been nearly 50 years since the Mets made their grand entrance to the National League in 1962. Originally filling the void left by the departed Dodgers and Giants, the Mets have since assumed an identity all their own in Flushing.
There were the 1969 Amazin' Mets, the '73 "Ya Gotta Believe!" team and the '86 World Series champions, known for their personality on and off the field. There were close calls in 2000 and '06, and a new era currently in the making.
Given that ever-growing history, the Mets plan to celebrate their 50th anniversary throughout the upcoming summer in Flushing. They revealed the first portion of those plans at Citi Field on Wednesday, unveiling a commemorative logo, announcing several new promotional events -- including the return of "Banner Day" -- and inviting Wright, first baseman Ike Davis and outfielder Lucas Duda to model the classic-looking uniforms they'll wear.
"This organization has a lot of history to celebrate," said Wright, the third baseman who has found himself the subject of trade rumors this offseason. "I'm glad that I can be here today to kind of think about that history and celebrate that history. We've had a lot of tremendous and a lot of great players who have put this uniform on, and obviously it's an honor."
Similar to the franchise's traditional cityscape emblem, the new logo sports a gold 50th anniversary banner superimposed over the New York City skyline and will be featured on the left sleeve of jerseys and hats.
Gone for the 2012 season are the black-and-blue Mets caps, as players will wear the traditional orange-and-blue hats with their pinstriped home uniforms, gray road jerseys and two alternate unis -- black and solid white. The 2012 uniforms will reflect the look from the Mets' inaugural season, with the black drop-shadow removed from all letters and numbers.
The club will also wear a new orange-and-blue batting-practice jersey.
"They were conceived 50 years ago as an homage to the Mets' New York baseball ancestors, but today, these uniforms stand firmly on their own," Mets radio voice and Wednesday's emcee, Howie Rose, said at the podium. "They say both literally and symbolically, historically and emotionally, 'New York Mets,' and represent so many fantastic moments and memories, with the promise of many more to come."
For the 2012 season, the No. 50 -- previously worn by the likes of Sid Fernandez and Benny Agbayani -- will be retired, with one fan at each home game winning a No. 50 jersey with the words "FANTASTIC" displayed on the back.
Headlining the promotional schedule, which will be announced in greater detail in a few weeks, will be the return of Banner Day, which began in 1963 with fans parading around the warning track with Mets signs. This year, Banner Day will happen only once -- though the date hasn't been set in stone yet -- and will give fans the chance to do the same while depicting their favorite Mets memories in honor of the 50th anniversary.
If it goes well, it could become more than a one-year thing.
"We'll see how it goes," Mets executive vice president of business operations Dave Howard said. "I think it will be very popular, and I think we'll get a mandate from our fans that it will be an annual tradition."
Also unveiled on Wednesday was an anniversary promotion in which fans are encouraged to submit photographs displaying their Mets pride and, in 100 words or fewer, write about their favorite Mets memory. Fans can submit their photos and memories on Mets50.com, with one grand-prize winner receiving a pair of 2012 season tickets at Citi Field. Five runners-up will also receive prizes.
The Mets will also distribute five bobbleheads throughout the course of the season, depicting a fan favorite from each decade. The first will be Hall of Famer Tom Seaver -- in April -- with the four others to be announced at a later date.
A limited number of five-game ticket packs -- starting at $50 -- will go on sale on Nov. 28, Cyber Monday, exclusively on Mets.com.
The 2012 season will be an event-filled one for the Mets, with prestigious former players making their way to the ballpark, new exhibits at the Mets Hall of Fame and Museum, an assortment of giveaways taking place and other initiatives that will be announced later in the offseason.
Fifty years ago on Wednesday, the Mets unveiled the logo they've always used. In 2012, they'll use a new logo to honor their franchise's past -- with a special tip of the cap to the fans who helped shape it.
"I think the thing that has separated the Mets through the years is the fans, and the loyalty and the dedication," Howard said. "You hear the word 'diehard,' and I think it really applies to the Mets' fans. And that's really the thrust of our celebration this year, is to focus on and celebrate with the fans and for the fans, because they have made this franchise very special and very unique."