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What's Your Sign(ature) - New York Mets

Mets Signature 550

By Phil Hecken

Thus far, in the “What’s Your Sign(ature)” series, we’ve looked at the Cleveland Indians, Pittsburgh Pirates, and the Houston Astros. Today we’ll take a look at my team — the New York Mets — and as you can probably tell from today’s splash, their signature uni is the “Racing Stripes.” It’s also my least favorite uniform. But if we take a look back at the uniforms the Mets have worn through their 50+ year history — this is the one that really stands out as the “METS” more than any other.

For the better part of their early history, the Mets had beautiful classic uniforms: designed to “honor” the colors of NYC (and coincidentally the departed Dodgers and Giants), the uniforms were royal blue and orange, with a pinstriped uniform for the homes (despite rumors that the pinstripes were added as a tribute to NY’s AL team, the one that didn’t move west — there is no conclusive proof the pins were worn as a tip of the cap to the Yankees).

The early uniforms were gorgeous — and relatively unchanged from 1962 (the year NY entered the league) through 1973 — with a script “Mets” on the home pinstripes, and a gray road uniform with “NEW YORK” in the ‘tuscan’ font across the chest. Uniform numbers were added to the front of the jersey in 1965. They would go NNOB for all these years. (You can click any photo below to enlarge.)

Mets 62

Mets 69

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As the polyester craze took over the league in the early-mid 70’s the Mets uniforms began to change as well — although not too radically. From 1974-1977, the block “NEW YORK” on the roads was changed to the same script “Mets” as on the home uniforms. Both unis would remain button-front and have belts.

Mets 76 Mets 75a

In 1978, the Mets would ditch the full button-front jerseys for both home and road, and would go to a 2-button ‘henley’ style top. They’d also add blue/orange/blue trim on the sleeve ends and collars. They’d keep this uniform look from 1978-1981.

Mets 81 Mets 79

So, through 1981, the Mets had some beautiful (and some pretty nice) uniforms, certainly classics — but nothing that would really “scream” Mets…their signature uniform wasn’t far off however. 1982 would be the transitional year. In that year, they’d keep the henley tops for their homes, but they would add their (in)famous racing stripes to the road uniforms. Those road tops were full pullover tops, but they would keep the belted pants (something they would do throughout their time wearing pullovers — an odd look during a time when most, but not all, teams who went to pullover tops also wore sansabelt pants).

The big change, and the change to the signature uniform, occurred fully in 1983 (and would last through 1990), when they went to the racing stripes full-time on both home and road uniforms. Interestingly, they went through several different road uniform styles during this time (always keeping the racing stripes). They’d begin with the script “Mets” which they’d wear from 1983 through 1986, then a one-year script “New York” font in 1987, finally reverting to a block “NEW YORK” font from 1988 through 1990.

Mets 86

Mets 87

Mets 87a Mets 87b

Mets 88

Oh yeah. Those uniforms were gaudy, loud, obnoxious — pretty much like the Mets during that period. It doesn’t always follow that a team’s signature uniform is worn during its period of most sustained success (if one World Series title and two division titles in an 8 year period, but usually always in contention, defines the Mets greatest success), and certainly the iconic images from the 1986 World Series add to the lore. But the racing stripes ON the pinstripes (and with pullovers over belted pants to boot) was a look the Mets owned. No one before or since wore a combination of that order. If one (or at least anyone over the age of say, 30) were to think back to one uniform that ‘defined’ the Mets, the 1983-1990 uniforms certainly qualify as their “signature” look.

When we think back we ALMOST always associate the racing-pins unis as pullovers, but the Mets would actually revert to button-front jerseys with this design for two additional seasons — they’d wear those in 1991 and 1992.

Mets 92 Mets 92a

Mercifully, the Mets would finally lose the racing stripes after the 1992 season. For the next two years, they’d go back to plain(er) pins and gray roads, with a odd “fishtail” script on both the home and roads.

Mets 93

Mets 94

For a brief period before the “BFBS” would take root in the late 1990s and last into the 2010’s, the Mets uniforms returned to their roots — a look they basically currently sport. In 1995 and 1996, they’d return to the “basic” (classic) Mets uniform, with script “Mets” on the homes and tuscan-style “NEW YORK” on the roads. In 1997, the would also add a “snow white” home uniform (worn with an “ice cream man” cap).

Mets 96 Mets 97

Mets 97

When 1998 hit, the Mets went black (for black’s sake) and almost never looked back. They began by adding black dropshadow to the wordmarks, and added two new caps (a hybrid black/blue cap, followed by an all-black cap in 1999). In 1998, the squad also added a black jersey. They were late-comers to the BFBS craze, and held onto it longer than most teams, keeping it through the end of the 2011 season. The would not return to their uni-senses until the 2012 season, which marked their 50th Anniversary season.

Mets 98

Mets 99 Mets 99a

Mets 2002

Finally — in 2012 — the Mets returned to their “classic” uniforms — non-dropshadowed pinstripes at home and road grays, but they kept the snow whites — and made the pinstripes a cream color (trying to evoke images of yellowed flannel uniforms of yesteryear). But they looked like the Mets again. They would add a blue alternate in 2013 (and the road alt would get its own cap in 2015), and drop the snow whites at the beginning of the 2015 season (they then changed the color of the cream pins to white). But for all intents and purposes, the 2012-2016 club has looked very much like the 1965-1973 team. It might not be their “signature” look, but it is their best.

Mets 2012

Matt Harvey_HORIZ

Mets 2015

Mets 2016

And there you have it — for a majority (or certainly a plurality) of their time, the Mets have had some really good, classic unis, and two distinct periods (the racing stripe era and BFBS era) when their unis haven’t been quite as good. But the one set that you could instantly and ALWAYS identify the Mets in and by … was the racing stripes. For better or for worse, it’s their sign(ature).

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What If The NBA Had Uni Ads…

…Decades Ago?

Got an e-mail from Lee Traylor, who did the unthinkable…he imagined an NBA where uniform adverts existed during some of the NBA’s golden years. Yeah, he went there (click photos to enlarge):

Thought it might be interesting to imagine a world in which NBA uniforms always had a 2″ advert patch, so I tried to Photoshop some of my childhood heros’ (sic) uniforms with period-appropriate ad patches. I’m not proud of what I’ve done.

Cheers,

Lee Traylor
Jacksonville, Texas

Jordan Uni Ad McD

Larry Bird Uni Ad

Dr J Uni Ad

It’s awful to think of an NBA uniform with ads, but this is an interesting exercise — what if the NBA had ads for 20+ years? And what if they stayed 2 1/2 x 2 1/2 inches for all this time? Would we even notice? Would we have cared (then)? Would our “child heroes” or favorite teams wearing brand adverts make us more (or less) likely to BUY those products? I mean, if Mickey D’s is good enough for Jordan, then it’s where I’m getting my burger, right? (Side note: with all the products Jordan endorsed, did he ever endorse McD’s? I can’t remember, and choose not to.)

There are entire generations of kids (now adults) who will only wear Jordan/Nike sneakers, simply because Michael Jordan was paid (handsomely) to wear them. Will uni ads on NBA jerseys have the same effect? I realize this isn’t a perfect analogy (one popular player wearing a certain brand is NOT the same as a team wearing an ad patch) — but certainly the future advertisers are hoping this will happen. 20 years from now, can we expect an entire generation of young adults (who are TrailBlazer fans) to purchase products made by say, Apple computers, if they are the advertisers of Portland’s team? Or buy their “gear” at Dicks Sporting Goods if they were to advertise on a team’s unis? How impactful will these future ads actually be?

Soccer fans: Question — does the corporate entity that sponsors your favorite team’s kit have any bearing on whether or not you’ll purchase a good or service from that advertiser? If you’re a fan of a certain New York-area team, are you more or less likely to buy a Red Bull energy drink? Does it even enter your consciousness?

Discuss.

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colorize thisColorize This!

Occasionally, I will be featuring wonderful, high-quality black and white photographs that are just begging to be colorized.

Got a couple colorizations today — both from names you know and love — George Chilvers and Bruce Menard. You’ll never guess the subject matter from each…

George is up first, followed by Bruce.

Click photos to enlarge.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

wigan borough sheff wed 1929 colour - Gerge Chilvers

This is from a screengrab I made from this video.

Wigan Borough were a Football League team in the 1920s who struggled for survival and finally went out of the League in October 1931 due to financial problems. Wigan Athletic were formed in May 1932, and finally got into the Football League in 1978, the Premier League in 2005, and won the FA Cup in 2013. We are now fighting our way back up the leagues :)

This game is an FA Cup tie in 1929 against a more famous team, Sheffield Wednesday, which the visitors won 3-1. The attendance was a ground record at Springfield Park of 30,443.

George

. . .

1964 (Apr17) Shea Stadium Opening (2016)3BrdW - Bruce Menard

1964 (Apr17) Shea Stadium Opening (2015 edit)W

Hi Phil,

It was 52 years ago today that the beloved Shea Stadium had its first official game. They lost to the Pittsburgh Pirates that day, 4-3, with Willie Stargell laying claim to the 1st home run at the new ballpark. The photo itself is a re-working of an old wire photo I’ve posted in years past, now with a touch of color and a Mets colored border. Just a cleaner look overall from the original edit.

Here’s the box score from the game: April 17, 1964 Pittsburgh Pirates at New York Mets.

Cheers!
~Bruce

. . . . .

Thanks George and Bruce. Outstanding work, as always!

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UW Friday Flashback UW’s Friday Flashback

In case you missed it, Paul’s Friday Flashback on ESPN looked at Nets’ uniform history, which has included some memorable designs — though some of them were memorable for all the wrong reasons. The FF comes in response to one of the great uni-related stories of recent years — which came earlier this month from ESPN.com’s Zach Lowe, who revealed the previously untold tale of how the New Jersey Nets almost renamed themselves the New Jersey Swamp Dragons in the 1990s. That in and of itself is a tremendous story — so be sure to check that link out as well.

Great read, so be sure to check it out if you didn’t catch it on Friday!

Enjoy!

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Uni Watch News Ticker

Baseball News: Interesting uni combo for Myers Park HS in Charlotte, with tequila sunrise and striped stirrups (from Steve DiPaola). … Pretty sure we’ve seen these before, but Seton Hall has a tequila sunrise jersey (from Nathan Bryson). … It wasn’t just the Royals who modified their uni to add gold for their championship, Fresno Grizzlies did as well (from Nick Lineback). The Grizzlies are the defending Pacific Coast League and Triple-A National Champions. Additional shots here and here (from David Taub). … Remember the other day when Bryce Harper put “100” decals on his bat knobs? Well, MLB issued 4/13 memo stating that after further consideration, personalized bat knob decals are now allowed (thanks, Paul). … “Is it just me, or does the lettering on Jeff Locke’s uniform (first and third pictures) look off here?” asks Michael McLaughlin. … Welp, here’s another “chipped” helmet logo for the Dodgers — this time Yasiel Puig (h/t Playoff Nick). … Should the D-Bax just dump the current snakeskin-covered unis and switch back to their original teal and purple? The author of this article thinks so. … “Note spelling of ‘AOKLAND’ on 4/16 A’s jersey giveaway shipping boxes,” says Richard Paloma. “Fortunately the lettering of the jerseys was correct. Scary moment when opened with 15K to giveaway.” … The first 15,000 fans at the Oakland A’s game today get striped socks (good spot by Bruce Menard). … Here are the new Burlington Bees alternate jerseys they’ve worn a few times this year (from Corbin Schindler). … Fort Scott Comm College baseball wore Jackie Robinson uniforms yesterday. They have a faux flannel pattern (from Scott Nuzum). … You might know this already, but the Twins put their uniforms for each year on the wall outside the main gate (via Paul). … The July 4th Flag Desecration jerseys for the Padres and Rays look like the alternate Red Sox jersey designs of the early 2000s (the team never wore those, but they were sold to fans). From Nomar’s Better. … Show of virtual hands: who besides me thinks the A’s should return to these unis? (from Bruce Menard). … This Dodgers ballgirl has a 2015 Postseason patch on her jersey. Submitter Sean Robbins notes, “But also least she gets one of the new helmets.”

NFL/Football News: Whoa! Did you know the Cowboys had considered switching to a helmet with this logo? Check out this nice article by reader John Turney to read more on that. Great stuff. … Are the Seahawks planning on introducing a new charcoal helmet? … NBA jersey ads raise an obvious question: Is the NFL next? … In light of last year’s Jets/Bills color rash fiasco, the NFL apparently has a plan to avoid color-blind confusion for future color rash games. … Take this with a grain of salt, but supposedly these are the designated colors for this year’s color rash promotions (a few people sent this in). … Espo asks, “Is it just me, or are there three different copper colors between the Rattlers helmet, numbers and side panel?”

College Football News: Looks like the University of North Dakota football team will have a new gray helmet for the upcoming season — and it’s joining its green counterpart with a matte finish (thanks to Greg Enkers). … Check out this Dartmouth football title rings blog post. Submitter Cassian Wykes adds, “the lineup of coach Buddy Teevens’ rings at the end is interesting.” … Here is a look at the Will Smith decal all Ohio State players had on their helmets for yesterday’s spring game (thanks, Paul). … Here’s a look at the Penn State helmets with the “Uplifting Athletes” decal (from Thom Pucks). Also, looks like Penn State has “Nittany Lions” on the bottom of the helmet for the first time. Submitter Chris Flinn adds, “Seems like it’s always said ‘Riddell’ in the past.” … Towards the bottom of this article, there are a bunch of fan statements about Oklahoma State football uniforms — interestingly (but unsurprisingly), many feel the “kids” play “harder” in “cutting edge” uniforms, the unis help in recruiting, and this gem: “Nike decided that we’re going to be one of the teams they are going to use to advance their own brand” (and he means that as a compliment). Fans aren’t stupid, but they’ve completely bought into the Kool Aid the uni makers are selling.

NBA News: According to this article, the Charlotte Hornets will likely have a Jordan Brand logo on their uniforms during the 2017-2018 NBA Season. … Shawn Moorman Was perusing the CBS Sports App and “I came across this photo. Interesting that all 4 teams shown have a different neckline style.” … Here’s an up-close look at each of the four shirts Toronto Raptors put on seats yesterday afternoon (Thanks, Paul). … Put on your shades before you look at this link: The Atlanta Hawks had a volt-out for the fans yesterday (several sent that in). … Here is your first look at the 2016 NBA Season / Postseason upcoming t-shirt designs (all looks here). From Conrad Burry).

Soccer News: New home kits for Gloucester City AFC (via TRiCKETT). … “Seems kind of weird the official twitter account of the Colorado Rapids uses a logo that hasn’t been used by the team since 2006,” says Chris Shockey. … “In case this hasn’t been mentioned, the shirt sponsor of BM (T-Mobile) dresses 58 of their employees in white ponchos and caps at each home game, and seats them in a way that spells out their *T*** logo!” says Daniel Hresko. “This is per a 10/2014 article at bayerncentral.com.”

Grab Bag: “The AUDL (American Ultimate Disc League, a professional ultimate frisbee league) has reversed a recent decision to refuse a team from wearing rainbow bracelets during a game,” says Tyler Pearson. “The team, the Austin Sol, requested to wear the bracelets during an upcoming game in North Carolina, to protest the recent LGBT laws. AUDL initially allowed them to wear the bracelets before and after the game, but recently changed their decision. Here is the link to the reversal statement.” … Yesterday’s Army/Navy lacrosse game was gold vs. sand, which made for obvious difficulty viewing (thanks to Brian M.). And apparently Army had a new jersey (from Army-Navy Game. … Here’s a look at a college lacrosse official wearing a hockey helmet (via Travis Holland). … “Haven’t submitted anything in a while but visited my hometown (Valpo, IN) and came back to my favorite watering hole — the Franklin House — and noticed in the bathroom they changed the standard urinal to urinals that are former kegs!” exclaims Andrew Horne. “Nothing like a little ingenuity at your local sports bar.”

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And that’s going to do it for this weekend (at at least here in the Northeast, finally a NICE spring weekend!). Hope you guys are able to get out and enjoy the weather if it’s nice by you.

Thanks to everyone who submitted for the ticker, either by e-mail or by tweet.

I’ll be back with more next weekend, but until then…

Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.

Peace.

.. … ..

“You don’t pull on Superman’s cape, you don’t spit into the wind, and you don’t mess with the pinstripes.”

–Jon Rose

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80 comments to What’s Your Sign(ature) – New York Mets

  • The Jeff | April 17, 2016 at 7:38 am |

    Take this with a grain of salt, but supposedly these are the designated colors for this year’s color rash promotions

    I hope to god that isn’t accurate. Why in the bloody FUCK would they have the Raiders in motherFUCKING gold? All the rest of the teams at least sorta make sense. The Texans in light blue is a bit iffy, though I guess it works as an Oilers harkback thing. Ravens using the flag pattern? Didn’t we learn anything from Maryland? Also, it shows the Steelers as yellow, while the article from yesterday indicated they’d be going with black.

    /yes, the capitalized swearing was necessary.

    • DJ | April 17, 2016 at 8:04 am |

      The Steelers also said that if they weren’t wearing all black, they’d wear all white.

      In addition, the Bears indicated during a meeting with season-ticket holders that they would go all-navy in a Color Rush game. I smell a big fat rat with this “leak.”

      • GK | April 19, 2016 at 9:13 pm |

        I think the Bears would have to go all navy. The only Thursday game is against the Packers who are designated gold and orange vs. GB gold sounds like an assault on anyone watching. I was actually a big fan of the orange when they had them as Halloween weekend alts those few years in the mid-late 2000s before the “Monsters” uni came back.

    • MJ | April 17, 2016 at 8:53 am |

      Lions in black?
      Bengals and Ravens in NON-monochrome? I never liked the idea; now I am just hating it.

      • Tony A. | April 17, 2016 at 9:15 am |

        I’m hating it too.
        As a Lions fan, I associate black with the M@!t Mi!!#n years.
        Please, NO!

    • Steve B. | April 17, 2016 at 9:48 am |

      I, too doubt the style sheet is legit, but if somehow it is, it would indicate the Skins and Cowboys Thanksgiving game will not be color rush.

      • Rob S. | April 17, 2016 at 12:39 pm |

        According to that twitter account, Washington and Tennessee were on the second page. Apparently the Titans will be in red this time around, while Washington will be going BFBS.

        • The Jeff | April 17, 2016 at 1:23 pm |

          Washington in black? And I thought Oakland in gold was stupid… I really hope this isn’t legit. It’s just so, so, so stupid. Seriously NFL, color vs color isn’t that hard.

    • Frank from Bmore | April 17, 2016 at 10:52 am |

      Of course the slide has the Maryland flag upside down. I am afraid the Ravens will look like U of MD North.

    • Mike C | April 17, 2016 at 6:15 pm |

      If the Raiders are in fact going to gold for this, I believe the explanation would be that it’s a color throwback to when they had gold in their color scheme during the first couple years in the AFL. I agree it’s a horrible idea, but I think that’s how they would justify it.

  • KikiDee | April 17, 2016 at 7:49 am |

    Thanks for the WHATSYOURSIGNATURE series. It’s cool to see a team’s uniforms through the years all in one spot.

  • Tim C. | April 17, 2016 at 7:55 am |

    The CFL has has small ads on uniforms for several years. I know that they are there, but I can’t say I remember any of the advertisers on any of the 9 teams.

    • Wade Heidt | April 17, 2016 at 9:37 am |

      These days in the CFL, There are small patches on the upper left and upper right on the chest above the numbers. One of the patches is a league sponsor, it is the same for all teams. The other patch is optional (though most teams usually wear it) and is an individual sponsor to that team.

      Come playoffs and Grey Cup, the team sponsor patch is replaced by another league sponsor patch. So, each team is wearing the 2 same sponsor patches in the playoffs and Grey Cup.

  • Matt from SC | April 17, 2016 at 7:59 am |

    Ticket soccer section has the NCAA logo instead of a soccer ball.

    • Matt from SC | April 17, 2016 at 7:59 am |

      *Ticker*

    • Phil Hecken | April 17, 2016 at 10:05 am |

      Thanks. Now fixed.

  • James B. | April 17, 2016 at 8:05 am |

    You don’t remember the famous Jordan/Bird game of “Horse” for the Big Mac? Both of those guys endorsed McDonalds.

    • Mountain Ways | April 17, 2016 at 8:35 am |

      Beat me to it. There were several iterations of them if I remember correctly.

    • Phantom Dreamer | April 17, 2016 at 9:13 am |

      The Jordan, Bird McDonald’s commercials were great.

    • Phil Hecken | April 17, 2016 at 10:07 am |

      Here’s the thing. I DO remember the game of horse. I literally did not remember who sponsored the ad.

      Good for me (I guess), but bad for McD’s.

  • arrScott | April 17, 2016 at 8:34 am |

    Couldn’t disagree more about the Mets. The racing stripe unis are by far the best the Mets have ever worn. But the team’s signature look is their clean, original pinstripe unis. Even when they wore the beautiful racing stripes, the stripes were merely an adornment to the simpler signature look. Over time, what do the Mets always return to? The original look. The Mets tinker and experiment and add new elements, but eventually the innovations fall away and the team returns to something close to its original, Casey Stengel unis. That’s what it means to have a signature look.

    • DJ | April 17, 2016 at 9:10 am |

      Agree completely. With every entry, this series becomes another edition of “I Love the 70s/80s.”

      • arrScott | April 17, 2016 at 10:12 am |

        To be fair, for most people, the signature anything will be what stuff was like when they were 13 years old. So for a very large number of baseball fans, probably a plurality but maybe a majority, what a team or the whole league looked like in the Carter or Reagan years will feel like the right look. I admit that may very well be why I like the Mets racing stripe so much!

    • Phil Hecken | April 17, 2016 at 10:16 am |

      “That’s what it means to have a signature look.”

      ~~~

      For the purposes of this series, a “signature” look is defined as one that is worn by a team such that even a casual fan could instantly (or as instantly as possible) recognize that particular team based upon the uniform worn. To me, that’s the Mets in their racing stripes — no one else wore a uniform (particularly the home uniform with its unique combination of pinstripes, racing stripes, pullovers and belts) like this. It was pure “Mets.”

      We can disagree whether or not that particular uniform fits the parameters.

      It’s NOT a uniform worn the longest, in which the team had their most success or is their “best looking” (although any or all of those could be part of a “signature” look). It’s a uniform that you can see in a photo or on a baseball card and you instantly say, “OK, that’s the Mets”.

      Their current/original look is no doubt classic, which is why they keep returning to it — but it’s not their signature. Lots of teams had/have pinstripes at home and gray roadies. They are clearly the Mets’ best look. But not their signature, at least as I define it.

      YMMV.

      • Ferdinand Cesarano | April 17, 2016 at 11:43 am |

        It is not true that no other team but the Mets wore the racing stripe. The Expos had it first.

        In the case of both of these teams, this element was an inappropriately garish addition which marred an otherwise beautiful and dignified uniform.

        • Phil Hecken | April 17, 2016 at 11:47 am |

          I NEVER said no other team had racing stripes (Rangers had them too) — the Mets were the only team to have racing stripes ON pinstripes (also only team to have that element on pullovers with belted pants).

          I actually LOVED the Expos racing striped unis (and theirs were button front/belted). Rangers were both button-front/sansabelt and pullover/sansabelt.

        • arrScott | April 17, 2016 at 1:25 pm |

          The Mets were the only team with racing stripes on pinstripes? Michael Jack Schmidt would like to have a word with us: http://blog.syracuse.com/sports/2012/10/mike_schmidt_alex_rodriguez_wa.html

      • DJ | April 17, 2016 at 12:39 pm |

        Is it really? I maintain the colors are what make the ordinary fan associate it with the Mets.

        Think of it this way — obscure the cap logo and the script on the front. Render the photo in black and white. You would still have pinstripes, racing stripes, a pullover jersey, and a leather belt. Would that still say “Mets?” I’m not so sure.

      • arrScott | April 17, 2016 at 1:19 pm |

        OK, so my favorite sport is arguing definitions. (Which is why I’m a big fan of this series, even if I have not agreed with any of its conclusions to date.) If “signature” is a useful word in this conversation, then it must have something to do with the look that defines a team. Defines it to whom? Here we ought surely cast a wide net: to the team’s fans, to casual fans of the sport in general, to residents of the team’s city who may not normally regard themselves as fans, and to the team itself. I submit that for the Mets, racing stripes can be argued to be a signature look for less than half of two of those four groups. At best. For a backup catcher, batting .250 ain’t bad. For a uni element to be considered a signature look, resonating with one-quarter of the people whose opinions matter is a failing grade. If racing stripes (or any other element of that uniform that differed from other eras) were so central to the team’s visual identity, we would see the team incorporating them in various ways over the years even as other elements are introduced and dropped.

        What defines “Mets” to the casual sports fan or the New Yorker who is not a baseball fan? A blue cap with an orange NY, and royal blue pinstripes with a big blue jersey script. Can it really be argued that there is some great number of people who would fail to recognize the Mets based on those elements, but who would instantly say, “Aha! Mets!” when racing stripes are piped down the sleeves? I suspect not, even though to me the racing stripes are the single best uni element in Mets history.

        I would argue that perhaps the most useful mental tool for identifying a team’s signature look is Flip Flop Flyball’s 8-bit unis: http://www.flipflopflyin.com/flipflopflyball/flopps.html Whatever uni rendered in that format most immediately says “That Team!” to the greatest spectrum of the team’s fans, the sport’s fans, the team’s city’s residents, and the team itself will be its signature look.

      • Geeman | April 17, 2016 at 2:39 pm |

        Phil,

        Nice job. But left out is that the Mets may have been the first, or one of the first teams, to wear colored jerseys with grey pants. That started in 1982. They wore the alternate blue jersey on the road through 1984 or 1985.

        Also, not sure, but I think the black jerseys debuted in 1998, not 1999.

        G.

        • Phil Hecken | April 17, 2016 at 6:16 pm |

          Thanks Chris, but I tried to keep this to “primary” unis — of course, that went out the window when the team went BFBS as they wore the designated alts more than the designated primaries, so I included all the tops (actually I think I left out the black “NEW YORK” road top, but it was overkill as it was).

          That the Mets were the first(?) team to wear colored tops with gray pants only speaks to how f*cked up the team was…the colored tops were made to be worn with WHITE bottoms (even if the Mets have tried to incorporate gray/silver into the look), or at least they were for all other teams. I blame them, then, for the scourge that is colored tops over gray pants today. You wear your whites at home…keep those colored tops for the road — unless you’re the We Are Family Bucs or Oakland A’s in gold tops. I’d also make a special exception for the Padres, if they wanted to go all gold a la 1979.

          And maybe the black tops did debut in 1998…that period is a blur — but they definitely added the all black cap in 1999. So maybe I’m confusing it with that.

    • Jerry | April 17, 2016 at 12:17 pm |

      I agree but I feel that most people on is blog probably hold the mid 1980s Mets in high regard. By that I mean that they remember those great teams and aren’t old enough to remember the great 1969-73 teams so they assume that the racing stripes look is “signature”. AsaYankee fan I have no horse in the race but I’ve always admired the Mets color scheme and uniform look( sorry but I hated the black look the Mets toyed with for a while).

  • MJ | April 17, 2016 at 8:51 am |

    Phil – great write-up on the Mets. One error – in the paragraph beginning “So,…” The Mets added RACING stripes to the road uniforms in 1982. IIRC, the Mets have never had PINstripes on their road uniforms. And I say this as a lifelong Mets hater who has watched them and their fans befoul the Vet and CBP for decades.
    And Jordan did shill for McDonald’s.

    • diggerjohn99 | April 17, 2016 at 9:05 am |

      The only people that “befouled” the Vet were the most violent sports fans in North America. The fans who a generation before greeted Jackie Robinson with racist taunts.

    • Phil Hecken | April 17, 2016 at 10:08 am |

      Thanks, MJ — now fixed.

  • dootie bubble | April 17, 2016 at 8:56 am |

    https://scontent.ftpa1-2.fna.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xal1/v/t1.0-9/13015568_606659719491494_5883192601979194222_n.jpg?oh=3b154aca569c2db0c7946ae2565e6cb7&oe=57AC49A0

    My favorite club has been sponsorless all season and I’m excited to get one of these jerseys nice rainbow-colored shirts. Unfortunately MTN, a local phone company, boogered the kits up for the FA cup competition. Never say die! Phooooooobia.

  • Rich | April 17, 2016 at 9:24 am |

    Nice piece on the Mets’ signature look.

  • Steve D | April 17, 2016 at 9:37 am |

    Without going into all the alts and other idiosyncrasies, Phil did a great synopsis of Met uniform history. Just correct the typo MJ pointed out.

    I almost reluctantly have to agree with him on signature look. If you asked me what uniform the Mets SHOULD wear, I would clone the 1969 home and road down to every millimeter on the script, NY on patch, blue squatchee and use the varsity numbers like they did on the roads. A timeless classic, but little to speak out to a non-Mets fan under 50.

    Dressed to the nines has the 1982 road alt all wrong…they wore this

    http://content.sportslogos.net/news/2015/10/mets-82-alt.jpg

    Has anybody ever tried to get something in that database corrected? Are they responsive?

    • Sam T. | April 17, 2016 at 10:18 pm |

      Would you also have no names on the Mets unis?

      • Steve D | April 18, 2016 at 12:12 am |

        Good point…they did not have them in 1969. Personally, the names don’t spoil the rest of the aesthetics for me so I would use them. When I was a kid in the early 70s, I always hoped the Mets would someday add names.

  • Sam D. | April 17, 2016 at 10:02 am |

    The Mets introduced their road blue alternates in 2013, the same year as the home blues.

  • Matthew Toy | April 17, 2016 at 11:02 am |

    How can the Seahawks have a charcoal colored helmet when the league nixed teams having different colored helmets a few years ago?

    • The Jeff | April 17, 2016 at 11:41 am |

      They can’t, unless the NFL has finally come to their senses about this stupid ass “rule”.

      But anyways, that image is obviously the result of lighting and/or an instagram filter. It doesn’t exactly take much to make dark navy look like charcoal gray.

  • Steve D | April 17, 2016 at 11:10 am |

    In addition to Charlotte having a Jordan ad, I guess the Clippers will have a Microsoft ad (do not call it a logo)…the Knicks maybe Optimum. Are there any other obvious ones?

    Has there been any discussion of player conflicts with the official team ad? What if a Hornet player had a deal with Adidas? What if a player has a deal with McDonald’s and Burger King is the team ad?

    • Josh | April 17, 2016 at 1:04 pm |

      Mark Cuban also owns AXS TV and Landmark Theatres, but I think the Mavericks will go bigger.

      Theoretically the Blazers could also have a Microsoft ad.

      WalMart might be an shoe-in for the Nuggets.

      While not related to the ownership, I think Coca-Cola is a big possibility for the Hawks.

      Carnival Cruises for Miami Heat.

      The Wizards should have AOL just to blow people’s minds.

      The Cavaliers might go with Quicken.

      I feel dirty now–going to take a shower.

    • Paul Lee | April 17, 2016 at 1:23 pm |

      I know it’s just warm ups, but Kobe wears Adidas warm-up t-shirts, jerseys and jackets, does he not? Ditto for ASG unis. Also, non-KIA spokespersons wore the KIA patch during the ASG, assuming any of them sponsored cars.

    • KC | April 17, 2016 at 4:13 pm |

      I hope the Nuggets get a weed dispensary.

    • KC | April 17, 2016 at 4:13 pm |

      I’m rooting for the Nuggets to get a weed dispensary sponsor.

  • PT | April 17, 2016 at 11:10 am |

    NoDak switched to Adidas a couple years ago so I can almost bet grey pants and jersey will be soon to follow. Which I hope is not true….grey has definitely never been worn in school history, with exception to softball and baseball (RIP).

  • tenz | April 17, 2016 at 11:14 am |

    Here’s another vote for the Athletics to return to their vested uniforms of the 1960s that included the memorable yellow version. By far my personal favorite A’s uniform of the KC / Oakland era.

  • Another Josh | April 17, 2016 at 11:28 am |

    So hypothetically, say the Diamondbacks said “Oops, these uniforms were a mistake, we’re going to revive an old design.”

    What would be the steps involved and how feasible would that be to do midseason?

  • ThresherK | April 17, 2016 at 11:29 am |

    Call me a heretic, but I don’t mind the racing stripes on the Mets.

    And, rooting interest uncovered, I loved them for the Expos, who (in that era) never had pinstripes, and I think added the racing stripes in 1980 or 1981, before the Mets.

    • DJ | April 17, 2016 at 11:48 am |

      The racing stripes worked for the Expos; it was a very contemporary design for a unique city. I’d often heard that Montréal was the most “European” city on the continent (rivaled, of course, by Québec City), so it seemed right that they would have a more cutting-edge look.

      Modern uniform construction, whether it’s the underarm mesh panels, or the FlexBase side panels, make that look all but impossible. I suspect if the Expos ever return to the big leagues, they’d go back to the original 1969 look as a starting point.

      • Steve D | April 17, 2016 at 12:26 pm |

        I hope they would go back to the 1969 look, but my gut says they would go back to their last look. Check out the logo of the group trying to bring baseball back:

        http://montrealbaseballproject.com/en/about/

        • DJ | April 17, 2016 at 12:35 pm |

          It’s more familiar to the young, but…would you really want to go with the look they wore when they were forced to play “home” games in San Juan, and when they were at home, playing in front of only their friends and neighbors?

        • ThresherK | April 17, 2016 at 8:27 pm |

          Actually, I follow that FB group! (Big surprise for those who know me.)

  • Noah Wolf | April 17, 2016 at 11:50 am |

    Small error/redundancy: “For a brief period before the ‘BFBS’ sake would take root”

    “Black for black’s sake” sake

    • Phil Hecken | April 17, 2016 at 11:52 am |

      Yeah. That’s like saying ATM machine.

      Will fix.

  • brinke | April 17, 2016 at 12:01 pm |

    Tellin’ ya. Alternate helmets for NFL- just a matter of time.

    Additional revenue stream.

    • The Jeff | April 17, 2016 at 12:07 pm |

      I’m perfectly OK with that. The Jets, for example, would look so much better going white-green-white at home and green-white-green on the road.

  • Jay | April 17, 2016 at 12:15 pm |

    The Rapids changed their Twitter avatar to their old logo to celebrate their 20th anniversary. They made the switch on the actual anniversary, I assume they’ll change back to their actual logo at some point fairly soon.

  • Joe F. | April 17, 2016 at 12:20 pm |

    original MLS teams are celebrating 20 years in MLS and have been sporting their original colors and team names in various different promotions. You can see on the Rapids Twitter it has #Rapids96

  • Rob S. | April 17, 2016 at 12:41 pm |

    Lions in black for Color Rash?

    This is my reaction.

  • Josh | April 17, 2016 at 1:10 pm |

    Long time soccer fan here, although it’s waned over the last few years. I’ve been a part of the Arsenal FC community since the late-90s and shirt sponsorship definitely affects the purchasing thoughts among fans.

    For example, many Arsenal fans wouldn’t dare buy a Samsung product due to their sponsorship of Chelsea FC. Conversely, JVC being a former Arsenal sponsor holds sway when shopping for a new TV.

    In regards to the NBA jerseys, I’ve heard rumors/hearsay/rumblings that the versions for sale to the fans won’t have the ads. Although I generally don’t buy jerseys any more, I’m curious to see how this plays out.

    • Paul Lee | April 17, 2016 at 1:34 pm |

      So will true Arsenal fans really would sell or not buy Samsungs or be forced to buy (by themselves) iPhones, LGs, HTCs or Sonys? I wonder if this hypothetical situation will play out in your mind: suppose Samsung sponsored both Arsenal and Chelsea like how BBVA (and Quilmes beer in the past) sponsors both River Plate and Boca Juniors. Would a fan, 1) use a Samsung phone because their team wears the logo, 2) not use a Samsung phone because their opponent wears the logo?

      • Josh | April 17, 2016 at 1:42 pm |

        The iPhone is an easy buy as Apple doesn’t have any sport sponsorships. Other brands (like Sony) are generally more benign. The love/hate feeling of sponsors is based more on the rivalry between teams.

        If a company is the shirt sponsor for Man United, Tottenham, or Chelsea, you better believe it will affect the spending of Arsenal fans, and vice versa.

        I’d honestly be surprised if the same company sponsored rival teams in the English Premier League. It’s happened in Scotland with Celtic and Rangers, but that was a unique situation.

  • Sam T. | April 17, 2016 at 1:48 pm |

    What is the difference between BFBS vs adding black as an official color? Would this also apply to other colors if a team chose to change it’s color scheme?

  • Steve D | April 17, 2016 at 2:00 pm |

    Pirate announcer Bob Walk on the bumblebee throwbacks…said the different pants were made by different manufacturers and all felt different. He joined Pirates slightly after that era.

    • Matthew Toy | April 17, 2016 at 3:24 pm |

      They really screwed up the caps though. The “P” didn’t overlap the stripes. It fit within them. And they sag like caps that have been through the washer too many times. I never liked those caps anyway. They remind me more of the lousy mid 80s Pirates than the 79 Pirates.

  • Alexander Dewitt | April 17, 2016 at 4:20 pm |

    Hey as for the Jordan things with McD could always watch the Epic Rap Battle of History of Jordan vs Ali

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N_uOtAkEf6U

  • ThePonchat | April 17, 2016 at 4:23 pm |

    Soccer fan here.

    The shirt sponsor doesn’t have much of an affect on my purchases. But, if I know a company is a sponsor/advertiser at the stadium, for a league, for youth soccer, etc. then I am more likely to buy their products.

    Of course, it depends on what I need and the exact price differential. But, definitely do purchase products based on the company and who they choose to “invest” in. No sport has succeeded without major investment by these companies.

  • Derek | April 17, 2016 at 7:22 pm |

    Dodgers ballgirl also has the 3D printed “LA” on a double-flapped, minor league (Rawlings S100) helmet.

  • DarkAudit | April 17, 2016 at 9:29 pm |

    Charlie O. is dead. Let what he hath wrought die too. I’d ditch the ‘s, the green and gold, and Oakland itself. Not necessarily in that order.

  • Derek | April 17, 2016 at 9:52 pm |

    A jersey sponsor on my favorite team wouldn’t make me any more or less likely to buy a product, but it *could* make me less likely to buy a jersey. For instance, if I were a Seattle soccer fan, I wouldn’t be buying a jersey with “XBOX” or “Microsoft” on the front of it. In soccer you see teams with pyramid scheme sponsors(Herbalife etc) or companies from places with less than good human rights records(Etihad, Fly Emirates and so on). Stuff like that would definitely hurt jersey sales when it comes to the NBA and also create media controversy and all that.

  • Bromotrifluoromethane | April 17, 2016 at 10:38 pm |

    Once again I’ll be in the minority. I always hated the Mets racing stripes. Then again I liked the addition of the black and always considered 1994 as my favorite Mets look. I liked the fishtail script but it looked better with a front number on the road in 94. Give me the 94 look with the addition of the black trim and a blue and a black alternate in that style and it would be lovely!!
    I also HATED the Pirates today. As a Pirates fan who is old enough to have seen these abominations when they were the current set it was brutal to watch. Just a terrible look back then and an even worse look now considering how great their home, road, and alt set is. The bumblebees just look slow and clunky and came off looking dreadful on FSN-P. The new Pirates broadcaster isn’t helping any either. At least the mustard is gone.

    *Just my opinion, I know 0% of you you will agree with me on either point.

    • Bromotrifluoromethane | April 17, 2016 at 10:44 pm |

      And just to be clear here. I still have one of these bumblebee things in my closet or in a box in my attic. I wore it as a kid. It needs to stay buried in the past.

  • Rick Roosa | April 17, 2016 at 10:48 pm |

    Those Mets henleys were HORRIFIC

  • Matt | April 18, 2016 at 2:04 pm |

    Penn State had Nittany Lions on their helmets last year.

  • John I | April 18, 2016 at 5:09 pm |

    People are getting confused about this Jordan Brand/ Hornets deal, including the article that cites the original tweet. Going just by the tweet, Jordan Brand is NOT going to be a jersey sponsor– if they were, that would mean both a Nike logo, which apparently will be allowed on the game jerseys under the new deal, and a Jumpman logo on the jerseys.
    What is happening is the Jumpman will be where the Nike logo normally would be on all the other teams’ jerseys as a jersey maker, just like Jordan Brand is the mark on North Carolina’s uniforms.

  • kb10075756 | April 21, 2016 at 8:55 am |

    All MLS teams went throwback a couple weeks ago for the anniversary of the first MLS game, but it is strange that they have not switched it back yet.