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Back to the Future? Mets Hint at Possible Mercury Mets Revival

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You can learn a lot by looking at MLB teams’ promotional schedules. In the past week or so, for example, we’ve learned that the Phillies and A’s will probably wear 1934 throwbacks this summer, and that the Padres are definitely adding a stadium-anniversary patch this season, even though neither of those things has been publicly announced yet.

And now it looks like the Mets just might be going back to the future by bringing back their Mercury Mets uniforms from MLB’s ill-fated 1999 “Turn Ahead the Clock” promotion.

Here’s the deal: The Mets announced their promo schedule yesterday. Here’s what they have on tap for July 27 (a Saturday night):

They didn’t provide a visual of the giveaway, but we all know what a Mercury Mets jersey looks like. And anyway, they did  provide a visual with this social media post:

Let’s shift into FAQ mode:

Just because they’re doing a giveaway, does that automatically mean they’re going to wear that uniform on-field?

No. But teams often do giveaways that correspond to throwback uniforms or other on-field promotions.

Is there anything notable about the giveaway taking place on July 27?

Yes. That date happens to be the 25th anniversary of the original Mercury Mets game. Again, that doesn’t automatically mean they’re doing something special on-field, but it sure would be appropriate on that date.

They’re playing Atlanta on July 27. Is that also who they played 25 years ago?

No, they played the Pirates. You can see some game footage in this video:

The giveaway is for a Mike Piazza jersey. How did he do in that 1999 game?

He went 0-for-4 with a strikeout. Maybe he had jet lag from the trip from Mercury.

Have the Mets ever hinted before at reviving this uniform?

Not to my knowledge. According to this 2022 article, the team had “no such plans [to wear this uni again], preferring to keep the Mercury Mets at (robotic) arm’s length.” But maybe they’ve changed their minds — or maybe it’s just a giveaway promotion with no on-field component.

Have any other MLB teams reprised their TATC uniform designs?

Yes, but not from the 1999 uniforms. As you may recall, the ’99 program was based on a one-game TATC promotion by the Mariners in 1998. They marked the 20th anniversary of that game in 2018 by playing a game in their 1998 TATC uniforms (which were different than their 1999 TATC uniform):

As a Mets fan, do you want them to do this?

I have to say, the original 1999 Mercury Mets experience — not just the game, but the build-up, the marketing, all of it — was one of the more embarrassing things I’d ever experienced as a Mets fan up to that time (although they’ve topped it a few times since then). But for better or worse, the Mercury Mets have become an indelible moment in the team’s history, so I say go ahead and have fun with it. Hell, I was hoping the whole league would go back to the future in 2021 (the year supposedly represented by the 1999 uni designs).

What do we call this kind of uniform — a throwback? A throw-ahead? BTTF (for “back to the future”)? Something else?

Since they’re both futuristic and historical, I vote for calling them time-warp uniforms. As in, “The Mets are breaking out the time-warps tonight.” BTTF could also work. But if anyone wants to suggest a better name, I’m open to it!

Update: Several readers have pointed out that the Cardinals’ promo schedule also includes a TATC jersey giveaway, on Aug. 16 (which is not the exact anniversary of their 1999 TATC game, but whaddaya gonna do). I’ve emailed team prexy Bill DeWitt to find out more — stay tuned.

Additional update: The Cardinals will not be wearing their TATC jersey on-field — it’s just a giveaway. Similarly, the Mariners are doing a TATC giveaway in April, and they tell me that there will not be a corresponding on-field component.

I still haven’t gotten anything definitive from the Mets (they tend not to respond to my inquiries), but I’ll keep trying.

(My thanks to Phil for spotting the giveaway jersey on the Mets’ promo schedule.)



ITEM! Ranking the NHL All-Star Uniforms

With the 2024 NHL All-Star Game taking place on Saturday, my Uni Watch Premium article on Substack this week is a ranking of my 10 favorite NHL All-Star uniforms.

You can read the first part of the article here. In order to read the entire thing, you’ll need to become a paid subscriber to my Substack (which will also get your full access to my Substack archives). My thanks, as always, for your consideration and support.



Mascot Watch

Former Uni Watch girl mascot Caitlin (R.I.P.) used to love to straddle the furniture. Yesterday I found current girl mascot Biscuit doing the same thing! Strange and delightful.



Can of the Day

Love that snow-capped lettering. Nicely done!

Comments (46)

    The “Turn Ahead the Clock” jerseys aren’t too far off now that City Connect is a thing.

    In truth, I’d like to see the Mets’ City Connect be some sort of homage to that jersey. What about …

    1. Sleveless pullover
    2. Silver, blue, orange (like the New York World’s Fair special trains)
    3. A big Mr. Met on the front
    4. Perhaps the script from the vintage pennants from yesteryear including the “York” without the big loops from the 1987 and 1994 road jerseys.

    So, they’re throwing back to a year when they threw ahead to a year 3 years in the past.

    Whole thing is getting too meta.

    I really want the Cardinals to do this as i would give anything for a robot Cardinal jersey. I even have a giant window sticker of them on my truck.

    To be clear: They’re doing a *giveaway* on that date (thanks for spotting that, Sean), but we don’t know if they’re doing on-field. I just sent an email to owner Bill DeWitt to ask him about this.

    OMG thanks, i haven’t looked over the schedule yet and will be booking tickets right now. I know i sent their marketing a message about it being the anniversary so hopefully that worked

    I wonder if they’re going to be able to utilize the new scoreboard to redo those images. And also a modern day MoneyGram.

    I was at the Mercury Mets game in 1999. I honestly don’t recall if there was a lot of anticipation of it, but I do recall a lot of corny space references on the scoreboard. My gut feeling is that if the Mets were to wear these on the field on July 27th, they would likely want the Braves to wear TATC as well and I don’t see the Braves agreeing to it.

    Mercury (the element) is a synonym for Quicksilver, and the symbol is common to both. Hopefully a pro team– maybe Las Vegas NBA– will adopt the Quicksilver as their identity and use a version of the insignia.

    Retro-future uniforms. Retro-futurism (have seen it with and without hyphen) is the term used for the creative arts. For music, bands such as Kraftwerk and Stereolab were/are retro-futurists.
    Here’s the Wikipedia entry, but MLB’s TATC promotion isn’t mentioned… maybe someone should edit the text.


    Looking at those side-by-side Mariners TATC uniforms:

    – Is that Griffey’s personal “Batterman” logo on his shoulder? I wonder if it was a big deal that he displayed it at the time.

    – Is the font of the “2” on Griffey’s jersey different than the “2” on the jersey on the right? And the numbers on the front of the batting helmets also seem to differ.

    I wonder if the Phillies will do anything for the 20th anniversary for Citizens Bank Park, wouldn’t mind a patch.

    I sure hope not.
    If they were closing the place down after this season, then maybe a patch would be appropriate.
    The one used for the final year at The Vet was nice enough (save the trademark symbol):
    Commemorating things like the age/newness of your ballpark, your logo, your years in one location, etc., etc… makes a team look desperate to celebrate something/anything.
    The Phillies aren’t in that category. Not yet anyway.

    Actually, with the game being on a Saturday, Paul wouldn’t have been covering the game anyway (that’s the Weekend Guy’s purview). ;)

    I was at the original TATC game (I’ve covered it on here and mentioned it several times). Can’t believe it will be 25 years ago…

    TATC: The Seattle Mariners also have it a “Turn Ahead the Clock Jersey Night” on April 26th that does include a giveaway replica jersey.

    Good spot! That is, once again, their 2018 TATC design, not the 2019 design. I’ve contacted their marketing VP to ask if they’ll be wearing the TATC uni on-field.

    My father worked for Shell Oil for nearly 50 years. His office at home had a nice collection of Shell memorabilia, replica signs, scale model oil tankers and various cans. He enjoyed the cans most of all. He’d have liked today’s Shell can.

    Very appropriate…my father retired as their chief tax officer. I remember way back when he used calculators that took up a large chunk of his desk, spit out results on paper tape, and made quite a racket. I don’t think he ever completely trusted the digital ones.

    I know I’m in the minority, but I love Turn Ahead the Clock. I know it’s ridiculous, but as a self-aware one-off, ridiculous isn’t so bad. I guess it also helps that I’m a Cards fan and they didn’t go overboard. I actually wish they did a bit more than just turn the birds into robots.

    Agreed! It’s fun for a game, to be sure. My fear is that Nike will take this around with it in all kinds of terrible directions. But if they can somehow manage to show some restraint, I love the idea of bringing these uniforms back for a game.

    Honestly, if they decided to handle the City Connect program as a joke and used the TATC jerseys to fill that spot in the 4 +1, good for the Mets for treating the City Connect program like the joke that it is.

    Update: I have now confirmed that the Cardinals and Mariners, both of whom have TATC giveaways on their promo schedules (just like the Mets do), are NOT wearing the TATC designs on-field.

    Will try to find out more from/about the Mets.

    I would imagine this is just a giveaway like the Cardinals and Mariners have been revealed to be. Honestly, as a one-off gimmick, I think it would be amusing to see any of these uniforms this year, but I can see why people would dislike it.

    They only chose the year 2021 as a douchey corporate tie-in with Century 21, which was the program’s corporate sponsor advertiser. If not for that, I’m sure they would have chosen a year further in the future.

    Hey Paul,

    Under the “Have the Mets ever hinted before at reviving this uniform?” You have changed misspelled in the answer

    My old college classmate Kris Benson was pitching for the Pirates in the 1999 game.

    I actually liked the Mariners jerseys. But, wish they would have used their team colors. Can’t believe MLB was relaxed enough to let Griffey Jr wear his cap backwards LOL

    Please no Mets! These are the only thing that would be worse than the atrocious City Connect costumes.

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