Skip to content

Mets Again Botch the Number Font When ‘Honoring’ a Team Great

The Mets will retire Dwight Gooden’s No. 16 on Sunday. And as you can see above, they’ve prepared for the festivities by mowing a big “16” into the outfield grass — including a big serif at the base of the “1” — for this weekend’s series against the Royals.

Just one problem: Gooden never wore a Mets uniform with a base-serifed “1.” In fact, with the possible exception of special occasion one-offs, no Met has worn a base-serifed one since 1981, or at any time on a home uniform. (Gooden’s rookie year was 1984.)

Here’s the deal: From 1962 through 1977, the Mets’ home whites and road greys used different number fonts, because they were made by two different manufacturers. Here’s a comparison — home on the left, road on the right:

The road font was changed to match the home font in 1978. The base serifs reappeared on the road jersey for one season in 1981, then disappeared again in 1982, and the two number styles have remained consistent since then, with no use of the base serifs on the “1.”

Despite this, the Mets’ grounds crew inexplicably used the wrong font when showcasing Gooden’s number in the outfield grass. The move is reminiscent of the incorrect “4” on Tom Seaver’s statue, a story that I broke two years ago.

As a Mets fan, I find it both incredible and disgraceful that the Mets continue to botch these types of details. I hate to generalize, but they really do seem to be a franchise that can’t do anything right.

Meanwhile, the Mets plan to retire Darryl Strawberry’s No. 18 on June 1. It will be interesting to see how they handle the numerals in the outfield that time around.

(My thanks to longtime reader and fellow Mets fan Jay Braiman for bringing the outfield number to my attention, and to Steve Dodell for reminding me about the 1981 road jersey.)


Comments (16)

    Was their intent to specifically replicate the jersey number style or just to simply put a 16 on the field for him? Couldn’t the second scenario be true?

    I think this is one of those situations where it’s just as easy to get it right as to get it wrong, so why not get it right?

    Why would their intent *not* be to use the proper font? Not intending to do it is as bad as intending to do it and getting it wrong.

    It’s like saying they could mow the word “Mets” in the grass but not intend to use the actual team script.

    It could be true.

    But why? Why not replicate the number style worn by Doc? If it’s deliberate, it’s lazy. If it’s a mistake, it’s even worse.

    I’m 99.99% positive when the Mets put Doc’s #16 up in the “rafters,” it will have the correct “1” (like every other retired number) link

    So why mow the serifed 1 into the field?

    The numbers are wider than the jersey font, and the 6 also looks different. Most likely they were not trying to replicate the jersey font and just went for a font that was easier to mow into the grass. Doesn’t really bother me TBH.

    Slight correction Paul. No Met has worn a base-serifed one since 1981. That year, the road jersey used a serifed font for some reason.



    The henleys are associated wholly with the worst period in Met history. When I was a kid, I always wanted an authentic one though. I liked how the orange sleeve stripe was slightly thinner than the blue stripes on the authentic jersey. Replicas had the stripes all equal.

    Why don’t da Bears have block numbers?

    Aesthetic choice.

    Why should the Mets be any different? (It’s not like they’re wearing some kind of awful bespoke Nike font that’s illegible. Then I’d agree.)

    The font the Mets use is the standard block font that up to half MLB have used. It may have been the font that started with their 62 Spaulding home jerseys, but since then seems to be the default font from each manufacturer.

    Dwight Gooden never wore a serifed 1… with the Mets. He wore a serifed 1 with the Yankees. He even wore 2 at the same time.

    Looking forward to see what jersey will be retired on field. Will it be 1980s era Mets? Will it be the current crap show with the small name above the number? We will find out soon!

Comments are closed.