The Mets began as a franchise in the Continental League proposed by Branch Rickey. When the major leagues absorbed this potential rival, as they had so many others, by selling ML franchise rights to some of its sounder backers, the gap that had been left in New York City by the departure of the Dodgers and Giants after 1957 was filled by the expansion Mets. Chief owner Joan Payson, a millionaire, had been a Giants fan, and her team consciously played to the nostalgia of veteran fans. Before their first season, the Mets hired Casey Stengel and George Weiss, both recently let go by the Yankees, as manager and general manager. Gil Hodges, Don Zimmer, Gus Bell, Roger Craig, Clem Labine, Richie Ashburn, Frank Thomas, Gene Woodling, Duke Snider, Jimmy Piersall, Roy McMillan, Yogi Berra, Warren Spahn, and Joe Pignatano, all local favorites or former stars who would be remembered, played for the Mets in their first four seasons. (Johnny Antonelli and Billy Loes were purchased, but decided they would rather retire than play for the ragtag team.) The tactic was a bigger success as a promotional device than as a plan to win ballgames. The Mets, playing at the old Polo Grounds, went 40-120 in their first year, the worst record in the 20th century. But the fans, referred to as the "New Breed," were in the mold of the old Brooklyn Dodger fans, taking their team to heart as much for its faults as for its virtues, and in their enthusiasm introduced banners at the ballpark. At first, the painted bedsheets were quickly confiscated by park security, but local sportswriters pressured George Weiss, whose dignified Yankee sensibilities were offended by such unserious behavior, into allowing this new splash of color to thrive. The Mets became the first club to have an official Banner Day promotion.
About The Mets Logo
The circular Mets logo, designed by sports cartoonist Ray Gatto and unveiled on November 16, 1961, has gone virtually unchanged throughout the history of the club. The shape of the insignia, with its orange stitching, represents a baseball, and the bridge in the foreground symbolizes that the Mets, in bringing back the National League to New York, represent all five boroughs.
It's not just a skyline in the background, but has special meaning. At the left is a church spire, symbolic of Brooklyn, the borough of churches. The second building from the left is the Williamsburg Savings Bank, the tallest building in Brooklyn. Next is the Woolworth Building. After a general skyline view of midtown comes the Empire State Building. At the far right is the United Nations Building.
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