Today in 1961, less than six months before the fledgling franchise's first game, the New York Mets unveiled the logo that would adorn their uniforms, letterhead, and other official team paraphernalia. Designed by cartoonist Ray Gatto and packed with as much symbolism as a hand-drawn baseball can hold, the crest has undergone a few minor tweaks over the years, but looks mostly the same as it did when introduced 51 years ago. For the record, the buildings of note depicted in the condensed skyline are, from left to right, an anonymous steeple to represent Brooklyn (the borough of churches) the Williamsburgh Savings Bank (the tallest structure in said borough), the Woolworth Building, the Empire State skyscraper, and finally, at far right, UN headquarters. As for the color scheme, the blue, orange, and white palette was chosen because it combines the dominant hues used by the dearly departed Dodgers and Giants, and because they also happen to correspond with the tones found on the City of New York flag.
- The entire big league career of Leon Brown, 63 today, consists of 74 plate appearance with the 1976 Mets. In his first MLB at-bat, Brown smacked a pinch hit, ninth inning double to temporarily give the Mets hope in what wound up being a 2-1 loss to the Phils. He'd crack two more two-baggers before slipping back down to the Triple-A ranks for good.
- Catcher Harry Chiti would have been 80 today. Legend has it that the Mets acquired the backstop from Cleveland in April 1962 for a player to be named later and two months later they completed the deal by sending Chiti back to the Tribe. In truth, GM George Weiss purchased Chiti's contract, then cut him after he put up a .195/.233/.220 line in 15 games. The Indians, seeking catching depth, swooped in and resigned their erstwhile receiver.
- Mark Corey is 38. The reliever, who pitched for the Mets from 2001 to 2002, is probably best known for having a seizure after roasting a bone with Tony Tarasco in the Shea Stadium parking lot. in Corey's defense, being high was probably the only way to enjoy being on the 2002 Mets.
- In 1985, at the tender age 20, Dwight Gooden had what is simply the best single-season performance in Mets history: a 24-4 record, the second lowest ERA of the live ball era at 1.53, a team record 11.9 rWAR. The gaudiness of the numbers alone should have been a tip off that all of it was unsustainable, and of course it was for a variety of reasons. Today, the former phenom is 48 and two years into a five year probation for a DWI charge incurred in 2010. That Doc is presumably clean, obeying the terms of his sentence, and hopefully on the road to finding some sort of peace from whatever drives him toward riskier behavior is the best birthday gift he, and we as Mets fans, can hope for.
- Don Hahn, a glove-first-and-only outfielder for the Mets from 1971 to 1974, is 64. Never much with the bat (an 73 OPS+ over 902 plate appearances in orange and blue), Hahn does have the distinction of hitting the first inside the park homer at Veterans Stadium history, placing one just right against off of the Phillies' Woody Fryman on September 5, 1971.
General manager Frank Cashen brought a little bit of the magic back to the Mets organization on this date in 1980, signing 18-year old Kevin Mitchell out of San Diego's Clairemont High School as an amateur free agent. World, as he was nicknamed by Gary Carter for his ability to play anywhere on the diamond, didn't reach his full, MVP-level potential as Met, though (allegedly) holding birthday boy Doc Gooden hostage during an (alleged) cat decapitation may have been one reason for that.
Amazin'-ly Tenuous Connection
Seventy-four years ago today, while experimenting with squill (a medicinal plant) and ergot (a fungus) biochemist Albert Hoffmann unwittingly synthesized lysergic acid diethylamide, better known as LSD. Two decades later, the drug leached into the American subculture due to the advocacy of Dr. Timothy Leary, not be confused with right hander Tim Leary who tuned in, turned on, and dropped curveballs from the Shea Stadium mound between 1981 to 1984.