My first Mets game (which I do not remember one iota of) was at age three months, Fan Appreciation Day, October 1992. What I did not realize, though, was that Mr. Met was not there – according to the venerable Wikipedia (and I’m taking this one with a grain of salt), Mr. Met was retired from the mid-’70s until 1994, as part of a promotion with Nickelodeon (GUTS Baseball, to be exact).
This is pretty incredible, considering that Mr. Met is believed to be the first costumed and human mascot in 1964, coinciding with the opening of Shea Stadium (in fact, I was at his birthday party – along with about 30,000 or so other folks, not to mention a few other mascots – in 2004); considering that Mr. Met is a third-ballot Mascot Hall of Famer (class of ’07, along with Big Red of Western Kentucky University, Brutus Buckeye of Ohio State, Lil’ Red of Nebraska, and The San Antonio Spurs Coyote); and considering he’s part of the fun part of Mets baseball, part of the team’s history.
Yes, he is just a baseball-head. (He was also the first Met immortalized as a bobblehead.) But he is an incredibly memorable part of Mets baseball – wherever you go, there he is, in a sense. I can’t imagine him not being there.
While there are other vastly more important parts of Mets history – from Agee to Zimmer – Mr. Met is an ambassador, in more ways than one, of Metdom. Even the Mets’ only (National Baseball) Hall of Famer, Tom Seaver, loves him. I think he’s the only thing Mets fans can agree on.