Monday, January 7, 2013

January 7- New York Mets

Kind of hard to believe that this hat is no longer worn by the New York Mets, and has been that way since the end of the 2011 season. Aside from the classic all-blue style, this hat was really the only Mets hat I really enjoyed.

From 1998-2011 it served as the Mets’ road/alternate hat, replacing the one-and-done all-white hats from the 1997 season under then coach Bobby Valentine. There isn’t a tremendous amount of history behind this hat, other than the Mets’ management’s way of switching things up a bit. The 2000 season was truly the only season of note under this cap, as the Mets faced off against their cross-town rivals, the New York Yankees; in the first ever fall classic “Subway Series.” The Mets, in classic Mets fashion, lost the series 4-1. The Mets have only the seen the postseason one other time since 2000 when they swept the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Division series, and lost 4-3 to the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Championship Series in 2006. Needless to say, from 1998-2011, the Mets haven’t had much else to celebrate other than a new stadium which opened in 2009. So with that, I decided to get a little more playful with this hat.

Mike Piazza was acquired before the All-Star break after a brief stop in Miami for five games. John Franco, on the other hand, had been tossing for the Mets since he was acquired prior to the 1990 season. Franco had pitched for the Cincinnati Reds since the 1984 season and had been rocking the #31 since midway through his rookie season. Piazza came up with the Dodgers in 1992, but didn’t start using the #31 on his jersey until the 1993 season, the year he won Rookie of the Year. With the exception of his first year, and the one year he spent with the San Diego Padres in 2006, Piazza had always worn #31. (The reason behind 2006 is because the #31 is retired, having been worn by Dave Winfield.) Much like Piazza, Franco has worn the #31 for the vast majority of his career… except for the brief period when he and Piazza played together in New York.

I found it to be a bit strange that Franco, having been in the League and with the Mets longer, gave up the number to Piazza without much issue and changed his number to 45, which he kept for all seven years they played together. So with that, I opted to do the 31 squared to represent the both of them as the jersey number switch took place the same season the hat was introduced. Quite possibly one of the more analytical markings I’ve added to a hat.

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