Tell the unknowing that a guy with a giant baseball head, cartoonish nose, and goofy wide smile is one of the most beloved characters in sports history and you’re bound to get a reaction of disbelief.
But such a claim holds true for Mr. Met, the long time mascot of the New York Mets.
The simple truth is that Mr. Met is sure to make you smile whether you’re a diehard Mets fan, a casual fan, follow baseball for wagering opportunities, or are just human with a charitable nature.
As an early pioneer of team mascots, the humble beginnings of the Mr. Met character date back a full decade or more before most MLB teams adopted costumed characters to amuse fans. While it’s quite expected these days to see mascots engaging with fans at the ballpark, they all owe a debt to the groundbreaking Mr. Met.
He originally existed in animated form when he graced the cover of the Mets programs, scorecards, and yearbooks during the 1963 season. Several artists, including acclaimed comic book illustrator Al Avison, contributed to the concept and design of Mr. Met.
The team moved stadiums from the Polo Grounds to Shea Stadium in 1964, an occasion enhanced by the debut of Mr. Met as a live mascot.
Mr. Met graced Mets games and promotional material until 1976, when he was phased out of appearance. Presumably, he retired and was playing golf in Florida, although this has never been confirmed.
Passionate fan appeal sparked the Mets to reintroduce Mr. Met in 1994, and he has been rightfully entertaining the masses at Shea Stadium and Citi Field ever since.
In addition to his unwavering support for the Mets (we wish we had that kind of patience!), Mr. Met is a devoted family man, often bringing his lovely wife Mrs. Met along to the games. During their early days, the couple would occasionally have their three little Mets children in tow.
While he has always worn the hat of his favorite baseball team, Mr. Met has worn many figurative hats throughout his career. Off the field, he has been a cheerleader, a fundraiser, a marketer, and even a hired wedding guest.