Welcome to another edition of the Stache’s Throwback Thursday posts where we take a look back in Mets history for something interesting to post on a Thursday.
For today, we look back to one of the pivotal dates in the history of the Mets franchise. It was today 53 years ago that the New York Mets were officially named…the New York Mets.
The Dodgers and Giants had moved out west after the 1957 baseball season and had left New York with the Yankees as the only team in town.
Most cities in America when baseball first began had both a National League and an American League team but during the 1950’s that began to change dramatically.
Philadelphia lost the Athletics to Kansas City, Boston lost the Braves to Milwaukee, St. Louis lost the Browns to Baltimore and of course New York lost the Giants to San Francisco and Dodgers to Los Angeles.
By the time the 1958 season started, only the city of Chicago was left with two teams in the same city as the Cubs and White Sox still called the second city home. (Although for a time the White Sox were a threat to move in the future)
Eventually William A. Shea, after threatening to start the brand new Continental League as a challenger to Major League Baseball, helped bring National League Baseball back to New York.
It was today, May 8th, 53 years ago in 1961 that the new team in New York would get it’s name.
At the Savoy Hilton Hotel in New York City, the name of New York’s new expansion team in the National League was made official. Joan Payson, the majority owner of the team, christened it as the New York Mets “by breaking a champagne bottle with a baseball bat.”
The name, short for Metropolitans, was chosen by the public, although Mrs. Payson’s personal preference was the “Meadowlarks”, and out of 9,613 suggestions, 644 names were selected and then reduced to ten, the other nine choices being Avengers, Bees, Burros, Continentals, Jets, NYBs, Rebels, Skyliners and Skyscrapers.
Of the ten names that were eventually chosen as finalists I believe in the end the franchise ended up with a very good name.
The Jets would be taken by the AFL’s New York Titans when they were bought by Sonny Werblin and moved to Shea Stadium in 1964.
The Bees are now the name of the Angels minor league team in Salt Lake City and the other names, while interesting just didn’t seem like the name needed for a baseball club.
Also lets just thank our lucky stars that Mrs. Payson did not get her wish and have the team called the Meadowlarks. I think that name worked much better for the man by that name who played for the Harlem Globetrotters, Meadowlark Lemon
Of course with the way the team is playing now, maybe Burros, which is Spanish for Donkey and can also be translated into another name, would have been perfect.
But I digress, it was today 53 years ago our beloved New York Mets got their name and the rest, as they say, is history.
So congratulations Mets on being called the Mets.