A pickup truck carrying a couple of young guys from a neighborhood softball team broke down on our street today. Eying their blue and orange uniforms, my wife asked, “Who are these guys, the New York Mets?”
If my wife, who pays attention to baseball only by virtue of being married to an all-in fan, recognizes the Mets’ colors, they must be something special. And that leads me to the original New York Metropolitans’ cap, with its orange-filigree NY set against a field bluer than the East River’s wildest dreams of paradise.
It’s a beauty. The colors are complementary, as perfectly matched on the color wheel as second base is to home plate on the diamond.
I like the new generation Mets cap with a bolder NY and black brim, but the original — evoking distant memories of its National League predecessors, the New York Giants — is unbeatable.
I’m old enough — and fortunate enough — to have experienced the Mets’ “amazin'” victory in the 1969 World Series. I listened to a number of those games on my transistor radio while walking home from school, and, as an American League devotee, I was actually rooting for the Baltimore Orioles.
But when Seaver and Kranepool and Clendenon and Agee and all the other Amazins won it all, I caved and celebrated. To this day, I remember Ron Swoboda’s catch of a Brooks Robinson liner — which I saw live on TV — as the greatest catch I’ve ever seen.
So I tip my cap to the Amazing Mets. While the team and its fans may have suffered ignominiously for so many years, that team has given us some of the most exceptional memories in baseball history. And their classic cap is part of the lore.