Mets Honor Past Organization Members With Old-Timers Day

The Mets assembled over 60 years of history at Citi Field for Old Timer’s Day, and it couldn’t have gone better.


Mets royalty gathered at Citi Field to celebrate over 60 years of history. (Courtesy of Twitter)

On Aug. 27, the New York Mets hosted an “Old-Timers’ Game” for the first time in almost three decades. The Mets were established as a franchise in 1962, and members of the organization from every era over the last 60 years were present at Citi Field. 65 past players and managers reunited for the day, with some of them even competing against each other in a friendly three-inning game of baseball. The reinstatement of Old-Timers’ Day is one facet of a major culture change happening for the Mets. The team was recently acquired by Steve Cohen, who has been active in his efforts to not only create a winning team but also improve the passion among the fans and inside the clubhouse. Cohen certainly understands that a World Series caliber team goes deeper than just what is seen on the field.

The lineup of players varied from members of the very first team in 1962 to more familiar faces from recent years. The large difference in age did not seem to have an affect on the players. 85-year-old Jay Hook, the first Mets pitcher to record a win in franchise history, could be seen hanging around with Daniel Murphy, a player who has not even been out of the league for five years yet. Several members of the 1986 World Series team were present; including Keith Hernandez, Ron Darling, Mookie Wilson, Ray Knight and Tim Tuffle. The Mets also welcomed back Mike Piazza, one of the best catchers in, not just Met history, but league history. Jose Reyes, not necessarily an old timer but surely a fan-favorite, was also present at the game. The Met player who got possibly the most applause and cheers was Bartolo Colon, a pitcher for the team from 2014 to 2016. Although Colon is not currently signed to any team, he seemed to still be in playing condition while back on the mound. He was not alone, with many of the old-timers able to field and hit relatively well. The game was all in good fun though, with dropped balls or inaccurate throws greeted with chuckles all around. 

After the past players and managers were introduced, a surprise announcement was made that the Mets would be retiring the number 24 in honor of Willie Mays. Although Mays only played for the Mets for two seasons, his time with the New York Giants made an impact on New York sports in general. The first owner of the Mets, Joan Payson, reportedly promised Mays that she would retire his number for the organization. Unfortunately, Payson passed away before she was able to make it happen and it has stayed unretired ever since. Mays will now become the seventh Met to have his number retired by the team. This is another change for the club since Cohen took over the reins. Traditionally, the Mets have reserved number retirements for past players or managers who have been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Cohen has loosened this unofficial requirement, most recently retiring the number 17 in honor of Keith Hernandez.

After the “Old-Timers’ Game,” the current Mets took the field to play the Colorado Rockies. The Mets won 3-0 behind strong hitting from Brandon Nimmo and Mark Canha. Currently, the Mets are leading the NL East. They can’t get too comfortable though, with the Atlanta Braves right on their tail. With the ultimate goal of a World Series Championship in mind, it is a good move for the Mets to host events such as Old-Timers’ Day. A team cannot win without a winning culture, something which the Mets are beginning to cultivate.