Mets fans and the black jerseys: A Valentine's Day love story

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Danny Abriano
·4 min read
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Pete Alonso, David Wright, and Mike Piazza black jerseys TREATED ART
Pete Alonso, David Wright, and Mike Piazza black jerseys TREATED ART

Could the Mets be back in black in 2021?

For many fans who grew up in the era of the black jerseys and caps, those uniforms bring on nostalgia and visions of stars from the past.

Some fans who are traditionalists can do without them, so we'll call this a mostly love/partial hate relationship.

But if you red the tea leaves, it seems that the threads could be making a comeback.

And that would be a thrill for Shannon (@Miss_Met).

"I've always been a fan of the black jerseys, mainly because I just like the way they look. But even more than that, they take me right back to those first few years I got into baseball and became a real Mets fan," Shannon told SNY. "Wright, Reyes, Beltran, Delgado. All of the guys who helped me fall in love with the game -- when I picture them, they're wearing black.

"There was such a swagger about those jerseys, an attitude, a demeanor. They were just cool. For the Mets to wear them again, even if only once in a while, would be a dream back to my childhood."

Mets players, including Pete Alonso, Dom Smith, Marcus Stroman, and J.D. Davis, have pushed for the team to bring back the black uniforms. And according to owner Steve Cohen, it could be in the cards.

"There's lots of discussion on these black jerseys," Cohen told SNY's Steve Gelbs during an exclusive interview earlier this offseason on Mets Hot Stove. "Seems like there are people who are fervent who want it, and then people who actually don't want it. I think it's probably more that people want it than don't want it.

"I haven't talked to the players about it. I want to make sure they would be into that. And maybe we do it on a night every once in a while or something, just to shake it up."

For Jeff DiMeglio, a fan who grew up during the Mike Piazza years, the return of the black uniforms would be special.

"The black jerseys always had a special place for me because they came out in '98 when the team really started to put it together," DiMeglio said. "Piazza was the leader and the greatest infield ever was on the field for the Mets.

"There are just so many great memories attached to them. They were wearing the black jerseys the night Bobby Valentine came back out with the mustache painted on."

The Mets wore the black jerseys and caps at home and on the road as part of their uniform rotation from 1998 to 2011, with "Mets" across the chest at home and "New York" across it on the road. There were two caps -- one all black and another that was black with a blue bill.

For this writer, it has been a love/hate/love relationship with the black uniforms. Here's why...

When the Mets debuted the black jerseys and caps in 1998 they were sharp and a refreshing change of pace. And they of course coincided with arguably the most fun Mets team in recent memory (the 1999 squad) and the 2000 team that went to the World Series.

But the inclusion of the color black in the Mets' other jerseys (an unsightly drop shadow on the classic pinstripe jersey and their road gray) and the eventual near-disappearance of the Mets' traditional blue cap from the rotation eventually made the black jerseys and caps an unwelcome sight.

With the black jerseys and caps having been out of the rotation for a decade and with the Mets' uniforms (orange, blue, and white only) now among the crispest in baseball, the return of the black jerseys and caps would be perfect -- as an alternate that is worn once in a while, and without any other jerseys or caps in the rotation being impacted.

During the 2020 season, Alonso was one of the most ardent supporters of bringing back the black uniforms, tweeting in April:

"The black unis are the dopest! No cap. It would be a mentality and attitude. The orange and blue accents are like the city lights in the night sky. So many Mets greats wore the black. My only question is: why not?"

Meanwhile, J.D. Davis and Dom Smith also voiced support for the return of the black unis during an episode of The Cookie Club on SNY.tv.

For Mets fan Amanda Childs, the black uniforms coming back would be a welcome sight.

"As a Mets fan born in the late 80s, the sleek black jerseys have a lot of nostalgia," Childs said. "Some of my all-time favorite Mets have rocked the black jerseys, and it would be fun for a new generation of Mets fans to see them worn again. Plus orange and blue really pop off of black!"

Added Childs' brother, Brett:

"For a generation of Mets fans that grew up with Mike Piazza, then David Wright and Jose Reyes, the black jerseys represent a period of excitement and energy. It feels like we're on the cusp of something similar and it would be great to see the Mets bring them back."