Ruth Roberts,who is best known for writing the enduring Mets anthem “Meet The Mets”, passed away before the weekend of lung cancer according to her brother, Sam Roberts.
The accomplished song-writer was 84 and died Thursday night at her home in Rye Brook, N.Y. She was honored at Citi Field over the weekend. (See photo from Marianne O’Leary)
Joshua Robinson of the Wall Street Journal, had a nice tribute article dedicated to Roberts that is well worth reading.
Several months before kicking off their inaugural season, the Mets decided to place their branding in the hands of New Yorkers. They ran a contest for a logo and also put out a call for a theme song.
Roberts’s entry was one of 19 songs they considered. (the team also paid a New York cartoonist $1,000 for a logo design that showed the Manhattan skyline set inside a baseball with cursive letters—a logo that the team still uses.)
After some edits were made by the Mets’ general manager, the song was finally released to the public in the spring of 1963. The original version was performed by the Glenn Osser Orchestra. It was played on the radio and inside the Polo Grounds in a bid to generate buzz for a team that had just lost 120 games.
For the fans who could not get enough of it, the Mets sold 45-rpm records of “Meet the Mets” for $1 as a souvenir of the Polo Grounds, the Mets’ home during their first two seasons of existence. One side of the disc featured the classic version with vocals while the other had an instrumental rendition.
As far as baseball team songs go, I don’t think any were ever as popular as “Meet the Mets” which has stood the test of time and can still be heard at the park occasionally, during radio broadcasts and all over the Mets blogosphere.
In 1984, the Mets attempted to modernize the original lyrics and replaced the lyrics “Bring your kiddies, bring your wife / Guaranteed to have the time of your life,” with, “Hot dogs, green grass all out at Shea / Guaranteed to have a heck of a day.” It didn’t resonate with the fans who still preferred the vintage version, and eventually the tweaked version simply disappeared.
Dave Howard, the executive vice president for business, explains why Mets fans all over still love the song today.
“We embrace it as we embrace Mr. Met,” he said. “It’s memorable. It’s easy to learn the words.”
Our condolences to the Roberts family on Ruth’s passing.