On this date in 1963, the official anthem of the New York Mets was born. That’s right, I’m talking about our beloved jingle, “Meet the Mets.”
Here we are 55 years later, and “Meet the Mets” continues to bask in its amazing popularity, sounding as fresh and peppy as ever before. I wish I could age that well… 🙂
As the story goes, Mets owner Joan Payson wanted a theme song to help market her new team so she held a contest, and “Meet the Mets” beat out the other 18 submissions.
Song writer Ruth Roberts, working with her longtime collaborator Bill Katz, wrote the cheerful song before the Mets even played their first game in 1962. But it wasn’t officially released until a year later when it made its debut on the Mets radio home at the time, WABC.
The original version was performed by the Glenn Osser Orchestra and Mets fans were able to purchase a 45 rpm record at the Polo Grounds for a dollar.
Ruth Roberts passed away in 2011 and the Mets honored her with a weekend-long tribute at Citi Field. Her brother Sam was there and he explained why the song has endured so long.
“It’s a feel-good song,” Roberts said. “The Mets in 1962 were the worst team ever; they had 120 losses. They really had to develop a fan base, and they were playing in an ancient, decrepit ballpark in the Polo Grounds. They wanted to instill a new spirit in the Mets, which were still a terrible team in 1963. So they released the song and it became iconic. It’s really remarkable that it has lasted this long.”
“Meet the Mets” did see it’s share of variations over the years. Jane Jarvis, Shea Stadium’s original organist, recorded her own version of the song and played it before every home game during her 16-year tenure with the team. Jane passed away in 2010.
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.”
This souped up version did not resonate with the fans who still preferred the vintage version, and eventually the tweaked jingle simply disappeared.
Former Mets VP Dave Howard had a simple explanation for the song’s enduring popularity with Met fans. “We embrace it as we embrace Mr. Met,” he said. “It’s memorable. It’s easy to learn the words.”
As far as baseball team songs go, I don’t think any have ever been as popular as “Meet the Mets,” which has stood the test of time and can still be heard at the ballpark, during radio broadcasts, and all over the Mets blogosphere.
Now go ahead and have a listen… You know you want to…. And don’t forget to sing-along!