Fortunately, Mets announcers Gary Cohen and Keith Hernandez provided an extended session of uni-related banter yesterday, and it was almost pink-free. Their discussion was prompted by the fact that the teamâ€™s local broadcast affiliate has been running an internet poll to let fans vote on the Metsâ€™ all-time best uniform. Good poll, topic, right? Or it would have been, if they hadnâ€™t limited the choices to very small sampling of the various designs the Mets have worn over the years. Anyway, the discussion was actually pretty good â€” letâ€™s listen in:
Keith Hernandez: I know what my pick would be.
Gary Cohen: What is that?
KH: I love the Metsâ€™ old road uniforms. We had to wear those darn ones with the handwriting. Remember, the â€œNew Yorkâ€ handwriting?
GC: The script.
KH: I must say, I get jealous whenever I see this team out here, the present Mets, when they go on the road and play in the old-fashioned Met uniform. I never got to play in that uniform. Theyâ€™re beautiful.
GC [who apparently either doesnâ€™t notice or doesnâ€™t care about black drop shadows]: Theyâ€™re a classic. And I like this pinstripe, the one they wear now, as opposed to the one they wore right at the beginning of the Mets, which did not have the numbers on the front. Itâ€™s always a bit disconcerting to me to see the uniforms with no number on the front. But these are perfect.
KH [as the director cues up a 1980s shot]: There we go, look at that. I mean, please.
GC [who also apparently wasnâ€™t listening to what Hernandez had said a few moments earlier]: Well, the worst ones were the ones with the script â€œNew York.â€ Remember those?
KH: Look at that Astro uniform behind, there. That was a stinker. [Helpfully telestrates the uniform in question, just in case anyone is missing the point.] Look at that â€” what a stinker that was!
GC [chuckling]: But those were their traditional ugly uniforms. I mean, you have to admit, the late â€™70s into the â€™80s was the worst-ever era for baseball uniforms. Probably for fashion in general.
KH: The Padres had a terrible uniform. But I loved the Oakland Aâ€™s uniforms, with Charlie O. Finley. Ronnie [Darling] does not, our colleague.
GC: He didnâ€™t like wearing the white shoes [when he played for the Aâ€™s late in his career]. But there was nothing worse than, say, the Chicago White Sox wearing shorts.
KH: Yes, and how about the Pirates in those bumblebee uniforms.
GC: But the Pirates had those interchangeable ones. They had the black, the gold, and the pinstripes, and theyâ€™d wear them in various combinations.
KH: They were awful, awful. Awful.
GC: Now, everybody today is wearing pink because itâ€™s Motherâ€™s Day. [Camera shows a shot of Cohen, whoâ€™s wearing a pink tie, and Hernandez, dressed in a pink shirt.] Maybe a team needs to go to an alternate pink uniform.
KH: Well, weâ€™ve got to expand to more teams. Commissioner, we need one more team, and weâ€™ll be in pink.
GC: I donâ€™t think you really want that.
KH [about to get seriously stupid]: Why?
GC [alertly heading him off]: And then, of course â€” and you were part of this, too â€” you had the powder blue road uniforms, which you wore with thâ€“
KH [interjecting]: I liked the powder blue with the Cardinals!
KH: I have my powder blue at home, as a matter of fact. I have that uniform. Um, in 1980, the year Whitey Herzog took over the team â€” Ken Boyer was fired mid-season â€” that was when â€” youâ€™re talking about the Mets not having the number on the lower side? The Cardinals that year took that number away, below the cardinal, and put it on our shoulder. [Actually, that was made a year earlier, in 1979, which youâ€™d think Hernandez would remember â€” itâ€™s the year he won the MVP award.] And the fans didnâ€™t like it at all, so they went back to the traditional Cardinal uniform. Actually, the Cardinals â€” I think it was in the â€™40s â€” one year they went to a uniform without the bird on the bat. [1956, actually.] And the fans went through the roof! And they came back the next year with the birds on the bat, which I think is just a classic uniform. As a minor leaguer coming up in the Cardinals organization, you were taught to have great pride in those two birds perched on the bat.
GC: Did they have names?
GC: Donâ€™t you think they should, after all these years?
KH: Dizzy and Daffy?
GC: Thatâ€™d be perfect. Gus and Gussie.
And then the discussion turned to, you know, things that were actually taking place on the field. All in all, not a bad discussion, and I give Hernandez credit for knowing that the Cards went birds/bat-less for one season. Whatâ€™s more troubling is that nobody connected with the Mets â€” nobody â€” ever acknowledges the evil of the black drop shadows. The road and pinstripe uniforms are routinely referred to as â€œclassic,â€ when in fact theyâ€™re bastardized versions of the originals. Pfeh.