09 June 2014

the mets' william shea memorial

following the loss of the giants and dodgers, the mayor of new york asked attorney william shea to lead a group whose purpose was to bring national league baseball back to the city.  he explored luring an existing franchise to make the move and looked into expansion.  neither option seemed to go anywhere, so he joined with branch rickey to form the continental league in 1959.  major league baseball must have seen this new league as a threat and consented to expansion for the 1961 and 1962 seasons.

one of the new franchises in 1962 was the new york metropolitans, and two years after their debut, the mets were playing in their new stadium, named for the man who helped make the franchise a reality.  shea died in october of 1991 at the age of 84, and the mets decided to wear a memorial patch in his honor the following season.

you can see the 's' patch on the left sleeve of eddie murray's jersey on this multiple exposure 1992 upper deck card commemorating murray's 400th career home run
it's also visible on jeff kent's 1993 leaf card
dick schofield's 1993 topps card
and the front
and back
of todd hundley's 1993 upper deck card

the card that represents the memorial in my collection is this 1992 o-pee-chee premier howard johnson card
love the turtleneck.

this memorial is one of those relatively rare cases in which the honoree was neither a player nor an employee of the team (nor a relative of a high ranking employee).  shea was just a guy who helped bring the national league back to new york.  the team has also honored him by adding his name to the retired numbers display, as well as by naming the pedestrian bridge at citi field after him.  i guess it's the least they could do after leaving the stadium that bore his name.

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