Meet the Mets/Meet the Mets/Step right up and greet the Mets/Bring your kiddies, bring your wife/Guaranteed to have the time of your life because the Mets are really sockin' the ball; knocking those home runs over the wall!
The song is slightly older than the team it's written about, with opening lyrics more memorable than most of the players who have worn the team's uniform.
"Meet the Mets" isn't just the team's fight song; it is a catchy, chipper, enduring link that has connected the New York Mets and their fans from their beginnings at the Polo Grounds through four decades at Shea Stadium to today's World Series team.
Ruth Roberts penned the peppy jingle in 1961, before the Mets even played their first game in 1962. She wrote the music and co-wrote the lyrics with her longtime collaborator, Bill Katz. As the story goes, the song beat out 18 other entries in a contest to be the team's official song. In another version of the story, however, the Mets held a contest but also discreetly went directly to Roberts, who was an established songwriter and had gained notoriety for other sports songs. Her credits include "Mr. Touchdown U.S.A.," which was released in 1951, and "I Love Mickey," which was recorded by in 1956 by Teresa Brewer and Mickey Mantle. Roberts also penned "It's a Beautiful Day for a Ball Game," which was written in 1960 and became the theme for the Los Angeles Dodgers when they opened Dodger Stadium in 1962.
"We found out later that the PR people for the Mets actually contacted Ruth and commissioned her to write the song, but she still entered it into the contest," said Sandra Piller, Roberts' daughter-in-law and a professional singer. "So I guess both stories are true -- she got commissioned to write the song, but she also entered the contest and won."
Piller was married to Roberts' only child, Michael Piller, one of the creative forces behind the "Star Trek" television franchise. Michael died in 2005, but Piller has kept Roberts' legacy alive by performing her songs in a touring cabaret show. Piller has concerts scheduled in New York this week, and Saturday's show, appropriately enough, is at the Metropolitan Room.
"When we were planning this show in New York, we had no idea what the Mets were going to do," Piller said. "She loved the Mets and is such a big part of their history, so to be in New York to honor her this week is very fitting."
Roberts, who died in 2011 at 84, wrote songs that were performed by The Beatles, Vic Damone, Jimmy Dean, Buddy Holly and Dean Martin, but none of her work has stood the test of time the way "Meet the Mets" has.
"I think it surprised her that the song lasted that long," said Sam Roberts, her brother, who worked for CBS News for 32 years. "I think she thought it would last a year, maybe two."
With the Mets in the World Series for the first time since 2000 and attempting to win it all for the first time since 1986, Sam Roberts said he is beginning to hear his sister's song now more than ever.
"My friends were writing me on Facebook telling me about the congressman that lost a bet and had to sing the song on the House floor," he said. "And then Billy Joel played it at Madison Square Garden during his concert over the weekend. It's really something. Not only has it lasted in longevity, but think of all the music genres it has outlasted. This is strictly a 1961 arrangement, and even then it was old fashioned. It has endured through it all and is still beloved."
Over the years the song has been sung on such TV shows as "Seinfeld," "Everybody Loves Raymond" and "Mad Men." On Tuesday morning, Mr. Met even led a group of performers and workers from the Metropolitan Opera in a rendition of the song before Game 1 of the World Series.
"It's a feel-good song," Sam 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."