In-depth: New jersey, blue horizon

Debby Wong/US Presswire

The Mets, including Ryota Igarashi, wore blue "Los Mets" jerseys on Fiesta Latina night Aug. 5. The look -- minus the "Los" -- should be part of the Mets' regular uniform rotation come 2013.

The New York Mets will reach back to their beginnings for a new -- or, more precisely, old -- uniform look in 2012. Then, a season after that, a popular blue uniform should make regular appearances at Citi Field.

The blue jerseys the Mets donned on “Fiesta Latina” night during the last homestand likely will be worn on a limited basis next season and very likely will become part of the team’s regular rotation in 2013, said Dave Howard, the team’s executive VP for business operations.

Howard also revealed, without elaborating, that next year’s regular home uniforms will be modified to coincide with the organization celebrating its 50th anniversary.

“We are planning on actually doing some modifications to our uniform palette for next year as part of our 50th anniversary celebration,” Howard said. “That’s something we’ll announce, I think, after the season. The plan is to unveil it in November.”

Getty Images

Gil Hodges wears the Mets' original home uniform during spring training in March 1962.

A source subsequently told ESPNNewYork.com that significant elements of the original 1962 uniform (see the Gil Hodges photo on the right) will be incorporated in 2012.

The Mets wore the original ’62 uniform design until 1973. The team’s media guide offers this description: “The jersey was white with blue pinstripes and ‘Mets’ in script across the chest on an upward slant, which was based on the Brooklyn Dodgers uniform.”

It is not clear whether next season’s revisions will extend to the road uniforms, but the description of the 1962 away uniform reads: “The words ‘New York’ in all capital letters with orange piping were used. The home pinstripe base was replaced by a solid gray color. The Mets’ skyline logo appeared on the left sleeve, and the same royal blue cap was used for both home and road uniforms.”

As for the blue jerseys, the Mets essentially used the “Fiesta Latina” celebration to test fan reaction to the look. In the past, the organization had simply slapped a “Los” in front of the “Mets” on the standard uniform without otherwise tinkering with the jersey.

“We did receive quite a bit of feedback, almost all of it anecdotal, but fairly extensive and fairly uniformly positive about the blue jersey,” Howard said. “It’s something we wanted to try. We had been discussing it internally. And we had been hearing from fans -- and observing on blogs and things like that -- of people having a view that they’d like to see more of the blue and orange. So with the “Los Mets” jersey, obviously it’s something you wear for one day for a promotion. And we thought it would be a good opportunity to try out this particular design. And it was very well received.”

Major League Baseball guidelines prohibit at this stage the blue from becoming an official part of the Mets’ collection in 2012, but it still could be used on special days next season.

“I could see using a Mets version for several special dates next year,” Howard said.

As for why blue cannot be part of the official uniform collection next season, Howard explained: “The timing of uniform changes, you actually have to give Major League Baseball notice in March, and then you have to finalize your plans by May, for the following season. So the blue jersey is not something at this point that we’re able to make part of our regular, licensed, official on-field jerseys (in 2012). But we do have the opportunity to wear it on certain occasions, limited times. And we will, more than likely, do that next year with a view toward perhaps introducing it as an official alternate jersey for 2013.”

That does not necessarily mean a retirement of the black jerseys. Teams can have multiple official alternates.

“You wouldn’t be limited. It’s something where we could potentially wear both. I’m not saying what we would decide to do, but we could use both,” Howard said. “The black jersey still is popular at retail, so people are still buying it. It’s still something fans do purchase and do wear. It’s a jersey that we introduced in the ’90s. We did wear it extensively in ’99 and 2000. We won the National League championship, I believe, in 2000 in that jersey. So at this point it does have some historical significance. And, you know, mostly right now we’re just wearing it on the road. We really haven’t worn it much at home.”

“In-depth” appears Tuesdays during the regular season