MBTN reader Steven this week found the above image out there in space, showing the Mets’ starting rotation posing in Spring Training of 1987 with new uniforms: Not just the butt-ugly script New York road jerseys destined to be worn in 1987 and 1987 alone, but the centerpiece, Sid Fernandez, wearing No. 10 and not No. 50 that represented his home state of Hawaii and the cop show set there.
Sid’s number change was to be part of a wholesale change in Met pitcher jerseys first suggested near the end of the 1986 season by teammate Ron Darling (right). Darling, who in 1985 switched from No. 44 to No. 12, suggested that fellow starters Fernandez and Rick Aguilera (left) join him, Dwight Gooden (16) and Bob Ojeda (19) with numbers in the teens. When they arrived for Spring Training in 1987, equipment manager Charlie Samuels was ready.
Fernandez famously chickened out of the experiment on the eve of the new season, but Aguilera stayed in 15, which was famously cashiered by George Foster the previous summer. It was one of several changes for the Mets that spring as Kevin Elster moved from 2 to 21; Clint Hurdle went from the 13 he as assigned in his last Met go-around in 1985 to 7 in 1987 (Lee Mazzilli in the meantime was assigned 13); and Ed Hearn switched from 49 to 9. Hearn, like Fernandez, however, wouldn’t make it to the the start of the season in his ugly new assigned Mets jersey: He’d be traded to Kansas City for David Cone.