Smells Like Teen Spirit

Hi there.

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.

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One comment

  1. Jon Springer says:

    Submitted by Steve D (not verified) on Wed, 10/19/2011 – 9:53pm.
    Thanks for the reply…in the 1987 yearbook, the famous Bob Buchanan was wearing Sid’s 50 in the team photo. Sid’s bio and photo still had his 50 though.


    Submitted by Jon Springer on Thu, 10/20/2011 – 6:26am.
    More on this topic:

    Not the first time…

    Submitted by gored82 on Thu, 10/20/2011 – 7:28am.
    The Fernandez in no. 10 thing has been discussed before on here. Can you find it in the archives, Jon?

    I could never figure out why

    Submitted by Steve D (not verified) on Fri, 10/21/2011 – 5:53pm.
    I could never figure out why Davey had a 31 jersey…then I saw this

    So when they were looking for a jersey to hold up, they picked out Bambi’s 1983 home jersey, since he quit earlier that year. He wouldn’t need it anymore.


    Submitted by Dave Margolis (not verified) on Fri, 10/21/2011 – 6:00pm.
    I have a memory of Hurdle wearing #33 at one point. Am I mis-remembering? Of course, in my book, 33 should have been retired to honor Ron Hunt years ago!

    No match

    Submitted by gored82 on Sat, 10/22/2011 – 8:44pm.
    @Steve D: Your theory has no merit. One photo has Bamberger’s name on the back of the jersey, and the other has Johnson’s. They’re also different styles. It wasn’t simply a matter of reusing the same piece of cloth for another photo.

    @Gored82…My theory is as

    Submitted by Steve D (not verified) on Sun, 10/23/2011 – 11:31pm.
    @Gored82…My theory is as follows:

    Bamberger is hired for 1982 by the Mets. He wore 31 in Milwaukee and Baltimore, so he took it with the Mets. He held up a 1982 Met jersey in that photo naturally. He manages 1982, starts 1983 and he is issued the new home racing stripe jersey (like the one Davey is shown with)…he resigns on June 3, 1983, with the team en route to last place once more, saying “I probably suffered enough.” Frank Howard finishes out the season. Davey johnson is hired for 1984. They need a jersey for him to hold up at the press conference. Davey wore mainly 15…Foster has that…so why don’t we just take BAMBERGER off no. 31…nobody is using that one…it won’t piss off any player that might be returning…Davey can pick another number in the spring.

    Just a fun theory as to why 31 for Davey…seems like an odd choice. BTW Bamberger was an idiot for resigning, as the team would become a contender in 1984.

    I doubt they would have been

    Submitted by Ranjrz5 on Mon, 10/24/2011 – 8:15pm.
    I doubt they would have been a contender if Bamberger had returned in ’84… can’t see him standing up to Cashen like Johnson did when they wanted to send Gooden down.

    Good point…wonder if they

    Submitted by Steve D (not verified) on Tue, 10/25/2011 – 5:00am.
    Good point…wonder if they would still have had Seaver? Is it possible they left Seaver unprotected intentionally because he would have butted heads too much with a young, brash manager? Davey is only one year older than Tom and probably also resented Tom for beating his team in 1969.


    Submitted by gored82 on Tue, 10/25/2011 – 7:56am.
    I can’t believe Davey would’ve felt so strongly about that and been so petty after 15 years. Leaving Seaver unprotected was a mistake, plain and simple.

    Submitted by Dave Mackey (not verified) on Wed, 10/26/2011 – 9:12am.
    Saw a kid wearing a Piazza jersey. Needled him by saying, “31, you must be a big Jack DiLauro fan.”

    As to pitchers wearing numbers in the teens, you can scratch Igarashi off your card under the number 18….

    Found it!

    Submitted by gored82 on Fri, 10/28/2011 – 8:36pm.
    I take full credit for identifying the details of that photo in this comment I posted last April…

    Submitted by gored82 on Wed, 04/13/2011 – 3:46pm.
    In that photo, you can tell it was spring ’87 (not ’86) by the script “New York” on the road jersey front. The ’86 road jerseys had “Mets” on the front.

    Great stuff here.

    Submitted by EdgyDC on Tue, 11/01/2011 – 11:41am.
    Great stuff here.

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