Antedating of "New York Mets" (OED 1964)

Paul Johnston paul.johnston at WMICH.EDU
Sun Jan 24 20:18:31 UTC 2010

I was wondering if anyone here would say anything about the original
AA (American Association) major league Mets, who had some pretty good
years in the mid 1880's.  They even were in a precursor of the World
Series in its first year (1884), going down in four to the NL's
Providence Grays.  Tim Keefe, later a standout for the Giants as a
pitcher and a Hall of Famer, started off with them, and they had a
first baseman named Dave Orr, who was one of the better sluggers in
this part of the dead ball era--he was a big guy, too, at least
weight-wise-- he was 5'11" and 245 lbs., but managed to hit 9 homers
in a day when they were really, really rare. They were owned by Jim
Mutrie, who also owned and managed the Giants in the NL, and later
on, some of their best players were shuffled to the Giants.   The
1881 reference is to the same team, but before they became major
league.  Terry Larkin, Bill Schenck, and Oscar Walker all played in
both NL and AA, though none of them were major league Mets.  Walker,
at least, was a good player, and before the drink got him, Larkin had
a decent year or two.
The Mets folded after the 1887 season.

Paul Johnston
On Jan 24, 2010, at 12:36 PM, Shapiro, Fred wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Shapiro, Fred" <fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: Antedating of "New York Mets" (OED 1964)
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> ---------
> Before posting my previous message about "New York Mets," I should
> have realized that Barry Popik would have researched this name, and
> would have done an excellent job of doing so.  Looking now at
>, I see that he has still earlier evidence for the
> contemporary team name, and also for the older team name (OED 1883):
> 31 August 1881, New York Times, pg. 2:
> The Albany nine, who always play a close and exciting game of base-
> ball with the Metropolitans, have recently secured the services of
> Larkin, Schenck, and Walker, all of the Atlantics, of Brooklen, and
> succeeded in defeating the "Mets" yesterday afternoon on the polo
> grounds, in the presence of about 800 spectators.
> 8 August 1882, Olean (NY) Democrat, pg. 2, col. 5:
> New York, Mets 5, Troys 2;
> 2 December 1960, New York Times, "What's in a Name?" by Arthur
> Daley, pg. 36:
> Sooner or later a label also will have to be produced for the
> National League team in our village. No effort has yet been made by
> Charlie Hurth, the general manager, to supply one for a team that
> already is being referred to as the New York Metropolitans or Mets.
> This nickname rings no bells, throws off no sparks.
> 16 March 1961, New York Times, "A Smart Move" by Arthur Daley, pg. 45:
> If Rickey had been persuaded to become head man of the Mets - or
> whatever their name will be - it's a cinch that he would have
> installed as manager his favorite reclamation project, Leo Durocher.
> Fred Shapiro
> ------------------------------------------------------------
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