5 reasons that led to naming of the Mets

December 1st, 2021

NEW YORK -- The beauty of the Mets’ name is in its simplicity. And that was by design.

Back in 1961, team owner Joan Payson received approval to create the Mets as a replacement for the departed Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants in a city suddenly devoid of National League baseball. While the team was still in its nascent stage, it operated under the corporate name “The New York Metropolitan Baseball Club Inc.,” which then needed to pick a nickname for the playing field. Payson chose “Mets” based on five criteria:

1. The name was acceptable to the public and the press. “Mets” was easy and direct.

2. It was closely related to the team’s corporate name. This was straightforward, as “Mets” is essentially an abbreviation of “Metropolitan.”

3. It was descriptive of the metropolitan area. A generic mascot name like “Panthers” or “Wildcats” was not what Payson wanted.

4. The name was short for ease of use in print. At just four letters, “Mets” was perfect for splashing across the back pages of tabloids.

5. It had a historical background -- in this case, harkening back to the Metropolitans, an independent baseball team that eventually became part of the 19th-century American Association. The Metropolitans played in that league from 1883-87 at the site of what would soon become the Polo Grounds -- the original home of Payson’s new Mets, to bring things full circle decades later.

Payson considered other names, including the Jets and the Islanders, which soon also became part of the New York professional sports lexicon. Her personal favorite, according to newspaper reports from the time, was “Meadowlarks.” Still other options, including the Rebels, Skyliners, NYBs, Burros (for the five boroughs), Continentals and Avengers, all were considered. But Payson instead chose the name Mets, which has endured for nearly 60 seasons.