Mets honor Mays, Grote with jersey patches

June 29th, 2024

NEW YORK -- Jerry Grote and are legendary figures in New York and made significant contributions to the Mets.

Both Grote and Mays passed away this year, and the Mets announced Saturday they have added memorial uniform patches (15 and 24, respectively) honoring the lives of the two New York legends. The patches made their debut prior to Saturday’s game against the Astros.

“Putting the patch on the uniform is another clear indication by the Mets that they appreciated and valued the contributions my dad made to the organization and, for that matter, to New York City,” said Mays’ son, Michael, in a statement. “For my father, coming back to the Mets was coming back to where it all started. He was coming home.”

Grote’s family, which included his wife, Cheryl, and son, Jeff, were at a press conference on Jerry’s behalf at Citi Field on Saturday afternoon.

“When I look at this patch, I see a legacy that he left behind. I see the love that [the fans] have extended to him and will continue to extend to him. … His legacy will live on without a doubt.”

Grote became a valuable catcher for the Mets from 1966-77 and was an integral part of the World Series title in ‘69. His intensity on the field and leadership of a pitching staff that included Tom Seaver are the reasons New York upset Baltimore in five games that year.

Mays was a major contributor to the 1973 team that took the Athletics to a seventh game in the World Series. In the pennant clincher against the Reds in the National League Championship Series, Mays entered the game in the fifth inning as a pinch-hitter for Ed Kranepool and hit an infield single that scored Felix Millan to give New York a 4-2 lead. The Mets ended up winning the game, 7-2, and advanced to the World Series.

Jeff Grote’s childhood is filled with baseball memories. He remembers watching games in the dugout while sitting next to Mays in 1972 and ‘73.

“I didn’t realize how lucky I was to be able to do that,” Grote said. “I was able to be a batboy once I got older in the 1975, ’76 time frame. I enjoyed that. I didn’t realize the amazing players I was around, like Nolan Ryan, Jerry Koosman, all of those players. You could go through the whole list. They are all great players. None of it wouldn’t have happened if not for the ‘69 Mets.”