Stung by criticisms that Citi Field was more a homage to the Brooklyn Dodgers than the new home of New York Mets, team officials outlined their plans to revamp areas of the ballpark for 2010.Stung by criticisms that Citi Field was more a homage to the Brooklyn Dodgers than the new home of New York Mets, team officials outlined their plans to revamp the ballpark for 2010, including renaming areas of the ballpark after Casey Stengel, Gil Hodges, Tom Seaver and William A. Shea.
The Mets also have re-formed the Mets Hall of Fame Committee, and will increase the number of visuals commemorating great players and moments both inside and outside the ballpark. The Mets previously announced a 2010 opening of the Mets Hall of Fame & Museum at Citi Field.
The Mets will rename and visually theme Citi Field's VIP entrances and outfield bridge after individuals who made an indelible mark on the club. First Base VIP will be named after Hodges to honor the manager who led the Mets to their first World Championship in 1969. Third Base VIP will honor Seaver, the Hall of Fame pitcher and Mets leader in wins, earned run average and strikeouts. Left Field VIP will be named after Stengel, the first manager in Mets history. The outfield bridge will be dedicated as Shea Bridge, honoring the legacy of the man who was the driving force to bring National League baseball back to New York after the departure of the Dodgers and Giants.
The centerpiece for Mets memorabilia will be the Mets Hall of Fame & Museum, located adjacent to the Jackie Robinson Rotunda and accessible from both inside and outside the ballpark. A re-formed Mets Hall of Fame Committee will evaluate potential inductees, and is comprised of a combination of media members with a long-standing connection to the club and Mets front office staff.
Media members on the committee are: Marty Noble, the Mets.com beat writer who is entering his fifth decade covering the team; Gary Cohen, the New York native and voice of the Mets on SNY who has been a Mets broadcaster for 21 years; and Howie Rose, a Queens native and radio voice of the Mets on WFAN who has covered the team for 21 years on radio and television.
The Mets committee members are: Dave Howard, executive vice president, business operations who has been with the organization for 18 years; Jay Horwitz, vice president, media relations who just completed his 30th season with the team; Tina Mannix, senior director, marketing who has been with the Mets for nine years; and former Mets pitcher Al Jackson, a pitching consultant who is entering his sixth decade with the Mets. Chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon serves as ex-officio.
"The re-formation of the Mets Hall of Fame Committee is central to our concerted efforts to better connect our present and future to our past," said Wilpon. "It reinforces the organization's and our fans' shared desire to recognize our greatest players. With our 2010 opening of the Mets Hall of Fame & Museum at Citi Field, now was the time to bring this group together."
Candidates will be evaluated on their impact on the field while in a Mets uniform, how they represented and affected the organization and their place in Mets history.
The Mets Hall of Fame was established in 1981 with an inaugural class of Joan Payson, the first Mets owner, and Casey Stengel, the first Mets manager. The Mets Hall of Fame has 21 members including former players, managers, front-office executives and broadcasters. Tommie Agee was the last person inducted in 2002.
The following is the list of Hall of Fame members in order of the year they were inducted:
Joan Payson (1981); Casey Stengel (1981); Gil Hodges (1982); George M. Weiss (1982); William A. Shea (1983); Johnny Murphy (1983); Ralph Kiner (1984); Bob Murphy (1984); Lindsey Nelson (1984); Bud Harrelson (1986); Rusty Staub (1986); Tom Seaver (1988); Jerry Koosman (1989); Ed Kranepool (1990); Cleon Jones (1991); Jerry Grote (1992); Tug McGraw (1993); Mookie Wilson (1996); Keith Hernandez (1997); Gary Carter (2001); and Tommie Agee (2002).
The Mets will announce further details about the Mets Hall of Fame & Museum in the coming weeks.
Next season, fans will be greeted by Mets colors as they approach Citi Field with full-color banners of Mets players on Mets Plaza in front of the Jackie Robinson Rotunda. Mets logos will be added on entry points to the parking areas and on the light poles in the parking lots. The addition of team colors will continue inside the ballpark with staircases painted with blue and orange and more Mets logos throughout the ballpark. Flowers in the gardens at Mets Plaza in front of the Jackie Robinson Rotunda will also be blue and orange.
"These additions amplify our commitment to better recognize our team's heritage and honor the players and memories our fans cherish," said Howard. "Ownership is acting upon our fans' desire to see more Mets around the ballpark. We hear our fans loud and clear and these additions continue the process that started last season."
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