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Sometimes it all comes together. You have a favorite player wearing your favorite number on their uniform jersey. I have loved, absolutely loved, Francisco Lindor since he began his career with the Cleveland Indians. And for the longest time I truly believed he would be yet another one of those opposing players who I would watch and root for, and dream of him playing for the Mets someday. So when the Mets pulled the trigger and brought Lindor to Queens, it was certainly gratifying. And to have him wearing my favorite number on top of that…well…no fan could be happier.
I actually came to love the No. 12, believe it or not, because I really liked the way it looked in the full block style on the old Mets road uniforms when I saw Ken Boswell wearing it. Boswell was not my favorite player, but he was one of my favorites. It bothered me to see it assigned to a guy like Jack Heidemann (I know, who is he?) when he came to the Mets. And I got excited when Lee Mazzilli came up and wore it his first year, and then was disappointed when he swapped numbers with John Stearns and took the No. 16. Some very obscure players wore my No. 12 over the years, although there were some really good players like Tommy Davis, Stearns, Ron Darling, Willie Randolph and Roberto Alomar. Even Cleon Jones, who will forever be associated with No. 21, wore it, after first wearing the No. 34, believe it or not.
So I decided to take a look at the top player at each position who wore No. 12 during his Mets career:
Most Mets fans remember that General Manager Sandy Alderson stunned the fanbase when he traded away Cy Young Award Winner R.J. Dickey to the Toronto Blue Jays for a young catcher named Travis d’Arnaud. Included in that deal was a flamethrower named Noah Syndergaard. D’Arnaud would never live up to expectations, but Syndergaard, turned out to be the gem in the deal, regardless that he is out due to Tommy John surgery.
Some years earlier, another GM, Gerry Hunsicker, in an attempt to rebuild, surprised many when he traded away ace David Cone to get a couple of young prospects, infielder Jeff Kent and outfielder Ryan Thompson. Kent arrived first and immediately was slotted into the lineup at third base, and Thompson came some weeks later, and was thought to be the five-tool superstar that the Mets coveted to play centerfield. Thompson was one of a number of those “five-tool hopefuls” the Mets would acquire like Alex Ochoa and Steve Henderson who would never live up to those expectations.
The Mets announced that they will, at times, be sporting their "racing stripe" uniforms in honor of the 30th Anniversary of the 1986 World Series Championship team. I have always had a fascination with the Mets uniforms and to be quite honest, I absolutely hated those uniforms. The home uniforms were bad enough, but the road uniforms had a weird block lettering and then a silly looking script. Heck, Keith Hernandez has so often made his opinion of those uniforms known during broadcasts, calling them "hideous." I am a traditionalist, and although I liked the brief appearance of the blue and orange piping on the sleeves during the Lee Mazzilli era in the late seventies, early eighties, I am truly partial to the traditional home uniforms. But my favorite is the traditional away jerseys with the tiffany style lettering on the front and the full block numbers on the front and back.
And uniform numbers worn by the players always seemed to pique my interest. I am sure most people can be presented with a number and immediately associate it with a specific Mets player. In fact, sometimes you see a number on a player’s back and you either love the player or simply the way the number looks and all of a sudden that becomes YOUR number.