Timeline of Mets Events:
July 27, 1959 - New York attorney William Shea announces the formation of a third major league, the Continental League, to begin play in 1961. One of the charter teams for the league would be placed in New York.
August 2, 1960 - The Continental League disbands on promises that four of its franchises would be accepted to the NL and AL as expansion franchises.
March 6, 1961 - The New York Metropolitan Baseball Club Inc., formally receives a certificate of membership from National League President Warren Giles. The Mets' name was judged by club owner Joan Payson as the one that best met five basic criteria: 1) It met public and press acceptance; 2) It was closely related to the team's corporate name (Metropolitan Baseball Club, Inc); 3) It was descriptive of the metropolitan area; 4) It had a brevity that delighted copy readers everywhere; 5) It had historical background referring to the Metropolitans of the 19th century American Association. Other names considered included Rebels, Skyliners, NYBs, Burros (for the five boroughs), Continentals, Avengers... as well as Jets and Islanders, names that would eventually find their way onto the New York sports scene.
May 8, 1961 - New York's National League club announces that the team nickname will be "Mets," a natural shortening of the corporate name ("New York Metropolitan Baseball Club, Inc.")
October 10, 1961 - In the first expansion draft in National League history, the Mets spend $1.8 million to draft 22 players at the Netherland-Hilton Hotel in Cincinnati.
October 28, 1961 - Ground is broken for Flushing Meadows Park.
November 16, 1961 - The circular Mets logo, designed by sports cartoonist Ray Gatto, was unveiled. It has gone virtually unchanged throughout the history of the club. The shape of the insignia, with its orange stitching, represents a baseball, and the bridge in the foreground symbolizes that the Mets, in bringing back the National League to New York, represent all five boroughs. It's not just a skyline in the background, but has a special meaning. At the left is a church spire, symbolic of Brooklyn, the borough of churches. The second building from the left is the Williamsburg Savings Bank, the tallest building in Brooklyn. Next is the Woolworth Building. After a general skyline view of midtown comes the Empire State Building. At the far right is the United Nations Building. The Mets' colors are Dodger blue and Giant orange, symbolic of the return of National League baseball to New York after the Dodgers and Giants moved to California. Blue and Orange are also the official colors of New York State.
April 17, 1964 - The Mets play their first game at Shea Stadium, a 4-3 loss to the Pirates. The game was the culmination of a project that cost $28.5 million and took 29 months to build. It was originally to be called Flushing Meadow Park, but a movement was launched to name it in honor of William A. Shea, the man who brought National League Baseball back to New York. It was also the first stadium capable of being converted from baseball to football and back using two motor-operated stands that moved on underground tracks. Shea is best known for the noise from airplanes taking off from LaGuardia Airport.
April 2, 1966 - The Mets win a special lottery for the rights to USC pitcher Tom Seaver. Even given the pitching rich history of the New York Mets, one name stands alone as the best of them all. The man known as "The Franchise", Tom Seaver, was just that. Seaver helped turn Casey Stengel's lovable losing Mets of the early 1960's into World Champions almost overnight upon his acquisition. His acquisiton was as big to the Mets as winning the lottery, and in fact that's what happened. Seaver was originally signed by the Atlanta Braves in February 1966 out of the University of Southern California, but his contract was voided by Commissioner William D. Eckert on the basis that the USC season had already started when Seaver signed. Eckert ruled that clubs wishing to match the Braves' bid for Seaver, could bid themselves. The Mets, the Phillies and the Indians were all willing to match, so their names were thrown in a hat, and when the winner was picked, the Mets had their future ace. In 12 seasons for the Mets, Seaver compiled a record of 198-124 with a 2.57 ERA. Along the way, he lead them to a World Championship and two National League Pennants. He holds the Mets' career marks for wins, ERA, starts, complete games, strikeouts and shutouts amongst other categories. For his career, Seaver won 311 games, compiling a 2.86 ERA. He was elected to the Hall-Of-Fame in his first year of eligibility in 1992. He entered the Mets Hall of Fame in 1988.
October 16, 1969 - Donn Clendenon and Al Weis power home runs while Jerry Koosman tosses a five-hitter as the Mets win their first World Championship with a 5-3 victory over the Orioles before 57,397 delirious fans at Shea.