Mets honor Willie Mays and Jerry Grote with new uniform patches

NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Mets debuted uniform patches Saturday honoring Willie Mays and Jerry Grote that will remain on all their jerseys for the rest of the season.

A circular patch with Mays’ No. 24 was added to the left sleeve of the City Connect tops New York wore for its home game against the Houston Astros. Mays, who died on June 18, concluded his Hall of Fame career with the Mets from 1972-73 and had his number retired by the club on Old-Timers’ Day two years ago.

“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,” Mays’ son, Michael, said in a statement.

On the right sleeve, Grote’s No. 15 joined “Buddy No. 3” in a pair of diamond-shaped logos on a rectangular patch the team already had been wearing this season in tribute to former shortstop Bud Harrelson, who died in January.

Grote, a longtime Mets catcher renowned for his elite defense, died in April.

Each a two-time All-Star, they were teammates in New York from 1966-77 and helped lead the Miracle Mets to their 1969 World Series championship.

“It has been a tough year for our Mets family,” owners Steve and Alex Cohen said. “We’ve lost two Mets Hall of Famers in Buddy Harrelson and Jerry Grote and the great Willie Mays. Jerry was the best defensive catcher in the history of our organization and guided the incredible 1969 pitching staff.”

Grote broke into the big leagues with Houston before joining the Mets. His family was at Citi Field to celebrate his career.

“It means so much to the Grote family that the Mets are remembering Jerry’s legacy,” said his wife, Cheryl, and son, Jeff. “Jerry still has so many fans in New York and it makes us proud that what he did for the organization will not be forgotten.”



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