Mets to honor NFL's Jets on April 28
Pregame ceremony will pay tribute to former Shea denizens
NEW YORK -- For a quarter-century now, Shea Stadium's image has revolved around baseball and baseball alone. After the National Football League's Jets skipped town in 1984 to move west across the Hudson River, Shea has hosted the Mets and little else.
For one night in April, that will change.
In yet another nod to the past, the Mets will honor the Jets on April 28 with a pregame salute to the team that once spent 20 seasons playing at Shea Stadium. Former Pro Bowlers Joe Klecko, Wesley Walker, Greg Buttle, Randy Beverly and John Schmitt will return to their old home for the final time in Shea Stadium's history. The Jets Flight Crew cheerleaders will be on hand, along with the team's traveling, interactive JetsFest.
Jets season ticket holders will have an opportunity to meet and greet the former Jets stars in attendance at a pregame event at Shea Stadium's picnic area.
The event comes with plenty of precedence -- a throwback to the days when the Jets stalked these grounds alongside the Mets. The pinnacle of that Queens era came in 1969, when both teams won largely unexpected championships -- the "Miracle Mets" beating the Orioles in the World Series, only nine months after the Jets pulled off one of pro football's greatest upsets in Super Bowl III. Quarterback Joe Namath guaranteed that his Jets would beat the heavily favored Colts and then made good on the boast, leading his band of underdogs to a 16-7 victory and giving the American Football League more legitimacy than ever in its final year of existence. Namath was named the MVP.
Fourteen years later, the Jets moved out of Shea Stadium, leaving for the football-centric confines of Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. Yet the Mets have not forgotten their former friends, choosing to honor them during the final season of Shea's history.
The Mets will move into their new stadium, Citi Field, next April, and the Jets will soon follow suit, leaving the Meadowlands for a new stadium within the same complex.
Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.