The increasingly indispensable Mike Hersh has found yet another way to be indispensable. Mike’s wife works with woman named Lynn Farrell, who has an unusual line on her résumé: Back in the mid-1970s, she was a live mascot for a big league ballclub. Specifically, she was Mrs. Met. You can see a few shots of her plying her trade alongside Mr. Met in this slideshow.
Mike and his wife recently arranged for me to interview Lynn about her experiences. Here’s how it went:
Uni Watch: First and foremost, let’s clear up one very important thing: Were you Mrs. Met or Lady Met?
Lynn Farrell: They told me I was Mrs. Met. And when I signed an autograph, that’s how I signed it.
UW: How did you get this job?
LF: My father, Dan Farrell, was a photographer for the Daily News in New York for 50 years, and he mainly covered sports. He heard about the job, and he told me about it.
UW: So you just applied for it..?
LF: It was more like he kinda had an “in,” and I got the job. He brought me over to Shea Stadium, and they handed me the dress with the cape and the head. The eyes were metal screens.
UW: What year was this?
LF: That was 1975.
UW: And how old were you then?
LF: I was 17.
UW: Were you a Mets fan?
LF: Yes, I was a big Mets fan. I grew up on Long Island, and my dad would often take us to the ballpark when he was working. We’d sit up in press booth to watch the games.
UW: So this was like a dream job for you. Did you have it just for that one year?
LF: No — two years. And that head was made of plaster of paris. It was so heavy! I was like 100 pounds at the time, so if I leaned a little to one side, I almost toppled over. Nowadays, when you look at Mr. Met, it looks like his head is all foam.
UW: Yeah, he’s spoiled.
LF: He doesn’t need neck muscles like I did.
UW: For those two seasons that you worked, did you work with the same Mr. Met, or was it two different guys?
LF: It was the same guy both years. He was actually my boyfriend — we’d been dating since I was 15. My father arranged to get the job for him, too. And I actually ended up marrying him. We were married for 25 years, but we got divorced later on.
UW: Oh, I’m sorry. But still, that must have been quite a trip. You’re teen-agers, you’re dating, and now you’re working together at this job where you’re sort of fake-married.
LF: Yeah, we went from being Mr. and Mrs. Met to being Mr. and Mrs. for real. We got married when we were 18.
UW: Wow. Were you still working as Mr. and Mrs. Met then?
LF: I’d just finished doing it.
UW: So being Mr. and Mrs. Met was like your engagement.
LF: Yeah, kinda.
UW: What was your work schedule like?
LF: Once school let out, I worked every home game during the summer. I’d go out on the field with Mr. Met. We’d stand together for the national anthem. And then we’d walk through the stands and sign autographs during the 5th and 7th innings.
UW: What would you do for the rest of the game?
LF: Sit and watch it!
LF: In the press booth. I’d take the head off and watch, and then they’d want us out there for the 5th and 7th innings.
UW: What was your pay?
LF: I got paid $100 cash in an envelope for every game. That was a major amount of money. I already had a job at McDonald’s, and it would take me a whole week to make $65 at that. So this was so much better. Plus we got all the hot dogs we could eat! And soda too.
UW: And they would literally hand you an envelope of cash? That’s so Mafia!
LF: I know, right?
UW: Was Mr. Met paid the same amount as you?
LF: Yes, we got the same.
UW: Wow, so you were striking a blow for gender equality and pay equity. Who was your boss?
LF: I don’t remember his name. Some guy who helped run the stadium.
UW: Were you the only Mrs. Met during those two seasons, or did you rotate with other Mrs. Mets?
LF: I was the only one.
UW: When you went around signing autographs, did you talk to fans?
LF: No. We were told not to talk.
UW: What if a fan asked you something?
LF: You just shook your head yes or no. I kinda stopped going through the stands, because guys were grabbing my legs.
UW: You were getting harassed?
LF: Yeah. So I figured out that it was better to stand in one place, at a railing, with a guard. That’s when I’d sign the autographs.
UW: Ah, so you let people come to you. Smart strategy! But in these photos of you, you and Mr. Met are close together. Is that how the two of you usually worked, as a pair?
UW: And even with your supposed husband right there, fans were basically groping you?
LF: Yeah. You couldn’t really see out of that big head, so you’d feel someone on your leg but you couldn’t see it, and I’d have to turn my whole body and hold the head to look down — it was a little rough. Later on, I often wondered what happened to Mrs. Met, and maybe they just thought it was easier not to have to deal with all that stuff that I dealt with.
UW: Would you also pose for photos with fans?
LF: Yes, sometimes.
UW: Did fans ever ask you to marry them?
LF: No. But some older men would say they were in love with me.
UW: Did you interact at all with the players?
UW: Did you have your own locker room?
LF: Not really. It was more like a storage room where you’d change and leave your stuff.
UW: What about your father — was he there for most of the games when you were working?
LF: Yeah, he was usually there taking photos.
UW: Was that weird, working a job with your father right there?
LF: Well, I wouldn’t see him. But it was a good feeling to know that he was there. Now, he was friends with all the players.
UW: These photos of you as Mrs. Met — did he take those?
LF: Yes, he did. From the press level.
UW: Are you still a Mets fan today?
LF: Oh, yeah. I still go to games.
UW: When you see mascots at a ballgame — whether it’s Mr. Met or another team’s mascot — do you think you look at them or perceive them differently than other fans do, because of your experience as a mascot?
LF: Yeah, definitely. The head, the costume — I’m always looking at them.
UW: Have you seen that the Mets now have a Mets Hall of Fame at the stadium?
LF: No, I haven’t.
UW: It’s pretty good, and it includes what they claim to be the original Mr. Met head from 1964, which looks like it might be the same one your boyfriend was wearing. [As an aside, reader Jarrett Mattina recently pointed out to me that the mannequin in the Mets Hall is wearing his stirrups backwards, something I'm sure Lynn's boyfriend would never have done. — PL]
LF: Oh, I’ll have to go see that!
UW: Do you ever tell people about your experience as a mascot?
LF: Sometimes I’ll be talking to people and they’ll mention the Mets, and I’ll say, “I was Mrs. Met!” And they usually think I mean that I was a big fan or something like that. And I’ll say, “No, I was really Mrs. Met!”
Great story. Oh, and if this guy happens to be a Uni Watch reader, I’m interested in purchasing that shirt from you. Thanks.
By Brinke Guthrie
Has anyone done a study to see if items featured here on CC end up selling for a higher price? Maybe I should get a kickback! Here are the latest items whose sellers should at least send me a thank-you card:
• This is pretty cool: a stamp book for the 1954 New York baseball Giants.
• Speaking of the Giants, check out this 1954 World Series press pin.
• Luv Ya Blue! That’s what you’ll be saying with this collection of vintage Oilers glasses.
• *Here’s a great LP commemorating the first 100 years of MLB — and dig the cover art.
• I had one of these (for the Cowboys): an NFL helmet “hubcap” for your bike!
• Here’s a cool NFL sticker sheet, circa 1980.
• Here’s one from Mike Hersh: a set of Twins binoculars.
• And we wrap up with one from Paul: a giant Adidas trefoil pillow!
Seen something on eBay that you think would make good Collector’s Corner fodder? Send your submissions here.
Culinary Corner: Last night I attended a “Beef, Beer, and Butchery” event at the excellent East Village restaurant Back Forty. Chef Shanna Pacifico was mixing up some superb steak tartare, plus there were several other fine beef-related hors d’oeuvres that I neglected to photograph (including some spectacular beef heart, which basically tasted like steak, not like offal). But the highlight was a demonstration by Fleisher’s Meats honcho Joshua Applestone, who showed off a few roast-tying techniques.
If you’re at all kitchen-fluent, then at some point you’ve probably cooked a roast (of beef, of pork, a whole chicken, whatever) on a bed of root vegetables. It’s a classic method, right? But Applestone showed us a trick I’d never seen before: He cooks his roasts on a bed of marrowbones! So the rendered marrow and meat juices commingle in the pan, and then you can baste the meat with the resulting ambrosia (and suck the marrowbones dry afterward). Total fucking genius.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Some dude in California has created a Nike museum. Even I think that’s pretty cool. … Who’s that good-looking basketball squad? It’s the Green Bay Packers hoops squad, photographed on Feb. 15, 1963 (great find by Mako Mameli). … I know, I know, everyone used to smoke back in the day, but it’s still jarring to see the Iron Horse doing it (with thanks to Matthew Robins). … Blair Parsons reports that curling is apparently coming to about the last place you’d expect: Texas. … Bit of a cock-up in yesterday’s Miami Herald. … Someone over at Yahoo Sports suggested that Todd Coffey’s throwback pants were too short. But of course they were just right if he’d simply bloused them properly. Jeez. … Here’s another piece on Coffey, only this one includes a great extended passage from an old Shirley Povich piece about the 1936 Sens’ uniforms (with thanks to William Yurasko). … The Mavs might not get championship rings (with thanks to Chester Baker). … Absolutely spectacular article about the embossed pattern on Oreos, and about cookie embossing in general. Among other positives, it includes the spectacular term “3D biscuitry” (great find, Kirsten). … Look what happens if you turn the Dodge Viper logo upside-down (with thanks to Ronnie Poore). … Did you know Coca-Cola made cigars? I didn’t, until Mike Hersh pointed me toward this catalog. … Dan Cichalski reports that Will Clark took BP the other day in a full 2011 Giants uni, complete with championship sleeve patch — except it had an NOB. Bogus. … Tottenham Hotspur (that’s an EPL team) has created an app on their Facebook page that allows fans to customize the team’s new kits. “Here’s what I think their home, away, and change kits should look like,” says Terence Kearns. … The new album by Nodzzz — a great little San Francisco band — is called Innings and its back cover design features an endearing baseball field configuration that I’m surprised not to have seen before. … Looks like the North Adams Steeplecats are wearing old-school Packers-style hose (with thanks to Shane Bua). … The new U.S. women’s soccer home kit looks like a nurse’s uniform. As for the road kit (scroll down a bit), someone at Nike was actually paid to write, with a straight face, “The away kit features a black bodice and red piping inspired by the beautiful but deadly Black Widow spider. Similar to the spider, the US Women’s National Team will have a unified and bold look but they will need to be deadly on the pitch to win the tournament.” Uh, right (with thanks to Evan Sadler). … The U.S. Army is making a headwear change: berets are out, baseball caps are in (big thanks to Morris Levin). … “Li-Ning is the official sponsor of the NBL in China,” writes John Brilliant. “So if you wear Nike shoes on court, they make you put Li-Ning stickers over the swooshes.” … This is pretty great: Back in the early ’80s, the Spokane Indians were an affiliate of the Angels, so their logo character was an angelic Indian (with thanks to Coachie Ballgames). … Dodgers’ next throwback game will be tomorrow against the Reds, who’ll be wearing their 1944 grays (with thanks to Sean Kesling).