The National League looked much different on October 16, 1960. The senior circuit had teams in ten cities: Chicago, Cincinnati, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. The Braves franchise moved from Boston to Milwaukee following the 1952 season and the Giants and Dodgers had moved from New York to the west coast in time for the 1958 season. No new teams had been approved by the League since the American League began play in 1901. In 1900, teams such as the Brooklyn Superbas and the Chicago Orphans ruled the National League (the Superbas won the NL and the Orphans finished a distant 19 games back of Brooklyn and two back of the Boston Beaneaters). It was time for an addition to be made.

Hou_1094_1On October 17, 1960 that change was made when the National League approved a franchise expansion for Houston, Texas and a second team to return to New York City. The Colt .45s and Metropolitans would both begin play in 1962 (though the name "Metropolitans" had been used by a New York club from 1883-1887, though in the American Association).

In fact, if you look at the Mets logo you’ll notice three things: the color blue, the color orange, and pinstripes. The blue is for the departed Dodgers, the orange for the departed Giants, and the pinstripes for the existing Yankees.

Why expand to Houston? Why put a team in New York City? Of course a larger expansion occurred later in the 1960s but the Astros and Mets started the trend of expanding to new cities. Why?

Sign up for a videoconference or on-site school trip and participate in Baseball Coast to Coast, the Baseball Hall of Fame’s education module focusing on geography! Download the thematic unit here, and call 607.547.0347 
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