A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from March 25, 2005
Home Run Apple
When a New York Mets baseball player hit a home run at Shea Stadium, a large "apple" located just beyond center field rose from inside a black hat. It was a gimmick that was started in May 1980; the apple represented the "Big Apple" (New York City's nickname) and the black hat represented "Mets magic." (The theme of the 1980 Mets was 'The Magic Is Back.")

The Mets last played in Shea Stadium in 2008, and the original "home run apple" was related outside of the Mets' new stadium, Citi Field, in Mets Plaza. A new "home run apple" now operates in CIti Field during Mets games.


Wikipedia: Shea Stadium
William A. Shea Municipal Stadium (usually shortened to Shea Stadium or just Shea /ˈʃeɪ/) was a stadium in the New York City borough of Queens, in Flushing Meadows–Corona Park. It was the home baseball park of Major League Baseball's New York Mets from 1964 to 2008.
(...)
Home Run Apple
The Home Run Apple came out of a magic hat after every Mets home run at Shea Stadium. It was first installed in May 1980 as a symbol of the Mets' advertising slogan "The Magic Is Back!" (the hat originally said "Mets Magic" in script but was changed in the mid-1980s to a simple "Home Run" in block capital letters). A newer, bigger apple has been placed in center field at Citi Field; in 2009 Shea's original apple was installed inside Citi Field's Bullpen Gate and was visible from outside, on 126th Street. In 2010, the Shea apple was relocated outside the ballpark, in front of the Jackie Robinson Rotunda.

Wikipedia: Citi Field
Citi Field is a stadium located in Flushing Meadows–Corona Park in the New York City borough of Queens. Completed in 2009, it is the home baseball park of Major League Baseball's New York Mets.
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Home Run Apples
Another tradition from Shea Stadium making an appearance in Citi Field is the Home Run Apple. When a Mets player hits a home run, a giant apple, which has a Mets logo on the front that lights up, rises from its housing in the center field batter's eye. The new apple that has been constructed for Citi Field is more than four times the size of the previous one and was designed by Minneapolis-based engineering firm Uni-Systems. Shea's original apple was located inside Citi Field's bullpen entrance gate for the 2009 season. In 2010, the Shea apple was relocated outside the ballpark at Mets Plaza, in between the Jackie Robinson Rotunda and the entrance to the Mets–Willets Point subway station.

Uni-Systems
New York Mets Home Run Apple
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The new Home Run Apple is significantly larger and is adorned with LED lights that highlight the Mets logo. It can quickly pop out of its housing in center field to celebrate a Mets home run (or anything else worthy of celebration).

With the old apple resting comfortably near the bullpen entrance gate, the new Mets Home Run Apple is ready to give both new and familiar fans something to cheer about.

16 April 1998, New York (NY) Times, "Strawberry Gets The Apple to Rise," pg. C3, col. 2:
When he slugged that one against Sid Fernandez, the home run apple beyond the center-field fence did not rise out of its container. It did yesterday because the Yankees were the home team.

''That definitely was a good memory because I've seen it a lot of times,'' he said. ''Only thing about it was it had Mets on it. But it didn't go all the way up, so that was a good sign.''

New York (NY) Times
The City Weekly Desk; Section 14, Page 2, Column 5
F.Y.I.
The Mets' Colossal Hat

By DANIEL B. SCHNEIDER
14 May 2000
Q. When one of the Mets hits a home run, television cameras zoom in on the giant red apple that rises, flashing, from the upside-down top hat by the scoreboard in center field. Did it have a previous life as a parade float or theatrical prop?

A. Though it does have that lumpy, homemade quality one tends to associate with a high school production of ''Gulliver's Travels,'' the Home Run Apple, as it is known, was specifically built for Shea Stadium as part of the Mets' promotional campaign for 1980, the year that Doubleday & Company bought the last-place franchise for $21.1 million. Where the words ''Home Run'' now blink on and off, the apple originally carried the team's blustery motto that season: ''The Magic Is Back.''

The ''magic'' theme at least explains the top hat, a 10-foot tall, kettle-like cylinder with a rim, constructed of quarter-inch plywood and painted matte black. The levitating apple, about nine feet in diameter, is built of plaster and lath, and can be raised or lowered in about 30 seconds by an electric motor. It is controlled by three buttons (marked ''up,'' ''down'' and ''stop'') in a booth in the press area. It has a stem, made from a real tree stump, and a leaf. ''The leaf was actually missing for several years, until I found it sitting in a storeroom and reattached it,'' said Kevin McCarthy, director of stadium operations for the Mets.

9 July 2000, Associated Press Newswires:
In New York, where traditions die slowly if at all, Mets' fans still are considered by some to be baseball nouveau riche, with only two World Series titles, unending noise from jetliners landing at nearby LaGuardia Airport and that garish flashing home-run apple in right-center field.

3 April 2003, New York (NY) Times, pg. 86:
But, given the breathless fan reaction to Sosa in batting practice, even Mets faithful are drawn to the Cubs' superstar slugger, who deposited seven batting practice pitches into the seats, including two that bounded off the home-run apple behind the 410-foot sign in center field.

Daily News (New York, NY)
The Mets' brand new Home Run Apple grows at Citi Field
BY MATT GAGNE, ANTHONY MCCARRON Sunday, April 12, 2009, 10:43 PM
When Mets fans clamored to have the Home Run Apple moved from Shea Stadium to Citi Field, the team came up with the perfect compromise: A bigger and better apple would be installed in the new ballpark, with no guarantee on how much use it would get because of the pitcher-friendly confines, and the old one would be displayed in the bullpen plaza, always available for a photo op or good-luck pat.
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The original apple was introduced at Shea as a marketing ploy during the 1980 season, a distraction from a woeful team that went 67-95 and finished fifth in the NL East. But it wasn't deployed too often that first summer: The Mets finished with just 61 homers, equaling Roger Maris' output from 1961, and more than 40% of them were hit on the road.

MLB.com
The history of the Mets apple 09/24/13 | 00:54
A closer look at the Mets' iconic home run apple, including its time at Shea Stadium and its current home at Citi Field.

ESPN.com
Oct 29, 2015
Why beloved, quirky Home Run Apple is a perfect symbol for Mets
Johnette Howard
ESPN Staff Writer
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"The original slogan on the apple [in 1980] was 'The Magic is Back' -- which was probably premature for the team they had then," said Dave Howard, former Mets executive vice president of business operations, who now runs his own sports consultancy firm.

Originally, there was some backlash. The '80 team won only 67 games. People said, "What Magic?" or, "The Magic is Tragic."

Howard said the apple was the idea of Al Harazin, a longtime Mets executive who succeeded Frank Cashen as the team's general manager after the 1991 season.

"I'll never forget sitting with Frank Cashen and Al one day [at a game] near the end of the 1991 season and having Cashen look at the apple and then say to me: 'See that? That's Harazin's folly.'"

Uncle Mike's Musings
Friday, April 1, 2016
How to Go to a Mets Game -- 2016 Edition
(...)
When a Met hits a home run, the Home Run Apple is activated. Originally placed in Shea's center field after Nelson Doubleday and Fred Wilpon bought the team from Mrs. Payson's estate in 1980, it was supposed to be a play not just on the New York nickname "the Big Apple," but also on the slogan of the time: "The New Mets: The Magic Is Back." It was a magician's black top hat, inverted, with the white letters "HOME RUN" on the front, and a big red apple with a Met logo on it would rise out, and the logo would light up.
(...)
Knowing that Shea would be demolished, an Internet campaign went up to "Save the Apple." It worked: The old apple, which really was in bad shape, was restored and put outside Citi Field, and a new, larger apple was put in the center field hitter's background inside the new park.
Posted by Barry Popik
New York CitySports/Games • Friday, March 25, 2005 • Permalink