Mets right fielder Travis Jankowski looks on against Atlanta in...

Mets right fielder Travis Jankowski looks on against Atlanta in Game Two of an MLB baseball doubleheader at Citi Field on Tuesday, May 3, 2022. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

There was no batting practice before Saturday night’s Mets-Mariners game because of the rain at Citi Field.

But Travis Jankowski did go out to the field for some pregame work. So did Travis Jankowski. And Travis Jankowski.

Oh, and Travis Jankowski.

In fact, just about every Mets player who appeared on the field or in the clubhouse before the game was wearing a Jankowski No. 16 “shirsey” in honor of the 30-year-old Stony Brook alum.

The shirts, acquired by third baseman Eduardo Escobar, first showed up on the back of every chair in the Mets’ clubhouse after Friday night’s 2-1 loss to Seattle.

They were a recognition of Jankowski’s place in the hearts and minds of his teammates, and of a colorful quote the outfielder gave after starting both games as the Mets swept a doubleheader from Atlanta on May 3.

“A guy in my role, it can kind of get overlooked,” Jankowski said. “You really have to check your ego at the door every day. No one’s going to be buying my jersey.”

Jankowski, who was in the lineup in leftfield on Saturday, went 0-for-3 in the Mets’ 5-4 victory. He hadn’t had a plate appearance since that May 3 doubleheader, getting into five games as a late-inning defensive replacement, which along with serving as a pinch runner has been his main job in his first month-plus as a Met.

Jankowski is batting .290 (9-for-31) in 23 games (10 starts) after first catching Buck Showalter’s eye with his spirited play in spring training — and then catching Escobar’s attention with his self-effacing quote.

“It’s more than just a T-shirt,” Showalter said. “I think it’s just the respect they have for him. He’s just a humble guy. This guy’s a first-round pick out of Stony Brook, I think it was. He’s been at a lot of different levels, an everyday player, and I think he likes being here and people get him, that he knows what he’s supposed to bring.”

Jankowski survived cutdown day on May 2, when the rosters had to be trimmed. The Mets chose to eat the $37 million due Robinson Cano over the next two years rather than risk losing Jankowski on waivers.

It wasn’t a sure thing that another club would have claimed Jankowski if the Mets had tried to pass him through waivers. He was available to all 30 clubs before signing a minor-league deal with the Mets on March 17, just four days after the lockout ended.

Jankowski is no spring chicken or super prospect. He’s a journeyman. That may seem like a derogatory term, but it’s not. He’s a big-league baseball player, one of five to have gone to Stony Brook (Joe Nathan, Tom Koehler, Nick Tropeano and Daniel Zamora are the others) and the first non-pitcher.

Jankowski has been around: 449 big-league games, mostly with San Diego, which drafted him in the first round (44th overall) in 2012. Speed and defense are his calling cards. Power is not (nine home runs in 1,186 plate appearances).

In his best dreams, Jankowski probably thought he’d be a household name by now, a starting outfielder with multiple zeros on his paycheck and a real jersey with his name on it available on

You can get a Jankowski jersey online, but you’d have to build it from scratch as if Jankowski was Your Name Here. And it would set you back $149.99. Who knows? Maybe it’s worth it. A fluky — but fun — stat: After Saturday, the Mets are 9-1 when Jankowski starts.

Here’s the rest of Jankowski’s “no one’s going to be buying my jersey”  quote from May 3: “I still think there’s a big part of what I bring to the table that is very important and very needed to winning teams and championship teams.”

If Jankowski is able to be an important reserve piece on a championship 2022 Mets team, you can bet someone will be buying his jersey. A lot of Mets fan someones.


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