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Shea Stadium

By Wikipedia

William A. Shea Stadium is a baseball stadium in Flushing, New York and the longtime home of the New York Mets. Shea Stadium's first game on April 17, 1964 was the culmination of a project that cost $28.5 million and took 29 months to build.

At a glance...
Facility statistics
Location 123-01 Roosevelt Avenue
Flushing, New York 11368
Broke ground October 28, 1961
Opened April 17, 1964
Replaced Polo Grounds
Owner City of New York
Surface Bluegrass
Construction cost $25.5M
Architect Praeger, Kavanaugh &
New York Mets (MLB, 1964-present)
New York Jets (NFL, 1964-1983)
New York Yankees (MLB, 1974-1975)
New York Giants (NFL, 1975)
Replaced by
Meadowlands (Jets, 1984; Giants 1976)
Seating capacity
55,000 (1964)
55,601 (1990)
Left Field - 341 ft (64-78) 338 ft (1979-)
Medium Left-Center - 358 ft
Left-Center - 371 ft (64-91) 378 (92-)
Left-Center (deep) - 396 ft
Medium Left-Center - 410 ft
Right-Center (deep) - 396 ft
Right-Center - 371 ft (64-91) 378 (92-)
Medium Right-Center - 358 ft
Right Field - 338 ft
Backstop - 80 ft
Foul Territory: Very large

It was originally to be called Flushing Meadow Park similar to the name of the public park that's south of Shea but a movement was launched to name it in honor of William A. Shea, the man who brought National League baseball back to New York. It was also the first stadium capable of being converted from baseball to football and back using two motor-operated stands that moved on underground tracks.

Shea has been the home of the Mets since its opening in 1964. The New York Yankees played their home games in Shea Stadium during the 1974 and 1975 seasons while Yankee Stadium was being renovated. The Yankees also played one "home" game at Shea in 1998 after a beam collapsed at Yankee Stadium, destroying several rows of seats.

The NFL team, New York Jets, played at Shea from 1964 to 1983. Quarterback Joe Namath passed for a record 4,007 yards here in 1967, and in 1968 led the Jets, then a member of the American Football League before its final merger with the NFL, to the AFL championship and later an upset victory over the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III in Miami, Florida. The New York Giants played at Shea in 1975.

Fly to Shea Stadium!
If you have Google Earth installed, click here to be "flown" to the site of Shea Stadium. (If you do not have it installed, get it from Google. It allows you to view virtually anywhere on Earth in 3D using satellite imagery.)

The stadium, which cost $25.5 million, was intended to be expandable to 90,000 seats by extending the middle and upper decks around the outfield and building a dome above the stands. During the 1960s, there was a move to accomplish this, but the idea was dropped after structural studies concluded that the stands would be unable to support the weight of the dome after all.

The stadium is generally regarded as one of the loudest in the Major Leagues, not necessarily because of the crowd noise, but because of its proximity to LaGuardia Airport.

A red Big Apple representing the City of New York emerges from the Mets Magic Top Hat, a giant upside-down black top hat, and flashes whenever a Mets player hits a home run. Located beyond the center field wall, just to the right of the 410 foot mark, the apple features the Mets logo and the words home run in big letters. Prior to 1984, the hat featured the words "Mets Magic" in honor of the phrase used through the early parts of the decade that "The Magic Is Back".

Shea Stadium!
Buy at
New York Mets - Shea Stadium
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04/17/1964 Pirates 4, Mets 3
Umpires Tom Gorman, Bill Williams
  Vinnie Smith, Chris Pelekoudas
Managers Casey Stengel, Mets
  Danny Murtaugh, Pirates
Starting Pitchers Jack Fisher, Mets
  Bob Friend, Pirates
Ceremonial Pitch William Shea, NY Baseball
Committee Chair
Attendance 50,312
Batter Dick Schofield (pop out)
Hit Willie Stargell (home run)
Run Willie Stargell
RBI Willie Stargell
Single Bob Bailey
Double Ron Hunt
Triple Roberto Clemente (04/18/1964)
Home Run Willie Stargell
Grand Slam Jim Hickman (08/19/1964)
IPHR Ron Hunt (06/05/1966)
Stolen Base Joe Christopher
Sacrifice Hit Bob Friend
Sacrifice Fly Jack Fisher (05/13/1964)
Cycle Wes Parker (05/07/1970)
Win Bob Friend
Loss Ed Bauta
Shutout Al Jackson (04/19/1964)
Save Roy Face (04/18/1964)
Hit by Pitch Bob Friend hit Jim Hickman
Wild Pitch Larry Bearnarth (05/06/1964)
Balk Bill Wakefield (07/30/1964)
No-Hitter Jim Bunning (06/21/1964)
Perfect Game Jim Bunning (06/21/1964)
Primary research by Jim Herdman & David Vincent
Courtesy of Retrosheet

For 40 years, the Mets' theme song, Meet the Mets, has been played at Shea before every home game. As of the home game played on the night of June 10th, 2005, the Mets have played more games at Shea Stadium than the Brooklyn Dodgers did at the legendary Ebbets Field.

Stadium rock was born here in August 1965, when The Beatles opened their 1965 North American tour at Shea Stadium to a record audience of 56,000. Shea Stadium can be reached via the New York City Subway using the 7 line.

The Future: New Mets Stadium

On June 12, 2005 a plan for a New Mets Stadium in Willetts Point, Queens in the parking lot of Shea Stadium was announced. If approved it is to be completed for the 2009 baseball season. The plan was to use the stadium for the 2012 Olympics while the Mets would play at the new Yankee Stadium in The Bronx for the 2012 season. This would have put the Mets in much the same situation as the Yankees were in 1974-1975 when they played in Shea Stadium while Yankee Stadium was renovated. Despite New York's loss of the 2012 Olympics to London, the Mets still plan to build their new stadium in time for the 2009 season.

Related Books on Ballparks
The Ballpark Book: A Journey Through the Fields of Baseball Magic by Ron Smith and Kevin Belford.
Ballpark: The Story of America's Baseball Fields by Lynn Curlee
Ballparks: A Panoramic History by Marc Sandalow and Jim Sutton.
Ballparks by Robert Von Goeben and Red Howard.
Ballparks: Then & Now by Eric Enders.
Baseball Vacations: Great Family Trips to Minor League and Classic Major League Ballbarks Across America by Bruce Adams and Margaret Engel.
Blue Skies, Green Fields: A Celebration of 50 Major League Baseball Stadiums by Ira Rosen.
Diamonds: The Evolution of the Ballpark by Michael Gershman.
Fields of Dreams: A Guide to Visiting and Enjoying All 30 Major League Ballparks by Jay Ahuja
Green Cathedrals: The Ultimate Celebration of All Major League and Negro League Ballparks by Philip J. Lowry.
Joe Mock's Ballpark Guide by Joe Mock.
Lost Ballparks: A Celebration of Baseball's Legendary Fields by Lawrence S. Ritter.
Roadside Baseball: A Guide to Baseball Shrines Across America by Chris Epting.
Take Me Out to the Ballpark: An Illustrated Tour of Baseball Parks Past and Present by Josh Leventhal and Jessica Macmurray.
The Ultimate Baseball Road-Trip: A Fan's Guide to Major League Stadiums by Joshua Pahigian and Kevin O'Connell.
Video: Story of America's Classic Ballparks
Video: Baseball: A Film by Ken Burns

Economics of Stadiums
City Baseball Magic: Plain Talk and Uncommon Sense about Cities and Baseball Parks by Philip Bess.
Field of Schemes: How the Great Stadium Swindle Turns Public Money into Private Profit by Joanna Cagan and Neil deMause.
Public Dollars, Private Stadiums: The Battle over Building Sports Stadiums by Kevin J. Delaney and Rick Eckstein.
Sports, Jobs, and Taxes: The Economic Impact of Sports Teams and Stadiums by Roger G. Noll and Andrew Zimbalist.

General Stadium Reference:
Sports Staff of USA Today. The Complete 4 Sport Stadium Guide. Fodor's, 1996.

Stadium Design and Financing References:
Philip Bess. City Baseball Magic: Plain Talk and Uncommon Sense about Cities and Baseball Parks. Knothole Press, 1999.
Joanna Cagan and Neil deMause. Field of Schemes: How the Great Stadium Swindle Turns Public Money into Private Profit. Common Courage Press, 1998.
Mark S. Rosentraub. Major League Losers: The Real Cost of Sports and Who's Paying for It. HarperCollins, 1997.
Kevin J. Delaney, Rick Eckstein. Public Dollars, Private Stadiums: The Battle over Building Sports Stadiums. Rutgers University Press, 2004.
Roger G. Noll and Andrew Zimbalist. Sports, Jobs, and Taxes: The Economic Impact of Sports Teams and Stadiums. Brookings Institution, 1997.
Dean V. Baim. The Sports Stadium as a Municipal Investment. Greenwood Publishing, 1994.
Stadia: A Design and Development Guide by Geraint John and Rod Sheard. Architectural Press, 2000.
Michelle Provoost, Matthjis Bouw and Camiel Van Winkel. The Stadium: Architecture of Mass Sport. NAI Publishers, 2000.

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Shea Stadium from the parking lot in 1971.

NARA Documerica Photo

Year by Year statistics: for Shea Stadium

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It uses material from this Wikipedia article, which is probably more up to date than ours (retrieved August 12, 2005).

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