If you have never heard of, you must have been living under a rock. Even if you aren’t a New Yorker, everyone in the world knows of Shea Stadium, home at one point of the famed New York Mets, New York Jets, New York Yankees and the New York Giants.
While the original name was supposed to be “Flushing Meadow Park Municipal Stadium”, it was named after the public park of its location. William A. Shea had been the person to return National League baseball to New York; and thus Shea Stadium was the given name. In 1964 Shea Stadium opened with over 57,000 seating capacity for baseball and over 62,000 football fans could be seated. The stadiums ‘foul territory’ was one of the largest in the major leagues. Renovations over the years changed the lines of demarcation. The natural grass used was one of the preferred playing fields, with fewer injuries to players.
The famous scoreboard was enhanced with an artist’s rendition of the New York skyline and has remained as part of the logo of the team. In honor of those lost on September 11th attack, the lights over the Twin Towers were not lit, but instead, covered in a ribbon of red, white and blue.
Four World Series games were played at Shea Stadium: 1969, 1973, 1986 and the last in 2000. The 1969 World Series game became especially notable as the team was coined the “Miracle Mets”. The intensity of the fans at the post game win hasn’t been seen since. The fans left their seats and swarmed across the field in their exuberance. The “Meet the Mets” theme song was performed before every home game at Shea Stadium.
The New York Jets played at Shea from 1964 through 1983. Shea Stadium was home to three of the playoff games for the Jets. The New York Giants also used Shea while they waited for completion of the Giants Stadium. The International Soccer League called Shea Stadium their home in 1965.
Not limited to sports, Shea was host to numerous concerts, including: The Beatles opening tour in 1965, the Summer Festival for Peace in 1970 that featured Paul Simon, Janice Joplin, The James Gang, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Miles Davis, Steppenwolf, John Sebastian and many of the times hottest selling rock, blues, jazz and folk artists. Others to perform at Shea Stadium were Tony Bennett, Bruce Springsteen, Jethro Tull, The Police, Joan Jett, Simon & Garfunkel and The Rolling Stones.
After many years, it was decided that Shea had lived its life to the fullest. New York City law dictates that Shea could not be imploded, but would be dismantled instead. Jan. 31st, 2009 was the final swan song for Shea. Fans showed up for a last tour, related songs and shared their stories. After the final game, anything that could be salvaged was removed and sold as memorabilia. This included signage, dugouts, seats, foul poles and the huge Shea letters. The pitcher’s mound, home plate and bases are placed at the parking lot in Citi Field in honor of the stadium.