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Shea Stadium

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Home of the New York Mets, 1964 to present Home of the New York Yankees, 1974 and 1975

(also known as Flushing Meadow Stadium, 1964)


BUILT: 1964

CAPACITY: 55,600

FIRST GAME: April 17, 1964, vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (Pirates 4, Mets 3)

DIMENSIONS: 338 down the lines, 381 to power alleys, 410 to dead center

HITTER OR PITCHER PARK?: Pitcher

LOCATION: Flushing Meadows, Queens, New York City, New York

OTHER OCCUPANTS: New York Jets (NFL), 1964 to 1983; New York Giants (NFL), 1975

GOOGLE EARTH: View Shea Stadium in Google Earth

Aerial shot of a night game at Shea in 1964/65.

Shea Stadium was built for the New York Mets and football's New York Jets for the 1964 season. It has hosted events other than baseball and football, though. It has hosted soccer games, big boxing matches, and is in the annals of pop history for being the venue of a Beatles concert on August 15th, 1965. It has hosted the All-Star Game once, on July 7th, 1964. Other big events at the stadium include the 1968 AFL Championship Game between the Jets and the Raiders, as well as an appearance by Pope John Paul II on October 3rd, 1979. The stadium has played co-host to four World Series (1969, 1973, 1986 and 2000). The New York Yankees borrowed Shea as a second home during renovations to Yankee Stadium in 1974 and 1975 and briefly in 1998.

Shea Stadium is one of the larger stadiums in MLB, due to its pulling double duty for both baseball and football. Unfortunately for the Mets, the Jets quite rudely bolted from Shea in 1983 to play at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ, leaving the Mets with tons of seats that are rarely occupied except during extraordinarily huge games and special events. It could have been worse. Plans to complete Shea's circle and raise the capacity to a mind-blowing 90,000 were killed off, saving the Mets the indignity of playing in front of even more empty seats. Shea Stadium is host to the largest scoreboard in the majors, but unfortunately all ambience is shattered by the roar of jet planes (they were so common above Shea that the New York Titans renamed themselves the Jets in "honor" of them) landing and taking off at nearby LaGuardia International Airport.

Great controversy surrounded the Westside stadium project, which would have provided a venue for the Olympics in 2012 as well as a new home for the New York Jets. Ultimately, that plan fell through, so Mayor Bloomberg and the city's Olympic committee turned to the Mets, who are in dire need of a new ballpark. Even though New York was not selected to host the 2012 Olympics, plans for a new stadium resembling Ebbets Field are under way. The new ballpark is expected to be ready for Opening Day 2009.

Shea Stadium is named for William Shea, a prominent New York lawyer who was able to procure a National League team for the Mets in 1960.

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