123-01 Roosevelt Avenue
For ticket information call: (718)
Who Plays Here: New
York Mets (NL)
First Opened: April 17, 1964
Owner: City of New York
Cost: $28.5 million
After the departures of the Dodgers to Los Angeles and the Giants to San
Francisco in 1958, New York created a baseball commission to bring another
team to the Big Apple. Appointed chairman of the Baseball Commission
by then New York mayor Robert Wagner, William ALfred Shea tried
unsuccessfully to get the Cincinnati Reds, the Pittsburgh Pirates, or the
Philadelphia Phillies to move to New York. He
then tried to organize a third major league, the Continental League, in
1958, with a franchise for New York. The new league recruited the
support of Branch Rickey and Senator Estes Kefauver, and proceeded to
establish franchises in Atlanta, Buffalo, Dallas-Ft. Forth, Denver,
Houston, Minneapolis, and Toronto.
MLB didn't want a friendly
relationship with the new league, and after a special ruling by Congress
exempting baseball from anti-trust laws, the Continental League had to
compromise. They eventually reached a deal with Shea, allowing a new
franchise to from in New York, and the league died before a single game
was played. In
1960, National League owners decided to expand to 10 teams and awarded
franchises to Houston and New York.
Shea Stadium opened in 1964 and is one
of the oldest ballparks in the majors.
Originally, the Mets were to play only one season at the Polo Grounds, the
former home of the New York Giants. However, construction of the new
ballpark fell behind schedule. Shea Stadium cost $28.5 million to build
and took 29 months from its groundbreaking on October 28, 1961, to its
dedication on April 17, 1964.
It was originally to be called Flushing Meadow Park, but a movement was
quickly launched to name it in honor of Shea. The stadium contains
24 ramps and 21 escalators. 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 Stadium is the noisiest outdoor ballpark in the majors because it is
in the flight path of La Guardia Airport. The story goes that when the
city scouted out stadium sites in 1962, they went during the winter, when
flight paths into La Guardia are different, so they never anticipated the
aircraft noise. The Mets new stadium has a target completion date of 2004 and will seat
45,000 for baseball. The new facility will feature a retractable roof, 78
luxury suites and a roll-out natural grass field.
Shea Stadium Firsts:
Game - April 17, 1964 vs. Pirates
Batter - Dick Schofield
Hit - Willie Stargell
Home run - Willie
Stolen base - Joe Christopher
Strikeout - Roberto
Shutout - Al Jackson
Error - Bill Mazeroski
- May 6, 1964
Extra-inning game - May 31, 1964
the spacious ballpark has the worst visibility in the majors for hitters -
add that to its long alleys, deep center field and large foul territory,
and it is an excellent pitcher's park. What's more, swirling winds
conspire against extra-base hits, and the roar of jet engines can disrupt
hitter's concentrations. The park's dimensions don't look menacing -
338 down the lines and 378 to the alleys - but the wall drops back quickly
from the foul poles and results in a lot of fair territory.
The smooth, comfortable grass doesn't
require outfielders to possess blazing speed to run down line drives.
The spacious outfield makes it important to get a good jump on the ball,
though the poor lighting makes this the toughest challenge for
outfielders. Infielders don't have to deal with hot grounders or bad
2001 STATS, Inc.
benefits: Pitchers love it here,
especially ground ball pitchers. Lefties do especially well, perhaps
because of wind patterns, and right-handed hitters suffer
disproportionately. The biggest beneficiary has been Al Leiter,
whose home ERA was a run better last year.
This is an especially good place to groom young pitchers, because they can
challenge hitters without consequence. That's exactly what happened
in 1969, when Tom Seaver (age 25 - 25-7, 2.21 ERA), Jerry Koosman (age 27
- 17-9, 2.28 ERA), Nolan Ryan (age 22 - 6-3, 3.53 ERA), and Tug McGraw
(age 25 - 9-3, 2.24 ERA) and Jim McAndrew (age 25 - 6-7, 3.47 ERA) formed
the best young rotation in baseball history and won the World
Series. A few other teams have put together such great young
rotations - the 1985 Blue Jays come to mind, as do the 1993 Atlanta
Braves. Maybe the 1967 White Sox, though they were led by two
30-year-olds (Joe Horlen and Gary Peters) or the 1974 Oakland Athletics.
The Mets again put together a first-rate young rotation in 1986, when
Dwight Gooden (age 21 - 17-6, 2.84 ERA, 200 K), Ron Darling (age 25 -
15-6, 2.81 ERA), Sid Fernandez (age 23 - 16-6, 3.52 ERA) and Bobby Ojeda
(age 28 - 18-5, 2.57 ERA) formed what I believe was the best rotation
gets hurt: Power hitters,
especially righties with alley power. Last year, the park suppressed
lefty power more than righty power for the first time in 7 years - and
even then, not by a significant amount.
The park doesn't really harm any one category of hitter because of its
symmetry. Mike Piazza fares much better on the road - in 2000, he
hit .377 Avg-21 HR-60 RBI-.701 SLG on the road, .269-17-53-.525 at
home. In 1999, he was .282-15-56-.536 at home, .323-22-68-.610 on
the road. Same deal for 1998 - his average was 39 points higher on
Edgardo Alfonzo also suffers at home. In 2000, 1999 and 1998, he has
hit 41, 45 and 95 points better on the road respectively - cumulatively,
he has hit 32 HR at home and 37 on the road in those seasons. His
slugging average has 42, 115 and 139 points better on the road in the last
NY: Center field (E), 126th Street; third base (N), Whitestone
Expressway/Interstate 678 and Flushing Bay; home plate (W), Grand Central
Parkway; first base (S), Roosevelt Avenue; in Queens, near Flushing Meadow
Park, site of the 1939 and 1964 World’s Fairs, just southeast of La
lines: 330 (marked, l964), 341 (actual, 1964), 341 (1965), 338 (1979)
alleys: 371, 378 (current)
territory: Very large.
- Lowest triples factor in NL in 2000
- Lowest doubles factor in NL in 1999
- Right-center scoreboard is one of
largest in the majors, 175 feet long and 86 feet high with Bulova
clock on top, about 25 feet behind the outfield fence.
- The Beatles played before 53,275 fans
in August 1965 and again in August 1966.
- The New York Yankees played there from
April 6, 1974, to September 28, 1975 while Yankee Stadium was