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William A. Shea Municipal Stadium, usually shortened to Shea Stadium, is an American baseball stadium in New York City. It is the longtime home of the New York Mets Major League Baseball club, and one of the oldest ballparks in the National League. It is located in the Flushing section of Queens, on Long Island. The stadium is to be replaced in 2009 by Citi Field, which is currently under construction.
Shea Stadium is named after William A. Shea, an attorney who was instrumental in acquiring a new team for New York following the city's abandonment by the Giants and the Dodgers in the 1950s. Appointed chairman of the Baseball Commission by then New York mayor Robert Wagner, Shea first tried to get the Cincinnati Reds, the Pittsburgh Pirates, or the Philadelphia Phillies to move to New York, but had no luck. He then tried to organize a third major league, the Continental League, in 1958, with a franchise for New York, but 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. There were rumors that New York would be rejected unless it guaranteed construction of a new stadium. At Shea’s suggestion, Wagner sent telegrams to each owner with such an assurance, and the Mets started play in 1962.
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.
- Shea Stadium hosted the 1964 All Star Game, won by the National League, 7-4.
- Christened April 16, 1964, with Dodgers Holy Water from the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn and Giants Holy Water from the Harlem River at the exact location where it passed the old Polo Grounds.
- The Scoreboard in right-center 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 New York Yankees called Shea home from April 6, 1974, to September 28, 1975 while Yankee Stadium was renovated.
- Shea Stadium was home to the New York Jets from 1964 to 1983. Joe Namath and the Jets edged the Oakland Raiders, 27-23, in the AFL Championship game at Shea before winning Super Bowl III in the Orange Bowl in 1969. The Buffalo Bills' O.J. Simpson became the first runner in NFL history to eclipse 2,000 rushing yards in a season against the Jets at Shea in 1973.
- Pope John Paul II said mass at Shea on October 3, 1979.
- Shea hosted a Beatles concert on August 24, 1966 and The Rolling Stones played the stadium in October 1989.
- The Mets set a then-New York attendance record by drawing 3,047,724 fans during the 1988 season.
- Game: April 17, 1964. Pirates 4, Mets 3. (WP-Bob Friend, LP-Ed Bauta)
- Batter: Dick Schofield, Pirates. (popped out to second baseman Larry Burright)
- Mets Batter: Tim Harkness. (grounded out to shortstop Dick Schofield)
- Hit: Willie Stargell, Pirates. (second inning homer off Jack Fischer)
- Mets Hit: Tim Harkness. (third inning single off Friend)
- Single: Bob Bailey, Pirates (second inning off Fischer)
- Double: Ron Hunt, Mets (fourth inning off Friend)
- Triple: Roberto Clemente, Pirates (sixth inning off Jerry Hinsley 4/18/64)
- Mets Triple: Jesse Gonder (first inning off St. Louis' Ernie Broglio 5/8/64)
- Mets home run: Ron Hunt. (eighth inning off Chicago's Dick Ellsworth 4/23/64)
- Stolen Base: Joe Christopher, Mets. (sixth inning, Pirates, 4/19/64)
- Strikeout: Roberto Clemente, Pirates. (first inning against Fischer 4/17/64)
- Walk: Jim Hickman, Mets. (second inning against Friend 4/17/64)
- Hit Batter: Jim Hickman, Mets (fourth inning against Friend 4/17/64)
- Wild Pitch: Larry Bearnarth, Mets (fifth inning, Cincinnati, 5/6/64)
- Error: Bill Mazeroski, Pirates. (sixth inning 4/17/64)
- Mets Win: April 19, 1964. Mets 6, Pirates 0. (WP-Al Jackson, LP-Bob Veale)
- Shutout: Al Jackson, Mets. (Mets 6, Pirates 0, 4/19/64. six-hitter)
- Night Game: May 6, 1964. Reds 12, Mets 4.