Polo Grounds IV, an iconic name in the annals of baseball history, evokes a bygone era of the sport’s rich heritage. Nestled in Upper Manhattan, New York, it was much more than a ballpark; it was a field of dreams for many baseball legends and fans.
Stadium Facts about Polo Grounds IV
- Location: Upper Manhattan, New York
- Opened On: June 28, 1911
- Closed On: September 18, 1963
- Home Team: New York Giants (National League), briefly by New York Mets
- Stadium Nicknames: “The Polo Grounds”
- Dimensions: Left Field – 279 feet, Center Field – 483 feet, Right Field – 258 feet
- Capacity: Around 55,000
- Attendance Record: Not specifically recorded, but known for large crowds, especially during World Series games
- Surface: Grass
- Architect: Unknown
- Owner: Various, including the New York Giants
The Polo Grounds IV, opened in 1911, was the fourth and most famous of the Polo Grounds ballparks. It was primarily the home of the New York Giants until they moved to San Francisco after the 1957 season. The stadium was also briefly home to the New York Mets in their inaugural season and several other teams, including football teams, over the years.
Design and Features
The Polo Grounds was famous for its unique, bathtub-like shape, with very short distances down the right and left-field lines but an exceptionally deep center field. This unusual configuration created distinctive challenges and opportunities in gameplay. The stadium’s most famous feature was the expansive center field, which was one of the deepest in baseball history.
Throughout its history, the Polo Grounds underwent various renovations to maintain and improve the facility. These included rebuilding efforts after a fire in 1911 and several modifications to the stands and field over the years. However, the essential character of the stadium, particularly its unique field dimensions, remained largely unchanged.
Facilities at the Polo Grounds, while not as modern as today’s standards, had a classic charm. The stadium featured basic concession stands, traditional seating with a close view of the field, and a scoreboard that became an iconic part of its architecture. The Polo Grounds’ lack of modern amenities was part of its historic allure.
Memorable Moments at Polo Grounds IV
- Shot Heard ‘Round the World: Bobby Thomson’s famous home run in 1951.
- Willie Mays’ Amazing Catch: In the 1954 World Series, one of the most celebrated plays in baseball history.
- Numerous World Series: Hosting multiple World Series, contributing to its lore.
- Legendary Players: Home to many baseball greats like Willie Mays, Mel Ott, and Christy Mathewson.
- Final Game: The emotional last game played by the Giants in 1957.
Interesting Baseball History at Polo Grounds IV
- Evolution of Baseball: The Polo Grounds witnessed significant changes in the sport, from player strategies to fan experiences.
- Baseball during War Years: Hosted games during the challenging times of World War II.
- Integration of Baseball: Like many stadiums of its era, it was part of the sport’s integration journey.
- Home to Baseball Legends: The Polo Grounds was where many legendary careers were shaped and celebrated.
Apart from baseball, the Polo Grounds was a versatile venue, hosting American football games, including significant NFL games, boxing matches, and other sports events. Its role in these events underscored its significance beyond baseball, serving as a multipurpose sports venue in New York City. The variety of events held at the Polo Grounds illustrated its importance in the broader sports and cultural landscape of the city.