Shea Stadium

Shea Stadium, once a bustling hub of baseball in Flushing, Queens, New York, holds a storied place in the history of Major League Baseball (MLB). Known for its passionate fans and memorable moments, it was more than just a ballpark for the New York Mets; it was a symbol of the team’s identity and its connection with the city.

Stadium Facts about Shea Stadium

  • Location: Flushing, Queens, New York
  • Opened On: April 17, 1964
  • Closed On: September 28, 2008
  • Home Team: New York Mets (National League)
  • Stadium Nicknames: N/A
  • Dimensions: Left Field – 338 feet, Center Field – 410 feet, Right Field – 338 feet
  • Capacity: Approximately 57,333
  • Attendance Record: 60,372 (September 28, 1985)
  • Surface: Grass
  • Architect: Praeger-Kavanaugh-Waterbury
  • Owner: City of New York

The History

Shea Stadium was opened in 1964 to provide a new home for the New York Mets, a team that had been playing at the Polo Grounds since its inception in 1962. Named after William A. Shea, the man responsible for bringing National League baseball back to New York, the stadium was celebrated for bringing a modern baseball experience to fans.

Over its 44 years of operation, Shea Stadium was not only the scene of significant baseball history but also witnessed the evolution of the Mets from lovable losers to World Series champions. The stadium’s closure and subsequent demolition in 2008 made way for Citi Field, the current home of the Mets.

Design and Features

Shea Stadium’s design was emblematic of the multi-purpose stadiums of its era. It featured a circular shape with symmetrical dimensions and seating that wrapped around the entirety of the playing field. This design allowed it to host both baseball and football games, although it primarily served as the home for the Mets.

The stadium was known for its colorful seats, ranging in hues from red to green, and the iconic “Big Apple” that emerged from a top hat every time a Mets player hit a home run. Despite its relatively plain exterior, the stadium’s interior was vibrant and full of character.


Throughout its lifetime, Shea Stadium underwent several renovations and upgrades. These included installing modern scoreboards, enhancing seating areas, and improving the general facilities to enhance the fan experience.

In its later years, efforts were made to maintain the stadium’s functionality and charm despite growing calls for a newer, more modern ballpark. These renovations were a testament to Shea’s enduring appeal to Mets fans and its significance in New York’s baseball culture.


Shea Stadium offered a range of facilities typical of its era. The concessions featured a variety of classic ballpark fare, catering to the diverse tastes of New York’s fans. The seating areas, though not as luxurious as those in newer stadiums, provided great views of the field and contributed to the stadium’s lively atmosphere.

The stadium’s location in Queens, adjacent to LaGuardia Airport, made it easily accessible, though it also led to the unique experience of planes frequently flying overhead during games.

Memorable Moments at Shea Stadium

  • 1969 World Series: The “Miracle Mets” winning their first World Series.
  • 1986 World Series: The dramatic Game 6 victory en route to the Mets’ second championship.
  • Mike Piazza’s Post-9/11 Home Run: A powerful moment in the city’s healing process.
  • Final Game: The emotional last game in 2008, marking the end of an era.
  • The Beatles Concert: One of the first major rock concerts held at a sports stadium.

Interesting Baseball History at Shea Stadium

  • All-Star Games: Hosting the 1964 and 1977 MLB All-Star Games.
  • Historic Players and Performances: The field saw play by legendary Mets players like Tom Seaver, Darryl Strawberry, and Dwight Gooden.
  • Rivalry Games: The venue for many memorable Mets-Yankees Subway Series games.
  • Record-Breaking Attendance: Shea often saw large crowds, especially during the Mets’ successful seasons.

Non-Baseball Events

Shea Stadium was not limited to baseball; it was a venue for numerous other events, emphasizing its role as a multi-purpose facility. It hosted football games, major concerts (including The Beatles and The Rolling Stones), religious events, and political rallies. These diverse events underscored the stadium’s importance beyond baseball, serving as a cultural and entertainment hub in New York. The range of events held at Shea Stadium highlighted its significance in the broader social and cultural fabric of the city.