We just watched the “Amazing Shea” special on WNBC here in New York. Great job, Stephanie and everyone there at WNBC. Loved the vintage footage of Jets practices and the color film of early Met games at Shea. The interviews with Kranepool, Ed Charles, Bobby V, Rusty et al were excellent. Nice touch getting Gil Hodges’ widow, Bob Mandt and the original Mr. Met on screen.
The only complaint: the special should have been an hour. Actually, it should have been two hours. OK maybe a 24–hour marathon of nothing but Shea Stadium would have been most appropriate. But now we’re nit-picking.
The best part about running Loge13.com is that we get to host a documentary just like “Amazing Shea” all the time. Fans have been sending in their Shea memories since we launched. Longtime Loge13’er Bobster sent along his own Shea memories last week after reading the Gary Myers column in the NY Daily News. I think the Bobster’s words are a fitting post mortem to the Amazing Shea night:
Really nice column by Gary Myers yesterday. I never worked at Shea, but it holds plenty of memories for me.
One just came back to me. In the early '70s, I stopped by Shea's ticket office on a summer's off-day to see if I could buy a yearbook. The guy at the ticket window told me to go inside the stadium and stop by a particular office where I could buy one (I think it was either 50 or 75 cents).
It was quite exciting as a 16-year-old kid to be wandering around an empty Shea Stadium on my own. After I bought the yearbook, I walked out into the field level seats. Wow! I sat down among the acres of empty seats and took it all in, looking all around the quiet park, the giant scoreboard blank. The sun shone down on the green grass. There were only two other people there, a Mets executive named Fred Trask and somebody I had never seen before. They were sitting right behind the visiting dugout discussing something, and never saw me.
I felt like the luckiest guy in New York!
My first game at Shea was on July 1, 1965, when my dad took me to Shea using Borden's coupons cut out of milk cartons by my mom. A rare victory that day, with Ed Kranepool hitting a homer. My last was in 1998, a Met win over the Expos. In between I must have seen over 100 games at Shea, including Game 3 of the 1969 World Series, and watched thousands more broadcast from the stadium. I moved away from New York in 1984, but my heart never left Shea.
Last October, on a trip to New York, I made what I knew would be my last visit to Shea. The Mets had just ended their 2007 season in bitter disappointment, but my mind was on earlier seasons. I made sure to have a photo taken of me outside the stadium, with the 1969 championship mural in the background. That season remains my fondest childhood memory (along with visiting the 1964-65 World's Fair that was across the street).
I remember reading a quote by the great Brooklyn Dodger broadcaster Red Barber. He said that after the Dodgers left Brooklyn, he never went back to where Ebbets Field once stood. As far as he was concerned, the old ballpark was still there, and he didn't want to spoil that thought. I'll kind of feel like that when Shea disappears, but not with the bitterness that Barber felt. After all, the Mets didn't leave the city, they'll just be playing in the parking lot outside of Shea Stadium.
Well said, Bobster. Thanks for the photo and the great note. Opening Day is less than 48 hours away. The last Shea opener is 10 days from now. We have one more year of Shea memories to create – not 44 years of history to lament. Time to play ball!
If you have photos, videos or random thoughts to share about Shea, send ‘em along to kingman AT blogsbyfans.com.