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Photos at Shea Stadium in 1965

While going through an old box of slides and photo transparencies from the sixties, I found some dated July 1965, and after popping one in to my slide scanner, I was thrilled to see it was Shea Stadium. While these photos were before my time, I have been to Shea Stadium twice in the 1990s to see the New York Mets play, but it didn't look like this!

Shea Stadium 1965

The story of Shea Stadium is an interesting one. To sum it up, we need to go back to 1957, when New York had two National League baseball teams - the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Giants. They also had the New York Yankees, but the Yankees are in the American League, East division.

The New York Giants had played ball at the Polo Grounds since 1891, and The Brooklyn Dodgers played at both Washington Park and Eastern Park before using Ebbets Field, which they used for about 43 years. Both teams were in need of new stadiums. The owner of the Dodgers, Walter O'Malley, wanted to build a new stadium in Brooklyn at his own expense, but New York officials wanted the city to build the stadium and lease it out. Furthermore, the city insisted the new stadium be built at Flushing Meadow Park, so O'Malley packed up and moved to Southern California. The New York Giants baseball team also moved to California. so, the Brooklyn Dodgers became the Los Angeles Dodgers, the New York Giants became the San Francisco Giants, and New York was left without representation in the National League from 1958 to 1962.

Finally, in 1962 a new National League team was formed. They were called the New York Mets and their colors were a combination of the two departed teams - blue from the Dodgers and orange from the Giants. The Mets played at the Polo Grounds, while the new stadium was being planned and conflicts over everything from financing to electrical work caused many challenges and setbacks. The stadium finally opened on April 17, 1964, when the Mets faced the Pittsburgh Pirates with a crowd of a little over 50,000 people in attendance. Sadly, the Mets lost 4-3. They played 82 games at Shea in 1964.

Shea Stadium was located on Roosevelt Avenue in Flushing, Queens, New York. The first game played there was five days before the 1964-65 New York World's Fair, which was held near the stadium, so the stadium was decorated with blue and orange panels coordinating with the fair's futuristic theme. The panels remained until 1980. Shea Stadium hosted the World Series in 1969, 1973, 1986, and 2000.

The Mets shared the field with the New York Jets (football team) from 1964 until 1983, converting it for use as a baseball field in the Spring and a football field in the Fall. In 1983 the Jets moved to New Jersey to share Giants Stadium with the New York Giants (football).

The Mets continued to play at Shea Stadium until 2008, when it was demolished to make space for additional parking for their new home at Citi Field, which was completed in 2009. Their last game at Shea Stadium was against the Florida Marlins on September 28, 2008. The Mets lost 2-4.

The photographs in the slides that got me all into this story were stamped by Kodak, "JUL 65", so I went to find out which game they were taken at. Even if we don't recognize the red and white uniforms, we can see in the scoreboard photo that the Mets were playing the St. Louis Cardinals. The Mets were losing 3-0 at the bottom of the second inning. I found a site that helped me find the roster for 1965, so I checked all the games they played against the Cardinals that year finding they played 18 games, of which they only won 5 that year. I was then able to check each game's "play by play" and found that on Sunday, July 4, 1965, the Mets played the Cardinals and at the bottom of the second inning, the score was 3-0. The final score was 6-2, with the Mets losing again. It was game #81 of the 1965 season but it was their 38th home game that year, so in these photos we see their 120th game played at Shea Stadium. The Mets' record for the season was 27-53 (W-L) when the game was over. Overall, they won 50 games that season and lost 112.

These photos were sitting in storage for the past 60 years and I just thought they should be shared in memory of Shea Stadium and it's part in the changing of New York baseball, a major part of New York's culture. I hope you enjoy them! For those interested in copies of some of these rare old photos and more, check out my gallery on FineArtAmerica.


Shea Stadium [Wikipedia]

Scores and Standings Sunday, July 04, 1965 []

Mets 1964 Schedule []

Mets 1965 Schedule []

Scores and Standings Sunday, September 28, 2008 []


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