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The Old Shea Stadium

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By the time the old Shea Stadium said goodbye, it had been in existence for 44 years. Thinking back, it is hard to imagine that at one point in the history of baseball, the Mets were an expansion team some sixty years after their cross-town American League rivals first took the field. Oh, and for all you informational buffs out there the stadium was originally called the Flushing Meadow Park Municipal Stadium.

Over the years, Shea Stadium housed some of the greatness baseball players ever to walk on the field. Names like Duke Snider, Nolan Ryan, Warren Spahn, Tom Seaver, Willie Mays, Eddie Murray, Yogi Berra, Casey Stengel, Richie Ashburn, and Gary Carter who all became Hall of Famers. Then we can't forget the entertaining players that just gritted it out everyday like Lenny "Nails" Dykstra and Gil Hodges.

Yes, there have been lots of good times and a few bad times; we've been confronted with ugly and outrageous behavior of players and fans, but in the end we have some awesome memories woven into the fabric of the stadium's history. Take the 1986 Mets versus Boston Red Sox World Series game, for example, where we watched Dwight Gooden and Daryl Strawberry take the Mets to a victorious climax, winning the World Series that year. Regrettably, the notoriety and high living took its toll as both players spent the remaining years of their baseball careers dealing with the consequences of drug use and other problems.

In 1969 we saw the Amazin' Mets win their first Championship if no one really knew of the young Nolan Ryan who would spend the next 27 years earning the record of the player who struck out 5,714 batters. Remarkable moments like these abound throughout the history of Shea Stadium; in fact, one could literally write a book about the colorful and extraordinary events. And although a new chapter in the stadium's history begins, those special memories of the past will live in the hearts of Mets' fans around the world for eternity.

Outside of baseball though was the remembrance of 9/11. Shea Stadium became the centerpiece for supplies, food, and a place to stay for all the victims to utilize. It took an unprecedented for the MLB to get back to everyday life, but for New York, it was one of the most inspiring nights ever in baseball history. Over 41,000 fans packed the stadium to watch the Mets take on the Braves and keep those who were lost close to all our hearts. If mixed in with great baseball everyone will tell you that Shea was a place like no other. Here's to 50 more years of baseball history.

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