History of Shea Stadium
Shea Stadium opened to the public on April 17, 1964 with the Mets losing to the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-3 before a crowd of 50,312. The Mets would soon become no stranger to losses, with over 3,000 to date, but they've also had some unforgettable wins. On October 16, 1969, the "Amazin" Mets won the decisive Game 5 of the World Series against the Baltimore Orioles and fans stormed the field at Shea in celebration. It remains one of the greatest Series upsets of all time, as the team was a perennial cellar-dweller. Earlier that year, Shea's other tenant, the New York Jets, led by "Broadway" Joe Namath, pulled off a major upset of their own, defeating the Baltimore Colts in the Super Bowl. A little known fact is that Shea also housed the New York Yankees and Giants in 1975, while Yankee and Giants Stadiums were under construction.
On October 25, 1986, the Mets were one out away from losing the World Series to the Boston Red Sox. Urged on by the fans at Shea, the Mets mounted one of the unlikeliest comebacks in World Series history, capped by Mookie Wilson's famous grounder through the legs of Boston 1st basemen Bill Buckner. The Mets won the game and went on to win their second World Series.
The loudest cheers and screams ever absorbed by Shea's steel beams were a result of the British Invasion. On August 15, 1965, Shea was the home of the first Beatles concert in North America, marking the first time a major outdoor stadium was used for a concert. The Beatles played only 12 songs that night, but the impact of "Beatlemania" changed the history of Shea and the band forever. In addition to performers and athletes, Shea Stadium was also the host of Pope John Paul II in October 1979, in his first U.S. appearance.
On September 28, 2008, the Mets played their final regular season game at Shea Stadium against the Florida Marlins. They lost 4-2 and were eliminated from the playoffs. It was the end of a season and the end of an era.