As the final season at Shea Stadium draws to a close, I thought it would be a fun idea to share some of Mets Merized’s very own favorite moments at Shea. Thanks to everyone who was so eager to contribute their story to this compilation. Anyone who is a true Mets fan and/or who has been to Shea will certainly appreciate this. Maybe you, too, were a part of some of these memories and can relate to them. Feel free to leave comments to reminisce some more about the mentioned moments, or to share your own favorite moment with the rest of us!
And now….sit back….relax….and enjoy the show!
Unfortunately I live in Oklahoma and have never been to New York much less Shea Stadium. But I do look forward to reading everyone’s responses!
I wasn’t at Shea for any great games but I did manage to get tickets for the LAST Last Play at Shea. It was the best concert I’ve ever seen. During “Zanzibar,” Billy paid tribute to the great Mets moments at Shea. There was a sign on the Mezzanine that said PAUL IS ALL, even though Billy denied that Paul McCartney would actually be there. Tony Bennett, Garth Brooks, Steven Tyler, and Roger Daltrey had all come out to perform. And just when you though it couldn’t get any bigger……”Ladies and gentlemen, Paul McCartney!!” And I screamed at that moment more than I had at any Mets game in my life. For the encore, Paul and Billy dueted on “Let It Be.” It was truly an epic concert…Shea is going down with honor. There’s my moment.
My most memorable moment at Shea Stadium would have to be the night of the Grand Slam Single by Robin Ventura. I was at the game with my father. We had seats in the upper deck way out in left field. The weather was miserable. It was a night of a blanketed drizzle. By the twelfth inning, many fans who had uncovered seats had left, so we were able to sneak down to the loge section immediately behind first base. In the bottom of the fifteenth inning, the Mets loaded the bases for Ventura, who knocked a 2-1 pitch over the right field wall. I have never screamed louder in my life than that night. It was the best game I have ever seen, one of the best times I have ever had and I am very happy to have shared that with my father.
Mets vs. Braves, 1999, NLCS, Game 5, 15th inning, light rain, tied at 3-3, bases loaded, Robin Ventura slams a 2-1 pitch over the left field wall, GRAND SINGLE. I am 5’7, 145 and the biggest 300 pound man in the world lifted me up and gave me the biggest hug in the world. I just remember every inning back and forth, the emotion was unreal, the tension was insane. When Ventura hit that ball over the wall it was like 50,000+ champagne bottles just blowing open, all that tension released. One of the greatest moments of my life. I’ll never forget it, and I’m sure no one else does either.
Hmm, I have lots of great memories at Shea but I guess if I had to pick one it would be October 1st, 1999. We beat the Pirates 3-2 in a nail-biter that lasted 11 innings and the Mets had to win this game to stay alive for the Wild Card, if we lost we were mathematically eliminated. I was scared because our fate was in the hands of Kenny Rogers. But, he pitched the game of his life that night giving up just the two runs and striking out batters left and right. I think he had like 12 strikeouts that day. Homeruns in the fifth inning by Mike Piazza and Robin Ventura tied the game and eventually sent it into extra innings. The bullpen did great job holding down the fort, and Pat Mahomes (remember him?) pitched two solid innings and got the win. The Mets finally came back to win it in the 11th inning when they loaded the bases and Robin Ventura singled home Shawon Dunston to win the game and keep the Mets play-off hopes alive for one more day. The game was freaking amazing, and Shea Stadium was rockin’ to it’s core. The rest as they say, is history.
There have been so many memorable moments at Shea Stadium, especially many I have not been to. I have a tendency to not go to extremely memorable games. However, the most memorable moment I have ever been to was in 2006 during a Subway Series match-up that had Jeremi Gonzalez face Randy Johnson. I remember getting to the stadium late and the Mets were already down big. The Mets slowly fought back decreasing the ever so gigantic lead to nothing. Ninth inning started against Mariano Rivera and David Wright comes up to the plate. I remember sitting in the back of the Loge where the Mezzanine seats block about 40% of your view. When David Wright hit that ball that won the ball game, I had no idea if Damon would catch it, if it was going to be a home run, or if was going to be a double. I crouch down, see the ball go over his head, and remember the entire stadium erupting.
I haven’t been to many Mets games at Shea over the years, and many of them haven’t been classics. But one I will never forget was a summer 2005 game against the San Diego Padres. It went into extra innings, and I was pretty excited, there could be a chance of a walk-off! I was with my uncle, and two cousins. Chris Woodward steps up I believe in the 10th inning, and hits a walk-off home run to left field to win the ball game. As soon as that ball left, Shea exploded with an extremely loud sounds, and as we left, the “Lets Go Mets” chants would never quit. Out of the few Mets games I’ve been to, that is my ultimate Shea Stadium memory, by far.
I was in the parking lot of Shea Stadium on a high after Rick Reed had just pitched the Mets to a win against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the first round of the playoffs on a cold September night in 1998. Swallowed up in the Shea parking lot, we didn’t mind because the Mets were just one game away from going to the next stage of the playoffs. While in the car, my friend called to tell me he had an extra ticket to the very next game – a day game the next day. I, at first, said I couldn’t because I had a wedding that day into night and wouldn’t be able to be back in time. I told my bud I’d get back to him by 2 a.m. that morning to let him know. Debate, more debate, and even more debate ensued on the slow car ride – I told my friend and he agreed that what if I didn’t go and it became a legendary win – I’d never be able to forgive myself. True to form, I got home, and ultimately, got an idea: go to the game in a suit, skip the wedding ceremony, and drive straight from Shea to the wedding reception, which was upstate. I did just that. That game turned out to be the Todd Pratt game winning homerun that now lives in Mets infamy- I’m glad I went, and still love telling that story. Here I was watching a game, in a suit, with a Mets hat on, and oh, did I mention a Fu Manchu I had grown specifically after Piazza? Furthermore, I’ll never forget going to that wedding with my Fu Manchu intact. I’ll never regret my decision. Pratt, for one day anyway, was the greatest Met of all time.
My most memorable moment is one that probably no one else in the entire stadium that night even knows about. It is more of a personal experience I had at Shea, rather than a game moment. The day was September 15, 1995. That was back in the day when your Upper Level ticket still got you into Gate C at 5:10 pm to watch batting practice from the Field Level. My favorite Met at the time (and still to this day) was Todd Hundley. My friends and I used to always yell over to him and he was always kind enough to acknowledge us with a wave. That particular night, Todd came over to the screaming fans between home plate and the Mets dugout to sign autographs. He was very talkative and interacting with the fans, it was really nice to see. Before he walked away to head back to the batting cage, I yelled over to him, “Hey Todd, try to hit one out for us tonight, ok?” He turned around and responded, “I will!” Needless to say where this story is going. That night, Todd Hundley hit his 15th and final homerun of that season, in Babe Ruth style, and I knew, in a weird sort of way, it was for me. A few months later I had the opportunity to meet Todd Hundley again at an autograph signing and recollected the moment with him. He actually remembered it, so he said. He signed a 8×11 glossy photo for me: “To Denise, Your Friend, ‘Babe’ Hundley, HR #15, 9/15/95.” I still have it.