When Shea Stadium first opened on April 17, 1964, the Mets' new ballpark was heralded as a modern, state-of-the-art addition to the Flushing landscape. As one fan in MLB Productions' tribute DVD "Shea Goodbye: 45 Years of Amazin'" put it then, "Isn't this the most beautiful stadium in the world?" Well ... maybe not exactly. Nearly half a century later, Shea may not be best known for its beauty, but Mets announcer and lifelong fan Gary Cohen puts it best when he says, "Shea is home."
With mere weeks remaining until the current stadium passes the torch to the stately Citi Field looming over its outfield walls, Mets fans have taken to reminiscing about their favorite moments at Shea. In this spirit of nostalgia, A&E and MLB Productions released a must-have DVD collection for any die-hard fan: "The New York Mets Essential Games of Shea Stadium." Narrator and fan Matthew Broderick reminds us in "Shea Goodbye," that "You Gotta Believe!" citing the legend of Tug McGraw's rallying cry. And, indeed, these six historic games prove why.
In Game 4 of the 1969 World Series against the Baltimore Orioles, 24-year-old Tom Seaver caps off his 25-win, 2.21 ERA season with a masterful 10-inning complete game that, along with Donn Clendenon's home run, Ron Swoboda's heroic catch and an unlikely final bunt, gives his team a two-game lead in the World Series.
Game 3 of the 1986 National League Championship Series against the Houston Astros will forever be remembered for scoring one for the little guy, when tough as "Nails" Lenny Dykstra hits a ninth-inning home run to give the Mets a thrilling, come-from-behind win, making them the first team in NLCS history to rally from a deficit of more than three runs.
But it's Game 6 of the 1986 World Series against the Boston Red Sox that may just be baseball's greatest game of all time. From the parachuter dropping onto the field in the first inning, to a seemingly unhittable Roger Clemens, to that legendary 10th inning, with Mookie Wilson's infamous ground ball slipping through Bill Buckner's bent legs, this game, more than any, confirms what Yogi Berra first said of the 1973 Mets, "It ain't over 'til it's over."
Even in their post-world championship years, the Mets continued to give the Shea faithful games for the history books. The team endured 15 nail-biting innings in Game 5 of the 1999 NLCS against the Atlanta Braves, before Robin Ventura's tremendous "grand slam single" kept the Mets' postseason hopes alive.
But more significant to baseball's -- and New York's -- history was that emotionally charged game on Sept. 21, 2001, again against the Braves, when Mike Piazza's eighth-inning home run brought a grieving city some of its first joy since the terrible attacks of Sept. 11. From the pregame ceremonies to the very last out, these few hours produced some of the stadium's most moving, most important and most exhilarating moments.
Finally, on May 19, 2006, against the Yankees, we can appreciate one of Shea's final heroes, David Wright, triumphing over Mariano Rivera to provide one of the most exciting walk-off wins in recent years.
Bonus features on both DVDs relive countless other thrilling Shea moments the way stats and box scores simply can't, ranging from the final inning of the 1969 World Series right up to "The Catch," as Endy Chavez's 2006 NLCS feat has come to be known. And with every unbelievable moment, always, there's the crowd. The famously impassioned, deafening fans that perhaps, more than anything, exemplify what Shea Stadium is known for.
"Shea Goodbye" impressively covers every year of Shea history, with Mets legends from 1969 straight through to current day coloring each of these glorious events with their personal memories. The two collections, a total of 7 DVDs, provide a fitting farewell to fans' Flushing home. Watching them will forever honor the place that made the Mets Amazin'.
Zoe Rice is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.