Park # 172
What I Remember
Growing up there were really just four parks on my baseball radar. There was Memorial Stadium in Baltimore, the (relatively) distant home of my beloved Baltimore Orioles. I listened on the radio, mostly, to games played there, but I did find my way to Baltimore a couple of times for playoff and World Series games.
The other three were all within an hour or so of my house and thus I had been to them more frequently. I went into New York City fairly often with my dad as a kid and we would see games at both Shea Stadium and Yankee Stadium. In the other direction was Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia and I went there a few times too.
All three were scheduled in the final week of our journey. First up was Shea Stadium. The Mets and the Yankees seldom played at home at the same time and thus, because the Yankees would be our final regular season stop that year we saw the Mets play their final home game of the season a week before our final stop in The Bronx.
Shea was never a classic ballpark. Both it and its replacement, Citi Field, are a long subway or car ride from midtown Manhattan. It sits under the flight path of Laguardia Airport and the roads leading to the stadium are perpetually under construction. But for 45 years, it was the home of the Mets and several generations of New York fans, including my dad, adopted the team as their own and had happy memories of Shea.
One of the cool elements of Shea Stadium first appeared in the 1980s. It was a big magic hat from which a “Big Apple” would pop up when the Mets hit homeruns. Alas, there were no homers for the home team in this Sunday matinee. The Mets did win, though, in the managerial debut for Mike Cubbage. Mets manager Bud Harrelson had been fired the night before we arrived and Cubbage was named the interim for the remainder of the season. He ended up 3-4 in those seven games and that was the end of Cubbage’s official managerial career although he did serve as the Red Sox interim manager during the spring training of 2002.
Although we didn’t see it at the time, Dave Kaplan of the New York Daily News ran a short blurb about our trip in that Sunday’s paper.
New York Mets 4 Philadelphia Phillies 3
A Note about this Site
This site is intended to be a companion to the upcoming book In League with America. Although some games were particularly notable and will appear in the book, most of the results of the 199 games we saw over the course of the 1991 season will not. Our journey was never really intended to be at the games themselves, it was about the places we saw and the people we met along the way.
However, there is now an historic nature to the results from this season. All of the players we saw then, even in the minors, have long since retired. Some of the players we saw at Class A are now members of the Baseball Hall of Fame. These pages, then, will function as kind of a digital appendix with a brief recollection of each day, the result of the game(s) we saw that day and a map of our daily drive.