Polo Grounds

Actually, there were several stadiums called the Polo Grounds. The original was built in the 1870s and was used for Polo. The New York baseball Metropolitans also played here until 1888

The Metropolitans moved to "Coogan's Bluff". There were two ball parks located at the "Bluff". The Giants of the Player's League played at the one located to the north (Brotherhood Park) and the National League Giants played at the southern park, which was also called the Polo Grounds.

After the Giants of the Players League went bankrupt, the National League Giants moved into Brotherhood Park and re-named it the Polo Grounds.

There was a third park called the Polo Grounds. This park was primarily built of wood. It burned down in 1911. A brand new baseball stadium was built on this site in 1911. As was the trend of the day, this park was built from concrete and steel.

On June 28, 1911, the New York baseball Giants moved into their new home.

The Polo Ground's seating capacity was only 16,000 but was increased to 34,000 by the end of the season.

The foul lines were very short. 277 feet to left and only 258 to right field. However, center field was the longest in major league baseball history at 455. Many routine fly balls down the lines became easy home runs.

In 1913, the Yankees moved in and shared the Polo Grounds with the Giants. With Babe Ruth on the club, the Yankees were very successful. Winning many more games than the Giants. The Yankees were forced to move out after the 1922 season.

In 1922, a left field upper deck was added which actually hung out over the playing field. This further reduced the left field distance to 250 feet. The now famous "horse shoe" shape was evolving. A roof covered the stadium except for center field. Center field crossed straight from left to right except for a cut out area where the club house was located. It was here that Giants outfielder Willie Mays made his famous "catch" of a ball hit by Cleveland's Vic Wertz in the 1954 World Series.

The New York Giants left the Polo Grounds for San Fransisco after the 1957 season. But this was not the end for this historic baseball park.

In 1962 and 1963, the newly formed New York Mets moved in. The Mets played there home games at the Polo Grounds while their brand new Shea Stadium was ready.

On April 10, 1964, demolision began on the Polo Grounds. The same wrecking ball was used that tore down Ebbets Field. A public housing project was erected on it's site. The beloved Polo Grounds was now, too, just a memory.

The Polo Grounds Dimensions:

By 1923, the dimensions were pretty much set. The different angles of the Polo Grounds provided for an interesting out field configuration. One peculiar thing about the Polo Grounds was that the left and right field distances were never added to the wall.

The left field line ran a short 279 feet from home. With the upper deck over hang it was really only 250 feet. Short left center was at 315 feet and angled out to 360 feet. It deepened again in left center to 414.

The outfield wall curved just before center field. 447 feet to deep left center and 455 to deep right center.

Center field stood at a distant 483!

As the wall curved toward right, the right field wall started at 395 feet, then came back in to 338 and even shallower to 294 feet. Finally ending up with the right field line only 257 feet from home plate.

Memorable Moments:

There were two Major League Baseball All Star Games held at the Polo Grounds. 1934 and 1942.

13 World Series were played with the last one being 1954.

The "catch" by Willie Mays in game 1 of the 1954 World Series against Cleveland.

On October 3, 1951, Bobby Thompson rocked the baseball world when he hit the "shot heard "round the world". Thompson's home run beat the Giants' arch rival Brooklyn Dodgers and sent the Giants to the World Series.

Hall of Famer Mel Ott hit his 500th home run on August 1, 1945.