In the summer of 1972, I remember climbing into my dads car along with my older brother, Max, and driving from the small upstate New York town of Mechanicville to Shea Stadium. The two-and-one-half hour drive felt like it took an entire week.
My first memory of coming up the ramp and seeing the outfield wall (then green), then the outfield grass and finally the diamond literally made my heart race in nervous excitement. If that sounds familiar, it should. This story is not just mine. It is probably yours, and your friends’ story, our fathers and grandfathers stories too. Seeing a Major League Baseball stadium in person for the first time is usually a memorable moment in a boys life.
The date was Sunday, August 20, 1972. The New York Mets were hosting the Cincinnati Reds at Shea Stadium. Somewhere there is some 8mm film of the the day, but I can’t seem to put my hands on it. What I know for sure is:
1. I was sitting about 5-6 rows off the Mets dugout courtesy of a friend of my dad, who knew someone that knew an MLB umpire who could get tickets.
2. John Milner looked at me and blew a bubble at me (video proof … somewhere).
3. Willie Mays started in centerfield for the Mets. He singled in three at-bats.
4. The Mets lost, 8-1.
I was eight years old.
I woke up thinking about that today and later invited fans to share their first game experience. I have included a handful of replies from Mets fans below. In addition, visit us on Twitter or Facebook @MetsRewind to post your memories and read what others fans are saying.