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Wednesday, November 19, 2003
Mets lose final game at historic Polo Grounds
By Larry Schwartz
Special to

Sept. 18, 1963

The Polo Grounds, which was rebuilt in 1911 after a fire, has long been a New York landmark. But today, the ballpark goes out with a whimper, not a bang.

Only 1,752 paying fans, the smallest crowd to watch the New York Mets in their two-year history, show up. They see the Mets lose, 5-1, to the Philadelphia Phillies. After Ted Schreiber hits into a double play to end the game, the strains of "Auld Lang Syne" filter through the cavernous ballpark.

Manager Casey Stengel waves his hat to the small crowd. A few fans cheer.

The Mets will play their home games next year in a new venue, Shea Stadium. The Polo Grounds will be razed and in its place will be built the Polo Grounds Towers, four 30-story apartment buildings, and Willie Mays Field, an asphalt playground with six basketball backboards, where center-field used to be, with a historical marker in place.

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