Friday, December 23, 2011

Quickie Shea Detective Action

The background of shows two crowds, one old, one new. Because of the way my brain works, I decided I wanted to know when the older crowd shot was from. (The black and white one on the left below.)

My first thought was that it had to be from an important day, since it's a packed house and, before digital cameras appeared, you usually needed a reason to take a picture. Maybe it was the first game ever or an early Opening Day at Shea, or a 1969/1973 World Series game. Those later ones seemed a little too late, though, because it doesn't look like those two people you see close-up have witnessed anything like Woodstock or LSD trips. They're more like extras in It's a Wonderful Life, so I figured this was probably from the earliest days of Shea Stadium.

I searched for images of Shea's grand opening, and the dynamite immediately boomed. From the Daily News (photo #3 here), here's Opening Day at Shea, 1964:

At first I thought, Damn, I found a similar pic but it's from left field instead of right field! But then--I spotted them: the little boy with his grandma/pa from Little Odessa. Same picture, reversed. A closer inspection* tells me this is the correct version, and the one background is using the backwards one. (Understandable when you realize they had to have it match up with the right side--but not understandable when you realize they could have easily gotten a shot of the OTHER side of Citi Field. Then again, maybe they were just taking that "mirror image" thing to heart.)

This page on the site about the history of Shea uses the pic too (not reversed). So you can see it in its original form in the middle of the page, with its mirrored version looming over it from the top and left of the window. (If you don't see the background you need to widen your browser window.)

*Mets mascot on pennant matches this guy, and the shadows are correct. Also, the person scoring has pen in right hand which gives us 90% certainty if we were unsure.

I always love your picture detective work, Jere. Merry Christmas to you and yours!
Thanks, you too!

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Location: Rhode Island, United States