Polo Grounds

Oh, don’t pooh-pooh a nickel, Lisa. A nickel will buy you a steak and kidney pie, a cup of coffee, a slice of cheesecake, and a newsreel…with enough change left over to ride the trolley from Battery Park to the Polo Grounds. — Mr. Burns, “The Old Man And The Lisa”

The Polo Grounds was the name given to a series of New York baseball and football stadiums of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Established first at the northwest corner of Central Park, and later on 155th Street in Harlem, the Polo Grounds served as the home stadium for the following teams:

  • Metropolitans (baseball)
  • Giants (baseball)
  • Yankees (baseball)
  • Mets (baseball)
  • Giants (football)
  • Titans —> Jets (football)
  • Bulldogs (football)
  • Cubans (baseball)

The “real” Polo Grounds — or the one that people seem to most fondly remember — was the stadium that was built after the third incarnation burned down in 1911. This was the stadium that hosted such iconic sports moments as the first professional football game played in New York, various international soccer contests, and the Dempsey-Firpo boxing match.

One peculiarity of the Polo Grounds, baseball-wise, was its bizarre shape. Balls hit down the abbreviated baselines could easily tuck over the wall for a home run, but no such luck if you got caught in the cavernous outfield.

These strange dimensions made The Catch possible in the 1954 world series between the New York Giants and the Cleveland Indians. Hits like Mays, runs like Mays.

Supposedly, the Polo Grounds was also the site where the term “hot dog” was coined…though this is debated.

The stadium met its end after the football Giants moved to Yankee Stadium and the baseball Giants hauled ass to San Francisco. The city took over the dilapidated stadium in the 1960s and shut things down for good.

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2 Responses to Polo Grounds

  1. One Romantism of the era was how people wore their Sunday best to the games.

  2. Mary says:

    Great old photos!

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