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Stengel Extols Shea Stadium

Apr. 12, 1964 - Casey Stengel and his Mets tried on Shea Stadium for size today. “When you’re young,” said the 73-year-old Stengel, “it’s great to go into a stadium where your future lies in front of you.” Stengel spoke above the roar of the nearby jackhammers that were working to get the stadium in shape for its debut on Friday.

“Bang, bang, bang,” Stengel said, imitating the noise. “You will see the terrific things they have — carpets, elbow room, everything. That infield is as smooth as a billiard table. The fences are good, and it should help our pitchers. Yep, we expect to open here opening day.” Duke Snider, the gray long-ball hitter, got in a word and said: “This has to be a pitchers’ park. It’s deep to all parts, especially in center.”

Most of the players at the stadium today had never seen it before. Had Casey? “Of course,” he said. “Why, I drew up the plans for the place.”

The Mets, who open their season Tuesday night at Philadelphia, will work out tomorrow at Hofstra University at Hempstead, L.I.

“All the players jumped up and down for joy when they saw this great new place,” Stengel said. “The clubhouse looked lovely. There is room in the lockers. You don’t bump into anyone. As far as modernization goes, it will be terrific. Why, even the medical room will be terrific.”

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