Scattered Clouds 46° Good Evening
Scattered Clouds 46° Good Evening
SportsColumnistsNeil Best

Citi Field gets first taste of New York World Series history

A member of the grounds crew paints a

A member of the grounds crew paints a World Series logo at Citi Field on Tuesday, October 27, 2015 in preparation for the World Series home games between the New York Mets and the Kansas City Royals. Photo Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Champagne is reserved for winning teams in the baseball playoffs, but in another sense, Citi Field was due a champagne christening across its bow Friday night.

The occasion? Its official launch as a World Series venue, only the sixth time in more than a century of Fall Classics that a New York stadium got to celebrate that rite of passage, this time with a 9-3 victory in Game 3.

Before taking a long, long look back at the other such moments, a few words about the Big Apple's overall place in Series history:

Unsurprisingly, no city comes close in World Series experience. Game 5 on Sunday night will mark the 194th game played in New York -- seven more than in the next four (St. Louis, Boston, Chicago and Philadelphia) combined.

Only Staten Island among the five boroughs has been left out of the party. The Bronx leads the way with 103 games, followed by Manhattan with 47, Brooklyn with 28 and Queens, which will host its 16th on Sunday night.

It began Oct. 10, 1905, when the Giants lost Game 2 at the Polo Grounds to the visiting Philadelphia Athletics, 3-0, behind a shutout performance by Chief Bender. (Game 1 was in Philadelphia.)

Surely you remember the depressing details, including the first run scoring when Ossee Schrecongost reached on an error, moved to second on Bender's sacrifice, advanced to third on Topsy Hartsel's groundout and scored on Bris Lord's single.

Hmm. That sounds like the way the 2015 Royals score runs.

The Giants did go on to win the Series, though.

Eleven years later, Ebbets Field -- whose design inspired that of Citi Field -- got its turn, also on Oct. 10, in a game in which the host Brooklyn Robins beat the Red Sox, 4-3. (It was Brooklyn's only victory of the Series.)

Historical parallel: The day before, the Robins had dropped a 14-inning game to young pitcher Babe Ruth and the Bosox. It was the first of only three 14-inning games in Series history, a record the Mets and Royals tied Tuesday night.

Yankee Stadium hosted its first World Series game seven years after that in 1923 -- on yet another Oct. 10.

The Yankees lost to the Giants, with whom they had shared the Polo Grounds the previous two World Series. But their first game in their own home was ruined when Casey Stengel beat them, 5-4, with an inside-the-park home run in the ninth inning of Game 1. (The Polo Grounds was heavily renovated at the same site after a 1911 fire, but for our purposes, we will call it the same stadium. Ditto for the 1976 version of Yankee Stadium.)

The Yankees went on to win that Series, 4-2. Stengel went on to manage the Yankees from 1949-60, reaching the World Series 10 times. And the Mets from 1962-65, reaching the World Series . . . never.

It would be 46 years before the next New York stadium -- and New York borough -- got to host its first Fall Classic.

On Oct. 14, 1969, the Mets beat the Orioles, 5-0, at Shea Stadium in Game 3 of a Series they would win in five. Tommie Agee was the star, with a leadoff home run and two nifty catches in centerfield.

But history remembers that day as the only World Series appearance for Nolan Ryan in a 27-year big-league career. He pitched 21/3 innings for the save.

The Yankees played in the Series in their first season in new Yankee Stadium in 2009, but like the 1905 Giants, they fell to a Philadelphia team in Game 1.

Cliff Lee did not allow an earned run in the Phillies' 6-1 victory in Game 1. Like the '05 Giants, the Yankees bounced back and won it all.

Now it is Citi Field's turn. Friday night's rout of the Royals was the most lopsided victory for the hometown team in a stadium's World Series debut, but it might end up being best remembered for Noah Syndergaard buzzing Royals leadoff hitter Alcides Escobar on the game's first pitch.

Bon voyage!

New York Sports