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The Polo Grounds was the home of the National League's New York Giants (now the San Francisco Giants) of baseball. The Polo Grounds actually went through four incarnations; the first, which was actually used for playing polo, was just north of Central Park in Manhattan, and was appropriated by the "New Yorks" of the National League in 1883. New York City confiscated the property in 1888, and during the 1889 and 1890 season, the Giants moved to a field in Coogan's Bluff. In 1891 they moved to a larger stadium, taking the Polo Grounds name with them. In 1911, the stadium burned down; but the owner of the Giants, John Brush, rebuilt the stadium on the same site - Eighth Avenue between 157th and 159th Streets in Manhattan. Thus, what most people know as the Polo Grounds was born.

The Giants played in the Polo Grounds until 1957, when they followed their New York rivals, the Brooklyn Dodgers, to California. The New York Yankees also played in the Polo Grounds from 1913 until 1922, when Yankee Stadium opened just across the Harlem River. This situation led to the first World Series played entirely in one ballpark, when in 1921 the Giants defeated the Yankees, five games to three. After the Giants left the Polo Grounds, the stadium went unused for 4 years. But in 1962 the newly formed New York Mets moved in for two years, and lost as many games as they could, including a Major League record 120 games in 1962. In 1964, they moved out and the Polo Grounds was demolished.

The Polo Grounds had very unusual dimensions; it was often used for football games, and so it was much longer than it was wide. The left and right foul poles were only 279 and 259 feet from home plate, respectively, almost 50 feet shorter than any ballpark today. But the center field fence was very far from home plate - 483 feet at its furthest. The furthest reaches of the outfield were so far away that the bullpens, in deep center field, were inside the fence.

The two most famous moments of the Polo Grounds both occurred in the 1950s. In 1951, the Brooklyn Dodgers and the Giants held a three game playoff for the right to play in the World Series. In the ninth inning of the third and deciding game, Bobby Thomson of the Giants hit a home run off of Ralph Branca of the Dodgers to win the game. The homer was called "The Shot Heard 'Round The World." In the 1954 World Series, the Giants played the Cleveland Indians; in the first game, Vic Wertz hit an incredibly long fly ball to center field. Willie Mays, the Giants center fielder, ran back at full speed and caught the ball 445 feet from home plate; a video of the play known simply as "The Catch" exists, and is one of the most famous baseball clips.

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