When building Shea, designers incorporated ideas used in the most modern baseball stadium at the time. Shea boasted elevators, 54 restrooms, restaurants, and the largest scoreboard in baseball at the time. The stadium also contained the first light ring around the top of the stadium to illuminate night games. These features spring-boarded Shea into the future of baseball as well as leading it to host some of the most important events in history.
Although mainly used for baseball, Shea also hosted football games along with a visit from the Pope and the Beatles. In 1965, Shea held a concert for the Beatles, which was the first arena rock concert in history. The stadium packed in 60,000 people to capacity levels to spurn on the new age of concerts in America. In 1979, the Pope graced Shea, seating around the same amount of people in only the second ever papal visit to the United States. The stadium also hosted Notre Dame college football games, the New York Jets and Giants, numerous professional boxing matches, World Cup soccer games, President Bill Clinton's visit to celebrate Jackie Robinson, and many musical artists, such as the Rolling Stones.
Baseball in the Big Apple also began to boom around Shea's opening. The stadium hosted the 1964 All-star game as well as multiple World Series championships. Willie Mays even graced the Mets uniform on May 14, 1972, which was his first game as a Met at Shea Stadium. Shea had two of the most memorable series' in baseball history. In Game 6 of the 1986 World Series, Boston Red Sox first basemen Bill Buckner let a ground ball roll through his legs in what would be an epic collapse for the Boston Red Sox to keep their curse alive. Two days after the so-called Buckner Game, the Mets won their second World Series title by defeating the Boston Red Sox in Game 7 by a score of 8-5. Also, in 2000, the Mets hosted the Yankees in what would be known as the Subway Series. The Yankees would go on to win but Shea was the site of many important moments in the series. What first began in the 19th century as the Trolley Series, now known as the Subway Series, the Yankees and Mets will forever fight for bragging rights in New York every season.