Jan 11, 2015

Legendary Mets Grounds Keeper Pete Flynn Honored

Longtime Mets Groundskeeper Pete Flynn (1962-2011) has been elected to the Grounds Keepers Hall of Fame as a 2015 inductee.
Pete Flynn was born in County Leitrim, Ireland and emigrated to the United States & has been a long time Queens Village resident. 

In the Winter of 1962 he responded to an add looking for help at the Polo Grounds where the new National League New York Mets would be playing. He went for an interview at 19th Street in Manhattan & was hired as a handyman. His first day on the job was also the first time he ever walked on to a baseball field.

Flynn drives the Beatles in Shea 1965
He worked his way up to becoming a groundskeeper in time where they used a rake & a shovel without the use of (as Rush would say) modern day machinery. He moved along with the team to Shea Stadium in 1964 & worked there until it's final day in 2008. 

In 1965 he drove the Beatles in an armored car from second base to center field during their legendary concert at Shea Stadium that summer. 

Quotes: Flynn said that it was so loud during the show that "I was sitting on the stairway up by the stage and with the kids screaming I couldn't hear the Beatles." 43 years later he drove Paul McCartney thru the runways of Shea Stadium once again, on his way to the stage for his classic appearance with Billy Joel in the final concert ever at Shea Stadium. The moment is captured in the Shea Goodbye DVD. 

Flynn meets Paul McCartney Again 2008- Last Play at Shea

Last Play at Shea - Flynn Watches Paul McCartney & Billy Joel

In the early seventies his work was cut out for him as the A.L. New York club shared Shea Stadium as their stadium was being renovated. In 1975 all four MLB & NFL New York teams played at Shea making Pete's work extremely difficult. 

By this time he had graduated to heads ground keeper, a position he held until 2001. He continued to work with the Mets into the Citi Field era, retiring for good in 2011. Through the years he made friends with many Mets players, including one of his best friends Jerry Koosman.

Flynn worked on the Shea grass, after all the great concerts at the Queens ball park: by the Who (1982), The Rolling Stones (1989) Billy Joel (2008) The Police (1983) Eric Clapton / Elton John (1992) Jethro Tull (1976) Simon & Garfunkel (1982) Grand Funk Railroad (1971) & the 1970 Festival for Peace (Janis Joplin, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Steppenwolf, John Sebastian & the James Gang.) 

Then in 1979 in one of his most favorite moments, he saw the skies clear of rain as Pope John Paul II entered Shea in the Pope mobile for his Mass.

In addition to his job at Shea Stadium, Flynn was available at local Catholic Schools with tool donations & advice on gardening & grounds keeping.

Honors: In 2008 he was elected to the Irish American Hall of Fame & in 2012 he was elected to the New York Mets Hall of Fame. In 2015 he is the newest member of the Grounds keeping Hall of Fame with a ceremony to held at Coors Field on Sunday January 11th, in Denver Colorado.

To be eligible for induction to the Grounds Keeping Hall of Fame, a person must no longer be working in the field and must have made a significant contribution to grounds keeping or the sports turf industry at a major league level. The MLB Groundskeepers Association votes on nominees, with each team receiving one vote. Each nominee must have 75 percent of the vote of all active members to be inducted.

Quotes: "It's a huge honor to be recognized by your peers, I have a lot of fond memories from my time with the Mets, going from the Polo Grounds, to Shea Stadium, to Citi Field. It's a great way to cap my career."

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