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Pete Flynn, longtime New York Mets groundskeeper, dies at 79

NEW YORK  — Pete Flynn, a popular groundskeeper for the New York Mets who spent five decades manicuring baseball diamonds from the Polo Grounds to Citi Field, has died. He was 79.

The team says Flynn died Wednesday morning after a long illness. No other details were provided.

Easily recognizable with his fire-red hair and beard, Flynn was an original Met who began his tenure with the team during New York’s inaugural season in 1962 at the old Polo Grounds. He was the head groundskeeper at Shea Stadium from 1974-2001 and remained on the grounds crew until retiring in 2011, two years after the Mets moved into Citi Field.

Flynn was inducted into Major League Baseball’s Groundskeeping Hall of Fame in 2015 and honored with the Mets Hall of Fame Achievement Award in 2012.

He also was the groundskeeper for the New York Jets when they hosted NFL games at Shea Stadium from 1964-83, and undoubtedly was the busiest man in the business in 1975 when the Mets, Yankees, Jets and Giants all played home games at Shea.