MUSIC - New York New York by Frank Sinatra
Photographed in 1991, 1994 and 1995 using film.
Yankee Stadium - Opened in 1923, closed in 2008 and demolished in 2010, the final piece of old Yankee Stadium (the right field upper deck) fell to the wreckers ball on May 13, 2010.
Location - E. 161st Street and River Ave. Bronx, New York.
You can refer to it as "the house that Ruth built," or the big ballpark in the Bronx. No matter what its called, it's still Yankee Stadium. The St. Patrick's Cathedral of ballparks. Located at 161st St. and River Ave., the stadium has hosted Yankee games since 1923. Hall of famers such as "Babe" Ruth, Lou "the iron horse" Gehrig, Joe "the Yankee clipper" DiMaggio, Larry "Yogi" Berra, Whitey "the chairman of the board" Ford and Mickey "the Commerce Comet" Mantle all graced the green carpet of the ballpark in the Bronx. All in all, ONLY 3 all star games have been played at Yankee stadium. A fourth will be played in 2008, marking the final season of Yankee stadium. Since 1923, the stadium has hosted 37 of the 84 world series that have been played. Besides the Yankees, the other major tenant for the stadium was the New York football Giants. The Giants played in the Bronx from 1956 - 1973, when Yankee stadium was closed for a complete renovation. The renovation in 1973 cost a then whopping 167 million dollars. Yankee stadium was completely gutted and "modernized."
The Yankees used to share the old Polo Grounds with the New York Giants. Threatened with being evicted from the Polo Grounds, Jacob Ruppert found a 10 acre parcel right across the Harlem River from Coogan's Bluff. It was constructed on the site of a former lumber yard. Ruppert built his stadium for the then astronomical sum of $2.5 million dollars. Led by the gregarious Babe Ruth, the Yankees filled the park for over 40 years. The football Giants also sold out their games during their stay at the stadium.
Several other "tenants" held court in Yankee stadium. The New York Yankees of the NFL, the Yankees of the AAFC, and the New York Generals and the New York Comets of the NASL all played home games there. Yankee stadium even hosted a college bowl game. From 1961 thru 1962, the Gotham bowl was played. In 1961, Baylor beat Utah State 24-9 and a year later Nebraska beat Miami (Fla) 36-34. College football was played at the stadium from 1925 - 1948. Army, Fordham and New York University all played home games there. In the 1928 Army - Notre Dame game, the famous "win one for the Gipper" speech was given at half-time by Notre Dame coach Knute Rockne. Notre Dame went on to win 12 - 6.
Concerts, religious revivals, the pope and boxing all had their day at the stadium too. Many championship fights were held on the infield, as the stands were filled with boxing fans. On June 22, 1938, Joe Louis knocked out Max Schmeling in the first round. After the 1970s renovation, only one fight was held when an aging Muhammed Ali defeted Ken Norton in 1976.
From the facade to the legendary voice of PA announcer Bob Sheppard to monument park, Yankee stadium has its memories. The Yankees dugout is named for Pete Sheehey, the longtime clubhouse manager of the Yankees. The monument park in left field pays homage to all the Yankee greats. Before the renovation, the monuments were IN play in center field. Bob Sheppard has been the PA announcer since 1951. His distinctive voice and no nonsense approach has made him a fan favorite for over 60 years. Another icon of the stadium was the former organist Eddie Layton. From 1967 till his retirement in 2003, Layton entertained fans at both Yankee stadium and Madison Square garden. Sadly, Layton passed away on December 26, 2004. But the most famous "landmark" of Yankee stadium was and is the copper facade. In the original configuration of the stadium, the facade ran from the end of the roof in right to the end of the roof in left. After the 1970 renovation, the facade was moved to the outfield wall.
2008 will mark the 82nd and final season at the stadium. A new park, Yankee stadium II, is being built on the site of old Macomb's dam park. The construction site is directly across 161st street from Yankee stadium. Much like Comiskey park saw the "new" Comiskey park being built in Chicago, Yankee stadium has the same fate. So if you haven't made the pilgrimage to Yankee stadium, make it quick. After the final game, the stadium will begin the demolition. Most older Yankee fans liked the original stadium as opposed to the renovated one. One fan told me that it was much more intimate in its original configuration. He disliked the "new" modern Yankee stadium when it opened in 1976. Many fans echo that same statement.
Yankee stadium firsts and lasts. The first game at the big ballpark in the Bronx was on April 18, 1923. The first ever game pitted the Boston Red Sox against the Bronx Bombers. The first hit was by Red Sox first baseman George Burns. And fittingly, the first home run was hit by who else, Babe Ruth. The Yankees beat the Red Sox 4-1 as Bob Shawkey got the win. Yankee stadium was off and running. When the stadium was closed after the 1973 season, the final game on September 30, saw the Detroit Tigers beat the Yankees 8-5. The final victory in the old stadium went to Tigers pitcher John Hiller, while Yankee catcher Duke Sims hit the final home run in the OLD stadium. For two years the stadium was under reconstruction. On April 15 1976, Yankee stadium re opened with the Yankees taking on the Minnesota Twins. Dan Ford of the Twins got credit for the first home run in the "new" Yankee stadium, while the Yankees got the victory 11-4. Relief pitcher Dick Tidrow picked up the win. A mere 85 years after the stadium opened, the curtain came down on the old stadium. On September 21, 2008 the Yankees played host to the Baltimore Orioles. A final score of 7-3 was another victory for the Yankees. Andy Pettite got credit for the final win, and the answer to a future trivia question, Jose Molina hit the last home run.
You can tear down cathedrals, buildings, arenas and stadiums, but you can never tear down the memories. Babe Ruth (in my opinion) was the greatest baseball player of all time. Major league baseball should retire his number 3, just like they did for Jackie Robinson. I am sure he will be shedding a tear when the wrecking ball comes crashing down. Yankee stadium like the Montreal forum, Maple Leaf gardens, Ebbets field, and even Comiskey park will live on forever in the hearts and minds of Yankee fans, and non Yankee fans, the world over. Yankee stadium is truly sacred ground.
The home plate entrance. July 94
Approaching Yankee Stadium on the Major Deegan. 9/91
Yankee stadium from the Major Deegan expressway. Sept. 91
A better view of the housing projects where the old Polo Grounds once stood. October 95
The stadium just before gametime. Sept. 91
The main entrance and the 138 foot tall Louisville slugger exhaust pipe. Sept. 91
Ticket booths from the original Yankee stadium. These booths are no longer used. Location is on 161st. Street. Sept. 91
A peek inside the left field area. Behind the bullpens. Sept. 91
The subway platform and the stores beind right field on River Ave. Sept. 91
Souvenir stores on River Ave. Sept. 91
The IRT number 4 subway line and the back of right field of the stadium. Sept. 91
Home plate on a cold and rainy late September night. Sept. 91
Looking towards the bleachers and the transplanted facade. Sept. 91
The bullpen in left field. Sept. 91
A panoramic view of Yankee stadium with the New York state supreme court building in the background to the right. Sept. 91
The monuments originally in centerfield in the old Yankee stadium. Lou Gehrig, Miller Huggins and Babe Ruth were in play in the old stadium. Sept. 91
Monument park in left field. Sept. 91
The retired numbers of Yankee greats. Sept. 91
From the upper deck in right field. Sept. 91
The press box area behind home plate. Sept. 91
The exhaust pipe in front of Yankee stadium and the parking garage. July 94
A shot from the players parking lot. July 94
The visitors dugout. July 94
Mickey Mantle's view from centerfield. July 94
Looking down the first base side of the stadium. July 94
The view from across the Harlem river. April 95
The housing projects where the old Polo Grounds used to stand. April 95
Yankee stadium from the top of the parking garage. April 95
The entrance behind home plate on gameday. April 94
Looking at the number 4 subway line and McCombs dam park to the left. Little did I know that this is the site where the new Yankee stadium would be built 12 years later. April 95
The concourse of the upper deck in left. April 95
The number 4 train coming into 161st Street. April 95
Walking up the tunnel to the upper deck. April 95
The maze of ramps that lead to the upper deck. April 95