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Yankee Stadium

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Yankee Stadium, August 2005

Yankee Stadium is most famous as the home ballpark of the New York Yankees from 1923 to 1972, and 1976 to 2008.

[edit] Statistics

Address: East 161st Street and River Avenue, The Bronx, New York City, NY 10451

Coordinates: 40°49′37″N 73°55′41″W

Owners: New York Yankees (Feb. 6, 1921-Dec. 17, 1953); Earl and Arnold Johnson (Dec. 17, 1953-Jan. 29, 1955); Knights of Columbus (Dec. 17, 1953-Aug. 8, 1972); John W. Cox (Jan. 29, 1955-Jul. 19, 1962); Rice University (Jul. 19, 1962-Aug. 8, 1972); The City of New York (Aug. 8, 1972-May 14, 2010)

Tennants: New York Yankees (1923-1973, 1976-2008)

Non-baseball tennants:

  • New York Yankees (AFL/NFL: 1926-1928) 10-9 .526
  • New York Yankees (AFL: 1936) 0-1-1 .250
  • New York Yankees (AFL: 1940) 4-3 .571
  • New York Americans (AFL: 1941) 2-1-1 .625
  • New York Yankees (AAFC: 1946-1949) 18-9-1 .661
  • New York Yanks (NFL: 1950-1951) 5-4-1 .550
  • New York Giants (NFL: 1956-1973) 64-52-5 .550
  • New York Generals (NPSL/NASL: 1967-1968) 23-21-10 .519
  • New York Cosmos (NASL: 1971, 1976) 19-10-7 .625


Architect: Osborn Engineering Co. (1923); Praeger-Kavanaugh-Waterbury (1973-76)

Construction: White Construction Company

Cost: $2.5 million (1923); renovation: $48 million, but some estimate the actual cost with debt service at over $160 million (1976).

Opened: April 23, 1923, vs. Boston Red Sox (Yankees 4, Red Sox 1)

First Night Game: May 28, 1946, vs. Washington Senators (Senators 2, Yankees 1)

Last Game: (renovations) September 30, 1973 vs. Detroit Tigers (Tigers 8, Yankees 5)

First Game: (reopening) April 15, 1976 vs. Minnesota Twins (Yankees 11, Twins 4)

Last Game: September 21, 2008 vs. Baltimore Orioles (Yankees 7, Orioles 3)

Demolished: March 16, 2009 - May 14, 2010

Surface: Merion Bluegrass


Capacity: 58,000 (1923); 62,000 (1926); 82,000 (1927); 67,113 (1928); 62,000 (1929); 71,699 (1937); 70,000 (1942); 67,000 (1948); 67,205 (1958); 67,337 (1961); 67,000 (1965); 65,010 (1971); 54,028 (1976); 57, 145 (1977); 57,545 (1980); 56,936 (20008)

Location: Left field (NE), East 161st. Street; third base (NW), Doughly Street (later Ruppert Place); home plate (W), Major Degan Expressway/Interstate 87 and Harlem River; first base (SW), E 157th Street; right field (SE), River Avenue and IRT elevated tracks; in the Southwest Bronx, NY

Dimensions:

Left Field: 280.58 (1923), 301 (1928), 312 (1976), 318 (1988)
Left side of bullpen gate in short left-center: 395 (1923), 402 (1928), 387 (1976), 379 (1985)
Right side of bullpen gate: 415 (1937)
Deepest left-center: 500 (1923), 490 (1924), 457 (1937), 430 (1976), 411 (1985), 399 (1988)
Left side of center-field screen: 466 (1937)
Center Field: 487 (1923), 461 (1937), 463 (1967), 417 (1976), 410 (1985), 408 (1988)
Deepest right-center: 429 (1923), 407 (1937), 385 (1976)
Left side of bullpen gate in short right-center: 350 (1923), 367 (1937), 353 (1976)
Right side of bullpen gate: 344 (1937)
Right Field: 294.75 (1923), 295 (1930), 296 (1939), 310 (1976), 314 (1988)
Backstop: 82 (1942), 80 (1953), 84 (1976)
Foul territory: large for the catcher behind home plate, but small for fielders down the foul lines.
Fences: Left-field foul line: 3.92 (3 wire above .92 concrete, 1923), 8 (canvas, 1976); left-center, left of visitors’ bullpen: 3.58 (3 wire above .58 concrete); right of visitors’ bullpen: 7.83 (3 wire above 4.83 concrete), 7 (canvas, 1976); center field, left screen when up for hitters’ background: 20 (1953), 22.25 (1959), 22.42 (1954); screen when down: 13.83, (canvas, 1976); right-center, right of screen: 14.5 (3 wire above 11.5 concrete, 1923); left of home bullpen: 7.83 (3 wire above 4.83 concrete, 1923); right of home bullpen: 3.58 (3 wire above .58 concrete, 1923), 8 (canvas, 1976), 9 (canvas, 1979); right field foul line: 3.75 (3 wire above .75 concrete, 1923), 10 (canvas, 1976).

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[edit] History

On February 6, 1921, New York Yankees bosses, Colonel Jacob Ruppert and Tillinghast Huston announced the purchase of 10 acres of property in the west Bronx. The land, purchased from the estate of William Waldorf Astor Sr. for $675,000, sat directly across the Harlem River from the Polo Grounds, where the Yankees' had played since 1913. The lot had originally been used as a lumberyard. Ruppert and Huston had hoped to break ground that May, but city politics delayed the project for about a year.

Stadium as originally planned.

As originally designed, Yankee Stadium was to feature three decks and a roof which completely encircled the playing field. It was also hoped that the ballpark would be enclosed all the way around like the Yale Bowl, but in the end this did not happen. Yankee Stadium was the first ballpark to be called a stadium, and it grabbed the country's attention. Prior to construction 45,000 cubic yards of dirt was removed. Construction materials included: 3,000,000 boards of lumber; 20,000 yards of concrete; 800 tons of rebar; 2,300 tons of mechanical steel; 13,000 cubic yards of topsoil; 116,000, square feet of sod; 95,000 boards of lumber for the bleachers; and 1,000,000 brass screws. Cost: 2.5 million dollars. Being able to see the New York Yankees with your family and friends: priceless!

Surprisingly it took only 284 days to complete construction. As a side note, it took construction workers 100 days less than that to complete the Montreal Forum, the future home of the Montreal Canadiens and Montreal Maroons, which was built around the same time but was a much smaller structure. Sportswriter Fred Lieb dubbed the stadium "The House that Ruth Built" or rather "The House Built for Ruth" as the stadium was constructed to suit Babe Ruth's needs both as a hitter, and an outfielder as opposed to say, his teammate Bob Meusel.

The team opened Yankee Stadium on their opening day April 18, 1923. It was a brisk afternoon. Governor Al Smith, threw out the first pitch with Wally Schang of the Yankees catching. Famed conductor/composer John Philip Sousa was there, directing New York's 7th Regiment Band. Baseball Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis was also in attendance. In addition, the Yankees raised their 1922 American League Pennant. Boston Red Sox second baseman Chick Fewster was the first batter, and faced Yankee pitcher Bob Shawkey. Fewster grounded out to short. When it was the Yankees' turn to bat, outfielder Whitey Witt was the first batter for the Yankees. The Yankees went on to win the World Series that year, the first world championship in franchise history.

Fans in line for a Yankees game in 1923

The Yankees went 4,133-2,430-18 in their 85 years at Yankee Stadium. That included a two-year hiatus in 1974 and 1975, when the ballpark was closed for major renovations. The Yankees shared Shea Stadium with the New York Mets during those two seasons. They returned to the World Series in their first season back in the renovated Yankee Stadium, after a 12 year absence, which was seen by fans as a sign that the gods were satisfied with the renovation work done.

The Yankees moved to New Yankee Stadium, built on an adjacent site, for the 2009 season, and once again reached the World Series that first season. Many of the most salient features of Yankee Stadium, such as Monument Park, were transferred to the new ballpark. The old ballpark was demolished the following year.

Yankee stadium was notable for the Bleacher Creatures, Monument Park, and the Bronx Cheer. Before renovation, its dimensions were notorious, with a very short right field fence, but a very deep centerfield and a left-field fence that was death to most power hitters. The mid-1970s renovation brought the field back to less quirky dimensions, and many old-time observers claimed the stadium lost much of its character as a result.

Sources:

  • David Fischer: The Yankee Stadium Scrapbook: A Lifetime of Memories Running Press (Mar. 4, 2008)
  • Mark Gallagher: The Yankee Encyclopedia Sports Publishing LLC (1996)
  • Al Santasiere III, & Mark Vancil: Yankee Stadium: The Official Retrospective Pocket (Mar. 25, 2008)
  • Master Card commericals.

Non-baseball games:

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