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REMEMBERING YANKEE STADIUM
An Oral and Narrative History of The House That Ruth Built
Foreword by Bob Sheppard
From the day it opened in 1923 with Babe Ruth’s famous third-inning home run, Yankee Stadium has been, to baseball fans and New Yorkers alike, the ultimate sports icon. When “The House That Ruth Built” closes its doors at the end of the 2008 season, a remarkable era in baseball history will end. Renowned baseball historian Harvey Frommer’s Remembering Yankee Stadium: An Oral and Narrative History of “The House That Ruth Built” (Stewart, Tabori & Chang; ISBN 978-1-58479-716-6; $45.00 U.S. / $48.95 Canada; Publication month: September 2008) chronicles the Stadium’s spectacular eighty-five-year journey, through priceless photographs, a decade-by-decade narrative, and vivid first-person reminiscences. This rich and compelling book offers a one-of-a-kind account that is sure to move and inspire every baseball fan.
When it opened, Yankee Stadium was more than double the size of any ballpark at the time, and it has proven to be as intimidating and magnificent a presence as the storied team that calls it home. From Babe Ruth’s record-breaking 60 home runs in the 1927 season, to the home-run race between Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris in 1961, to the modern era of Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera, the Stadium remains an almost century-old testament to the highs and lows of what is arguably the best sports team of all time. “The Home of Champions” has been host to 33 World Series, a staggering 26 of them won by the Bronx Bombers.
Remembering Yankee Stadium relives the history of a team—and a nation—through the lens of those who experienced the ballpark over the years. Moving testimonials from Hall-of-Famers, fans, sports journalists, and historical figures coupled with striking images re-create the magic and mystique of this great cathedral of sports. This thrilling history of one of America’s most beloved landmarks is a must-have for all baseball enthusiasts and New Yorkers.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
This is Harvey Frommer’s 40th sports book. He is one of the country’s leading authorities on baseball history and has written such books as Red Sox vs. Yankees: The Great Rivalry (2004) and The New York Yankee Encyclopedia (1997). Frommer also wrote for Yankees Magazine for 18 years. He and his wife teach at Dartmouth College and live in Lyme, New Hampshire.
Bob Sheppard, “The Voice of Yankee Stadium,” has been the Yankees’ P.A. announcer since 1951 and was announcer for the New York Giants from 1956 to 2005. He lives in Baldwin, New York.
Significant moments in Yankee Stadium history, as noted in Remembering Yankee Stadium
1919: Babe Ruth is purchased from the Red Sox; when Yankee Stadium opens in 1923, it is given the nickname “The House That Ruth Built.”
“Some thought the new baseball park should be named ‘Ruth Field.’ Ruppert, however, was adamant that it be known as ‘Yankee Stadium.’ It would be the first ballpark to be referred to as a stadium.”
1923: Yankee Stadium opens with an historic home run by Babe Ruth, and that fall the Yankees win their first World Series in the new stadium.
“Bam! Ruth slugged the ball into the right-field bleachers—the first home run in Yankee Stadium history. The New York Times called it a ‘savage home run that was the real baptism of Yankee Stadium.’”
1941: Joe DiMaggio hits in 56 consecutive games, setting a new record.
“Over the next two months, the Yankee center fielder notched at least a hit a game. Joe DiMaggio was in a hot groove. And his fire added fuel to the Yankee engine. The team began winning.”
1961: Roger Maris breaks Babe Ruth’s record, scoring 61 home runs in a single season. There was a $5,000 reward for anyone who could catch the ball.
“As soon as Maris hit the ball, I knew it was going to be a home run that would go over my head. I jumped up on my seat and reached as high as I could. The ball hit the palm of my hand. It didn’t hurt. It was a thing from heaven that knocked me over into the next row.” (Sal Durante, Yankees fan)
1974–75: After being purchased for $10 million in 1973, the Yankees play in Shea Stadium while Yankee Stadium is being refurbished.
“I went to Opening Day for the Yankees at Shea Stadium, and that was a surreal experience. On the top of the scoreboard where there was always a Mets logo, they had the Yankee logo. We went to that game for the novelty of it more than anything else.” (Tracy Nieporent, Yankees fan)
1977: Reggie Jackson hits three home runs in a row during game six of the World Series.
“I felt like Superman,” said Reggie afterward. “Nothing can top this. Who in hell’s ever going to hit home runs in a deciding World Series game? Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, Joe DiMaggio. At least I was with them for one night.”
1999: The Yankees win their third of four World Series titles in five years. The following year, they would beat the Mets in the first Subway Series.
“For hours after the game in the Yankee Stadium clubhouse, the champagne flowed and splashed amid shouts of triumph. NBC’s Jim Gray asked George Steinbrenner, ‘How long can this go on?’ ‘Forever!’ replied the principal owner.”
2006: Groundbreaking for the new Yankee Stadium, set to open in 2009.
“I think it’s a great day,” Derek Jeter said. “There’s a lot of history here. There were a lot of good memories here. Now we’ll try to take that over across the street.”