As the days draw closer to a precious few for Yankee Stadium, herewith some oddities, factoids and singular information on the big ballpark in the Bronx that has been with us since 1923.
Ron Guidry was a good drummer and once kept a trap set at Yankee Stadium. He played in a post-game concert with the Beach Boys.
Outside the stadium is a 120-foot high baseball bat with Babe Ruth’s signature and the Louisville slugger logo. Its purpose is to cover a boiler vent.
A Letter to Don Larsen:
"Dear Mr. Larsen:
It is a noteworthy event when anybody achieves perfection in anything. It has been so long since anyone pitched a perfect big league game that I have to go back to my generation of ballplayers to recall such a thing and that is truly a long time ago. "This note brings you my very sincere congratulations on a memorable feat, one that will inspire pitchers for a long time to come. With best wishes,
Dwight D. Eisenhower
President of the United States
Bob Sheppard’s Favorite Names:
1. Mickey Mantle
2. Shigetoshi Hasegawa
3. Salome Barojas
4. Jose Valdivielso
5. Alvaro Espinoza
Yankee World Series Game-Ending Homers
Tommy Henrich, New York Yankees vs. Brooklyn, 1949, Game 1, 9th, 1-0.
Mickey Mantle, New York Yankees vs. St. Louis, 1964, Game 3, 9th, 2-1.
Chad Curtis, New York Yankees vs. Atlanta, 1999, Game 3, 10th, 6-5
Derek Jeter, New York Yankees vs. Arizona, 2001, Game 4, 10th, 4-3
Bob Sheppard's Favorite Stadium Moments:
- Don Larsen's perfect game.
- Roger Maris belting his then-record 61st regular-season home run in 1961.
- Chris Chambliss blasting a homer leading off the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 5 of the 1976 ALCS against Kansas City that gave the Yankees their first American League pennant in 12 years.
- Reggie Jackson's three home runs against the Los Angeles Dodgers on three consecutive pitches in Game 6 of the 1977 World Series.
- Babe Ruth never homered into the right field upper deck. The grandstand in right field ended at the foul pole and was not extended until 1937 three years after the Sultan of Swat was no longer a member of the Yankees.
The outfield wall at Yankee actually was always of uniform height. It was the ground beneath it that sloped. At the original Stadium, there was a shap pitch to the outfield grass uphill to the fence , just three feet high.
- First World Series home run at Yankee Stadium, Casey Stengel of the New York Giants hit an inside-the-park shot in Game 1 of the 1923 World Series.
- First player to have his number retired, Lou Gehrig, #4, on Lou Gehrig Appreciation Day, July 4, 1939.
- First night game at Yankee Stadium, May 28, 1946, a 2-1 loss to Washington.
- First World Series pinch-hit home run, Yogi Berra against the Brooklyn Dodgers, Game 3 of the 1947 World Series.
- First rookie to get two hits in one inning, Billy Martin, in a nine-run, eighth-inning rally at Fenway Park, April 18, 1950.
- First Yankee Stadium day game completed with lights, August 29, 1950.
- First Yankees game behind the microphone for Bob Sheppard, April 17, 1951, New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox.
- First home game outside of Yankee Stadium since 1922, April 6, 1974, as the Yanks begin playing the first of two seasons at Shea Stadium.
- First home run at refurbished Yankee Stadium, Dan Ford of Minnesota, April 15, 1976.
- First Yankee winning pitcher at refurbished Yankee Stadium, Dick Tidrow, April 15, 1976.
First home run by a Yankee at refurbished stadium, Thurman Munson, April 17, 1976.
- First championship series game at Yankee Stadium, October 12, 1976, a 5-3 win over Kansas City.
- First night World Series game at Yankee Stadium, October 19, 1976, a 6-2 loss to Cincinnati.
*Adapted from the author's forthcoming book -
REMEMBERING YANKE STADIUUM: AN ORAL AND NARRATIVE HISTORY OF THE HOUSE THAT RUTH BUILT
Harvey Frommer is his 33rd consecutive year of writing sports books. The author of 40 of them including the classics: "New York City Baseball,1947-1957" and "Shoeless Joe and Ragtime Baseball," his REMEMBERING YANKEE STADIUM, an oral/narrative history (Abrams, Stewart, Tabori and Chang) will be published in September 2008 as well as a reprint version of his "Shoeless Joe and Ragtime Baseball.".
Frommer sports books are available direct from the author - discounted and autographed. FROMMER SPORTSNET (syndicated) reaches a readership in excess of one million and appears on Internet search engines for extended periods of time.