Odd and Interesting Old Yankee
Stadium Facts for Hot Stove League Reading
This time of year baseball and to my mind Yankee fans
get especially restless for the season or at least spring training to
get underway. Not a substitute but at least a quick reading fix for your
reading pleasure--Strange, Odd and Interesting Yankee Stadium Facts.
1. Some wanted the brand new Yankee Stadium in 1923 to be called "Ruth
Stadium." Owner Jake Ruppert wanted Ruppert Stadium. They settled for
the nickname "the House That Ruth Built."
2. It took 500 workers 185 days to build the original Yankee Stadium.
3. At the start, names of Yankee players were imprinted in white chalk
near the top of their lockers.
4. The practice of selling more tickets than existing seats lasted
until a 1929 stampede in the right field bleachers left two dead and 62
5. Negro League teams who played at the Stadium when the Yanks were on
the road were barred from using the Yankee dressing rooms. Instead, they
were obliged to use the visitors' dressing room.
6. "Lou Gehrig Appreciation Day" was staged before 61,808 on July 4,
1939. His uniform number four was the first in baseball history to be
7. In 1941, Yankee president Ed Barrow offered Civil Defense the use of
Yankee Stadium as a bomb shelter in case of attack. He thought the area
under the stands could provide a safe haven.
8. On August 16, 1948, Babe Ruth died of throat cancer at age 53. His
body lay in state at Yankee Stadium and was viewed by more than 100,000
9. The last home run at the original Yankee Stadium on September 30,
1973 was hit by Duke Sims in his seventh day as a Yankee. A coin toss
that day tabbed him to play. It was not until much later that Sims
realized the significance of his home-run shot.
10. The film "61" was filmed in Detroit, not at Yankee Stadium. Billy
Crystal explained the Motor City ballpark architecture was better able
to be made to resemble that of the Yankee Stadium of 1961.
11. Sal Durante, the guy who caught the ball Roger Maris hit for his
61st homer, snagged tickets the day of the game at a less-than-sold- out
12. Mickey Mantle originally wore number six, but equipment manager
Pete Sheehy switched him to seven after Mantle was recalled from Kansas
13. 20,000 letters that Mickey Mantle never answered were not bid on in
the old Yankee Stadium fire sale in 1974.
14. There was widespread and indiscriminate disposal of valuable items
during demolition of much of the Stadium in the mid-1970s.
15. Among the items sold in the refurbishment "fire sale" at Yankee
Stadium were player jockstraps, which had names on them for
identification when they came back from the laundry. The selling of
these jockstraps was stopped because of sanitary reasons.
16. In 1976, a homer by Chris Chambliss gave the Yankees the American
League pennant. Such a mob crowded the plate that Chambliss was taken
back a few minutes after hitting the homer, and he finally touched home
17. All kinds of crazy things went on in the bullpens--some of them
outlandish and some of them sexy--lots having to do with food.
18. In 1988, behind a wall that was closed off for decades, a
scorecard, a program and what was supposedly the bases for the 1936 team
19. The less-than-capable 1990 Yankees had but one starting pitcher who
won more than seven games, nine-game winner Tim Leary--but he also lost
20. On September 11, 2001, within 90 minutes of the horrific attacks on
the World Trade Center, Yankee Stadium was evacuated.
21. Ron Guidry, a good drummer, once kept a trap set at Yankee Stadium
and also played in a post-game concert with the Beach Boys.
22. Joe Torre was witness to all three perfect games in Yankee Stadium
history: He saw Don Larsen's beauty as a 16-year-old fan, and the gems
of David Wells and David Cone from the dugout as Yankee manager.
23. Bob Sheppard holds the record for seeing the most games at Yankee
# # #
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Harvey Frommer at:
About the Author:
Harvey Frommer is in his 38th year of writing books.
A noted oral historian and sports journalist, the author of 42 sports
books including the classics: "New York City Baseball,1947-1957" and
"Shoeless Joe and Ragtime Baseball," his acclaimed REMEMBERING YANKEE
STADIUM was published in 2008 and his REMEMBERING FENWAY PARK: AN ORAL
AND NARRATIVE HISTORY OF THE HOME OF RED SOX NATION was published to
acclaim in 2011. The prolific Frommer is at work on When It Was
Just a Game, An Oral History on Super Bowel One.
His work has appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times,
Washington Post, New York Daily News, Newsday, USA Today, Men's Heath,
The Sporting News, among other publications.
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