On February 6, 1921, the Yankees purchased 10 acres of property in the west
The new stadium favored left-handed hitters with the right-field foul pole only 295 feet from home plate, while it was 429 feet out to right center. Though the left-field pole measured only 281 feet from the plate, right-handed hitters were neutralized by a 395-foot left field and a whopping 460 to left center. In the beginning the new stadium had only eight toilet rooms for men and as many for women! During a remodeling 50 years later, renovations included more than 50 restrooms!
The first construction contract was awarded to New York's White Construction Co. on May 5, 1922 with the edict that the job must be completed "at a definite price" ($2.5-million) and by Opening Day 1923. Incredibly, it was. In only 284 working days, Yankee Stadium was ready for its inaugural game on April 18, 1923 vs. the Boston Red Sox. They won the game!
This year in August, I was privileged to have the opportunity to experience a ballgame in this great “cathedral” to the sport!
“Our seats were very high up in the stadium, but almost directly behind home plate. It was easy to see the little “ant” players swinging, spitting, scratching, hitting, and running around below us. Frankly, it took me several minutes before I ever got into the game, or even looked for the score. I wanted to take it all in…the people, the sounds, the smells, and most of all to feel myself sitting in an aisle seat and watching a professional baseball game – not just any ol’ game, but a New York Yankee’s ball game!
At the “seventh inning stretch” everyone stood and sang along to “
I looked out over the center and right field walls and on over into the
I looked out over crowd and wondered if they realized the tradition in the moment! “Man, just think of the people that have played in that stadium and who had watched them play…the luckiest people in the whole world. Thank God I’m an American,” I was thinking, “Why aren’t we all just blubbering around the stands and hugging each other, swapping hotdogs, and bumping plastic beer cups!?””
Tonight the Yankees play their last game in this wonderful old facility. Many hearts are broken that the games are moving from there, and that the facility that built father/son/daughter memories for 85 years will be torn down.
Hopefully, new traditions and family bonds will be built in the new facility just across the street. It will take time, I’m sure, but one day, say another 85 years from now, other fans will feel the same way about this new “cathedral!”