So Long to Yankee Stadium

by Suzie Raven

In 1923, Babe Ruth hit the first homerun at Yankee Stadium. Four years later, he became the first player to hit 60 homeruns in a season. On September 21, 2008, New York Yankees catcher Jose Molina hit the last homerun in the House that Ruth built.

In Yankee Stadium, Lou Gehrig — who was dying of ALS — declared himself "the luckiest man on the face of the Earth." Legendary pitcher Whitey Ford, who has won more World Series games than any other pitchrer (10), also called himself lucky when remembering some of the finest moments in the ballpark.

The memories include Joe DiMaggio starting his 56 game hitting streak, Mickey Mantle’s 500th homerun and Reggie Jackson’s three homeruns on three pitches against three pitchers, leading the Yankees to win the 1977 World Series. At Yankee Stadium in 1956, Dan Larsen pitched the only perfect game in World Series history.

Ford remembers seeing Roger Maris’ 61st homerun, the hit that broke Ruth’s record and was caught by Sal Durante. Durante could’ve sold the ball for an enormous sum of money, but wanted to give it to Maris for free.

“Times sure have changed,” Maris said.

Or, as catcher Yogi Berra, who is arguably more famous for his outlandish statements than for having a World Series ring for each finger, once said, “Nostalgia ain’t what it used to be.”

His comment came years before the franchise decided to tear down the stadium, but his words seem especially appropriate now. While the New York Yankees are only moving across the street, no stadium will ever hold the same history.

The new stadium will hold more seats and bring in more revenue for the richest franchise in Major League Baseball, a team that is certainly not hurting for money. We shouldn’t be surprised that the current Yankees management values increasing revenue above preserving a ballpark that represents so many of baseball's icons and historic moments. But it’s still sad to see this stadium be torn down.

Times sure have changed.

(Photo by Yankee Fans via Flickr, using a Creative Commons license.)

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