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Wednesday, September 27, 2023


Saying so long to Yankee Stadium

On the corner of East 161st Street and River Avenue in the Bronx sits an 85-year-old monument that has housed some of sport’s most prolific events. It’s a place called home by some of baseball’s most astounding players and a shrine to the fans that wear pinstripes as a second skin.

That monument, Yankee Stadium, has been home to the New York Yankees since 1923. On Sunday, it sadly held its final game in true Yankees style – with a win.

After sharing the Polo Grounds with the New York Giants baseball club for nine years, the then New York Highlanders sought to build their own stadium across the Harlem River. Since its opening, Yankee Stadium became one of the most adored ballparks in all of sports.

Through its life, it has accommodated 39 American League Champions and 26 World Champions, both of which are records. There have been five no-hitters thrown in the stadium and three perfect games, including the only one during a World Series. Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, Lou Gehrig and Mickey Mantle make up just a fraction of the great players to have called Yankee Stadium home – some say they still do.

The stadium was also home to football’s New York Giants for 17 seasons, held the 1923 Army-Navy game and the Joe Lewis vs. Max Schmeling fight in 1938 and hosted three papal visits.

But like all good things, it must come to an end. The 2009 MLB season will mark a new beginning for the team in the New Yankee Stadium, situated just across the street from the old one.

It’s easy to say that the team’s new home won’t have the charm its predecessor had, and it won’t – at least in the beginning. But nobody could have known 85 years ago that Yankee Stadium would be the historical landmark that it is today. Nobody could have foreseen the success the team would have upon moving into its new home, either. With that, the Yankees will have a lot on their shoulders.

However, a team with as much positive history as the Yankees could easily be paying tribute to another great ballpark a century from now. It will be sad to see one of baseball’s fixtures go, but as long as team owner George Steinbrenner has anything to do with it, the new stadium will be nothing less than top notch.

Only time will tell whether the ghosts of Yankee Stadium will make the trip across the street, but the legions of fans should find it an easy transition.

There’s no doubt that roll call will continue from the bleachers or that the bells will chime each time a member of the home team crosses the plate. Long-time public address announcer Bob Sheppard will still give the starting lineups before the game and Frank Sinatra’s voice will surely be heard following a win.

Yankee Stadium has been a fixture in the Bronx for many generations and while it’s sad to see it go, there’s hope that the new stadium will give fans something to cheer about for generations to come.

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