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Yankee Stadium
Location East 161st Street & River Ave.
Bronx, New York
Opened 1923
Renovation 1974-1976
Re-opened 1976
Closed 2008
Demolished 2009-2010
Owner New York Yankees
Operator (same as above)
Cost (1923) $2.4 million
Cost (1974-1975 renovation) $160 million
Capacity 57,545

Yankee Stadium was the home stadium of the New York Yankees, a major league baseball team. Located at East 161st Street and River Avenue in The Bronx, New York City, it originally opened on April 18, 1923. The first night game was played on May 28, 1946. For the 1974-1975 seasons, the Yankees relocated across town to Shea Stadium while Yankee Stadium underwent extensive renovations. It was reopened on April 15, 1976.

Yankee Stadium is one of the most famous sports venues in America, having hosted a variety of events and hundreds of historical moments in its existence. Its primary occupants, the Yankees, have won far more World Series (26) championships than any other major league club. The stadium's nickname, "The House That Ruth Built", comes from the iconic Babe Ruth, the baseball superstar whose prime years coincided with the beginning of the Yankees' winning history.

In 2006, the Yankees began construction of a New Yankee Stadium, to open in 2009. Most of Yankee Stadium is expected to be demolished at that time, leaving only the underground clubhouses as part of replacement park facilities.

History and design[]

Yankee Stadium is often referred to as "The House that Ruth Built", but it is usually referred to as "The Stadium". It was the first baseball park to be labeled a "Stadium" rather than a "Field," a "Park," or a "Grounds," and it conformed to the usage of the term in ancient Greece, where a stadium was a foot-race arena. Yankee Stadium's field was initially surrounded by a (misshapen) quarter-mile running track, which effectively also served as an early "warning track" for fielders, a feature now standard in all major league ballparks.

Lithograph postcard of original Yankee Stadium

Yankee Stadium favors left-handed batters because of a shorter right-field fence, which was once called "Ruthville" and is now known as "the short porch", although the field has become much more symmetric over the years. In contrast, the park has been less favorable for right-handed batters. Under the original configuration, the outfield distances were 295 feet from home plate to left field, 460 ft to left center, and 490 ft to straightaway center.[1]

Left-center soon came to be called "Death Valley," in reference to the high number of balls hit to that area that would have cleared the wall easily in most other parks but resulted in simple fly ball outs in Yankee Stadium. Although the fence has been moved in several times over the years to make it more hitter friendly, the park remains one of the most difficult for right-handed hitters, as evidenced by the fact that in 2005, Alex Rodriguez became the first right-handed Yankee hitter to hit 40 home runs in a season since 1937, when Joe DiMaggio belted 46. Rodríguez set a new team record for right-handed batters with 48. According to baseball historian Bill James, Joe DiMaggio lost more home runs due to his home park disadvantage than any player in history. Two lefthanders have done better than Rodríguez: Roger Maris belted 61 in 1961, and Babe Ruth hit 49 or more season homers on five occasions with a peak of 60 in 1927.[2] Switch-hitting Mickey Mantle hit 54 in 1961. The Stadium's elevation (near sea level) and other climate-related factors may also be involved.


View of a night game at Yankee Stadium between the New York Yankees and the Minnesota Twins

At the time the stadium was built, there was media discussion over the short right field line (295 feet) which clearly favored left-handed power hitters such as the Yankees rising star Babe Ruth. The left field line was also short. However, the advantage was only for a true pull hitter, as the dimensions were deep almost everywhere else, and even right center, where it was 350 feet, was not out of line for that time period; nor was the right field area as generous to hitters (specifically, Ruth) as it had been at the Polo Grounds.

The deep left field area also allowed easy accommodation of football. Over the next five decades, many college and professional football contests were held, prior to the 1970s renovations which rendered the Stadium primarily a baseball facility.

A depiction of the atmosphere of the pre-renovation stadium can be seen in the latter scenes of the 1959 Mervyn LeRoy film The FBI Story, which starred James Stewart. In these scenes, FBI agents tracked a suspected Soviet espionage courier. These scenes show the arrival of an elevated train at the station near the right field bleachers, football action and crowd scenes and reaction during a New York Giants game, groups of people waiting at a concession stand, and scenes outside the main stadium concourse.

Often referred to as "the black," the seats behind center field are painted black and not occupied during baseball games. Known as a "batter's eye," this allows batters to track the ball as it is pitched, as the "black bleachers" section is directly in front of them. If fans were allowed to sit in this section, it would create an unfair pitcher's advantage, as it would make it virtually impossible for batters to track the ball if a substantial number of fans were wearing white shirts. Fans can run over from the right-center field bleachers to chase balls hit into the batter's eye, but this only happens a couple of times a season.

Yankee Stadium is the scene of such historic events as Babe Ruth's then-record 60th home run in 1927; tearful farewell addresses by Lou Gehrig in 1939 and Babe Ruth in 1948; Don Larsen's perfect World Series game in 1956; Roger Maris's then-record 61st home run in 1961; Reggie Jackson's three home runs in a World Series game in 1977; and on-field celebrations of World Series championships. In addition, the 1939 and 1977 Major League Baseball All-Star Games were held there, as well as the second 1960 All-Star Game. Yankee Stadium was awarded the 2008 Major League Baseball All-Star Game according to MLB Commissioner Bud Selig.[3]

One hypothesis is that the "Bronx cheer" was so named because of its popularity among Yankees fans.

File:Yankee stadium exterior2.JPG

Yankee Stadium as seen from a neighboring parking lot

Yankee Stadium was owned by Rice University from 1962 until 1971, when the City of New York acquired the property by eminent domain for $2.5 million. Rice University alumnus, John Cox ‘27, acquired all of the capital stock of the stadium holding company in 1955, donating it to his alma mater in 1962. Though the university owned the stadium itself, the Knights of Columbus owned the actual real estate underneath.[4]

No one had ever been married at home plate until March 10, 2006. A longtime Jersey City resident, Ed Lucas, a blind reporter for the Mets and the Yankees, wedded his fiancee, Alison Pfeifle, in the first on-field wedding ceremony to be performed at the site. According to Yankee spokesman Ben Tuliebitz, weddings had been held in the Yankee Clubhouse and Monument Park before.

One notable engagement ceremony took place in the Stadium's Monument Park on Old Timers' Day in July 2004. Michael Munson, son of Yankee catcher and captain Thurman Munson, proposed to his girlfriend Michelle Bruey under his father's plaque. The proposal (and her acceptance) came just before the Yankees held a special ceremony honoring their former star, and recognizing the 25th anniversary of his August 1979 death.

Front exterior of Yankee Stadium in the 1920s

Front exterior of Yankee Stadium in the 1950s

Left field of the original Yankee Stadium

The World Series at Yankee Stadium[]

Since its 1923 opening, 37 of 83 World Series have been played at Yankee Stadium, with the Yankees winning 26.

Sixteen of those World Series were clinched at Yankee Stadium:

Other events[]

Many boxing matches have been held at the Stadium, notably Joe Louis's first-round knockout of Max Schmeling on June 22, 1938. Heavyweight champions Jack Dempsey (after losing the title), Rocky Marciano, Floyd Patterson, Ingemar Johansson and Muhammad Ali all had at least one fight there.

Yankee stadium kids

A family sitting in the pre-renovation bleachers during intermission at a convention of Jehovah's Witnesses

Beginning in 1950, the stadium began holding religious conventions of the Jehovah's Witnesses. The first convention attracted 123,707 people, more in a single day than any other stadium event up to that time.[1] These conventions would continue on until the late 80's. When room ran out in the stands, the ladies were asked to remove their heels, and people were brought in to sit in the outfield. There was also a makeshift camp nearby where the program was broadcast for hundreds others to listen to.

In 2005, the convention was held in Nassau Coliseum. However, Nassau scheduled a Destiny's Child concert on a day of one of the three day conventions, causing the Witnesses to need to split the schedule and clean up after the concert. After this incident, the witnesses pulled their conventions from Nassau, and planned to hold them at Yankee Stadium once again for 2006. However, they decided instead to split the conventions into smaller groups meeting at smaller indoor facilities throughout the Tri-State area.

Billy Graham held large gatherings at the Stadium. On October 4, 1965, Pope Paul VI celebrated a Mass at Yankee Stadium during a visit to the United States in front of a crowd in excess of 80,000. This was the first Papal Mass ever delivered in North America. Fourteen years later, on October 2, 1979, Pope John Paul II also celebrated Mass there.

The first rock concert held at the stadium was on June 22, 1990 by Billy Joel. It was also the site of two dates of U2's ZOO TV tour in 1992. During one song, Bono paid tribute to the show's setting with the line "I dreamed I saw Joe DiMaggio/Dancing with Marilyn Monroe...". Pink Floyd also performed two sold out shows at this venue on their 1994 tour in support of The Division Bell album.

The Stadium was also the site of a memorial service on September 23, 2001 in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks.

However, the Stadium has been used almost exclusively for baseball since 2001, as most other concerts and events seek the more modern facilities of Madison Square Garden or Giants Stadium.

NHL executives had inquired about the possibility of using the field for a Heritage Classic type event with a New York Islanders vs New York Rangers ice hockey match during the 2006-07 NHL season.[5] The NHL announced that there will not be such a game during the 2006-07 season, but planning for a possibility for 2007-08. Based on the initial rumors, such a game would likely be played on New Year's Day and serve as the kickoff for NBC's NHL coverage for that season. During the New York Rangers game telecast on September 27, 2006 against the Boston Bruins, it was noted by Rangers play-by-play broadcaster Sam Rosen that a Rangers vs. Bruins matchup was a possibility for the NHL game at Yankee Stadium. It would be a clear attempt to play up the New York and Boston rivalry that is prevalent in all American sports, not just baseball.

Distinguishing characteristics[]


The entrance into the monument section of Monument Park

Monument Park[]

Main article: Monument Park (Yankee Stadium)

Monument Park is a section of Yankee Stadium which contains the Yankees' retired numbers, a collection of monuments and plaques pertaining to the New York Yankees and other events to take place at the stadium and in the city.


The Facade over the wall behind the bleachers

The Facade[]

One of the most distinguishing characteristics of Yankee Stadium is the facade. Originally, the facade was a series of copper arches (painted white in the 1960s) that ran around the roof of the grandstand's upper deck. However, the renovation of the 1970s greatly scaled back this roof, and the facade was removed. A white replica was run along the bleacher billboards and scoreboard, where it stands to this day. In the new stadium, the facade will return to the upper deck roof.

The Facade is used as an icon for Yankee Stadium, and the New York Yankees ballclub. This can be clearly seen in its major use in graphics for the YES Network.

While it is called "the Facade" by fans, broadcasters, and Yankees officials, the term "facade" has nothing at all to do with it. The correct term would be "frieze", which is used very sparingly. It seems, however, that the Yankee organization is trying to shift to "The Frieze" when referring to this fixture in the new stadium, where it will be restored to its old position.


The Louisville Slugger shaped exhaust pipe

The Big Bat[]

Outside the stadium's main entrance gate, stands a 138-foot tall exhaust pipe in the shape of a baseball bat, complete with tape at the handle that frays off at the end. It is sponsored by Louisville Slugger, which leads to many people referring to it as "The Louisville Slugger". Is designed to look like a Babe Ruth model. "The Big Bat" is often used as a meeting place for people who will be sitting at games together but arriving separately.

File:Yankee Stadium 1928-1936.JPG

The Stadium as it looked during 1928-1936

Asymmetry inside and outside[]

Yankee Stadium was built on a five-sided, irregular plot of land. This gave it a very distinctive asymmetrical shape. For many years, and even today after remodeling, left field and center field were and are much more difficult areas to hit home runs than right field. The designers plans to extend the right field upper tiers compelled a short right field area. As the photo at left shows, there would have been ample room for a "normal" right field if that design element had been omitted and the bleachers had been made much narrower.

Bob Sheppard[]

Since 1951, Bob Sheppard has been the public address announcer at Yankee Stadium. His distinctive voice (Yankee legend Reggie Jackson has called him "the Voice of God"), and the way he announces players for over half a century has made him a part of the lore of the stadium and the team. Before a player's first at-bat of the game, Sheppard announces his uniform number, his name, his position, and his number again. Example: "Number 2... Derek... Jeter... Shortstop... Number 2..." For each following at-bat, Sheppard announces just the position and name: "The shortstop, Derek Jeter." Sheppard's long-term back-up is Jim Hall.

Hammond Organ[]

The Hammond Organ was installed at Yankee Stadium in 1967, and was primarily played by Eddie Layton from its introduction until his retirement after the 2003 season. The playing of the organ, or "tickling of the ivories", has added to the character of the stadium for many years, playing before games, introducing players, during the national anthem and the rendition of "Take me out to the ball game" during the seventh inning stretch. After Layton's retirement, he got to pick his replacements, New York Islanders organist Paul Cartier and Ed Alstrom.[6] In recent years, the use of the organ has been decreased in place of recorded music between innings and introducing players. Since the 2004 season, the national anthem has rarely been performed by the organists, opting for military recordings of the Star Spangled Banner. There have been rumors that there will not be an organ at the New Yankee Stadium, but these rumors are false. In fact, in 2005, a new Hammond Elegante was installed replacing the Hammond Colonnade which Eddie Layton played for all those years. The organ has actually been slowly increasing in use the past few years, and will be a welcome feature at the new facility. [citation needed]

"God Bless America"[]

After the September 11 terrorist attacks, all Major League Baseball stadiums started playing God Bless America during the seventh-inning stretch for the remainder of the 2001 season. Many teams ceased this practice the following season, although it has continued in post-season events at many cities. Five years later, the Yankees are the only team in baseball to play the song for all 81 home games. Usually, a recording of the song by Kate Smith is played, although sometimes there is a live performance by Irish tenor Ronan Tynan. For part of the 2005 season, the Yankees used a recording of Tynan, but the Kate Smith version was reinstated due to fan complaints.

Other characteristics[]

While some elements of the Stadium are decidedly modern, its asymmetry, monuments in left-center field and exterior arches give fans a reminder of the Stadium during its most golden period. Even the blue YANKEE STADIUM letters over the main gate are longtime features; they're the same letters that first appeared there in white in the early 1960s. The proximity to the 4 train makes it a part of the stadium, and there is a large gap in the walls behind the right field bleachers where fans and commuters can get a peek at each other.

Roll Call[]

After the first pitch is thrown at the top of the first inning, the "Bleacher Creatures" in Section 39, usually led by a man nicknamed Bald Vinny (a t-shirt designer and vendor who was featured in 2005 in the YES Network's reality television show YES's Ultimate Road Trip), begin chanting the names of every player in the defensive lineup (except the pitcher and catcher, with some rare exceptions), starting with the center fielder (ie: "JOH-nee DA-mon, clap, clap, clap clap clap"). They do not stop chanting the player's name until he acknowledges the Creatures (usually with a wave or a point), who then move on to the next player. Other names called out during roll call from time to time have included Yankee broadcasters John Sterling and Michael Kay, or Aaron Boone, Bucky Dent, and Babe Ruth when the Yankees host the rival Boston Red Sox. Sometimes, after a long rain delay, the Creatures start another Roll Call for kicks. Often when a player is replaced in the field, their replacement is also welcomed with a chant. Also, after finishing going through the players, the Creatures then chant "Box Seats Suck" to the fans in the right field box seats, or sometimes the more popular "Boston Sucks", a reference to the arch-rival Red Sox. They are sometimes countered with the chant "We've Got Beer", using the same meter, mocking the fact that the bleachers are a dry section. This chant is also often caused by, or responded to with, a chant of "Alcoholics".

In 1999, when David Wells, who had pitched a perfect game for the Yankees the season before, made his first appearance at the stadium since an offseason trade to the Toronto Blue Jays, the Creatures included David Wells in the roll call. When David Wells was a Yankee, he was also the only Yankee pitcher to receive a roll call every time he pitched.

In Hideki Matsui's first game at Yankee stadium the chants of Matsui went on for approximately two minutes, due to the fact that Matsui didn't know what was going on and was unsure of what to do.

Alfonso Soriano's name was chanted when he made his first appearance at Yankee Stadium after being traded to the Texas Rangers before the 2004 season.

Former Yankee third baseman Scott Brosius is notorious for not waving to the Bleacher Creatures immediately after they chanted his name the first time, like many players on the diamond. He got such a kick out of it, that he would wait until they chanted for sometimes up to a minute for him to wave at them.

In the 2006 home opener against the Kansas City Royals, the Bleacher Creatures chanted the name of Bernie Williams, who was the designated hitter that day, right after the rest of the defensive lineup. Williams, whose future in baseball was uncertain in the offseason, was in the clubhouse at the time and did not hear the Creatures. Pitcher Shawn Chacon ran to the clubhouse to retrieve Williams, but by the time they returned the chant had ended.[7]

Rules at the stadium[]

After the September 11, 2001 attacks, the authorities of Yankee Stadium enforced stricter (and more controversial) rules. Some of these rules were already used for any playoff games held at the stadium. As of 2006, the following rules are enforced at Yankee Stadium:

  • No video cameras
  • No backpacks
  • No briefcases
  • No large bags
  • No coolers
  • No glass or plastic bottles or cans (As of 2006 plastic bottles containing water are permitted.)

The reason given for these strict rules is security considerations, and indeed, Major League Baseball requires that some of them be enforced at all stadiums. And most of the other New York area teams also have similarly strict security rules. Still, they have proven unpopular. Security guards frisk and wand fans upon entering the stadium. They also occasionally request odd things of fans such as showing them that the fan's cell phone works, citing that the phone might be a bomb. Some fans are skeptical as to the real motivation behind these lengthy security measures (a restriction on cans and bottles, for example, forces people to buy beverages from the concession stands). Despite their unpopularity, attempts to get rid of these rules have not been successful.

The one exception of has been the water bottle situation. Although official rules list that all bottles are banned from the stadium, security has allowed plastic bottles of water and soda. However, on opening day 2006, security did not allow these bottles to enter the stadium, with mixed reasons including it being a new league policy or team policy. This stance lasted throughout the team's first homestand of the season, where many bottles littered the ground of the stadium. After many complaints by fans and media, the team changed their mind and have allowed water bottles (but not soda bottles) into the stadium for the remainder of the season.

The Yankees outsource their security details to Securitas Security Services. Additionally, they have NYPD officers throughout the stadium to maintain public safety.

Also, no stadium outside New York outlaws bags. Instead, other teams' security guards check inside fans bags to search for weapons—a practice that is common at other New York City locales, including Madison Square Garden and other concert venues, museums, and libraries- although not at stadiums. Many city fans have found this restriction particularly burdensome, since many travel to games using public transportation and cannot leave personal items in their cars. However, many local businesses have profited off this, creating bag checks at their facilities for a nominal fee, a practice that the Yankees do not endorse. Critics say these new rules have less to do with safety than control. Forbidding bags, they say, has more to do with cosmetics than security. Antiterrorism and police officials have not said that Yankee Stadium is a terrorism target more than any other place in the United States.


Yankee Stadium can be reached via the New York City Subway using the B, D or 4 trains. The elevated subway platform outside Yankee Stadium

Since the 1970s renovation, there has discussion to add a Metro-North station on the Hudson Line tracks that run behind the Stadium's south parking garage, but the Yankees have never been willing to pay for the station. In 2006, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority said it plans to pay for a station after the Yankees relocate to a new stadium north of 161st Street in 2009. The station will cost $45 million. The MTA said it will use money that had been earmarked to explore a subway expansion to La Guardia Airport in Queens.

The MTA also has buses that run to the stadium. Lines BX 1, 6, and 13 all have stops near Yankee Stadium.

Yankee Stadium has 15 official parking lots around the stadium for those wishing to travel by car. The main auto route to the stadium is the Major Deegan Expressway (I-87).

NY Waterway runs a ferry service to Yankee Stadium from various piers in Manhattan and New Jersey. This service is called "The Yankee Clipper" and serves food and alcohol while fans enjoy New York skylines.

Outfield dimensions[]

Main article: Yankee Stadium outfield dimensions

Compiled from various photos, baseball annuals, and Green Cathedrals by Phil Lowry.


  • Altered to make Monument Park more accessible
  • Left Field Line - 318 ft.
  • Straightaway LF - 379 ft.
  • Deep Left Center - 399 ft.
  • Center Field - 408 ft.
  • Right Center - 385 ft.
  • Straightaway RF - 353 ft.
  • Right Field Line - 314 ft.

The team's magazines indicate that there may be an area of center field as deep as 417 feet. If so, it is unmarked.

Photo gallery[]

The New Stadium[]

Main article: New Yankee Stadium

A new stadium for the Yankees is currently under construction on part of the former site of Macombs Dam Park. The new stadium's design will incorporate the design of Yankee Stadium from its original 1923 exterior as well as from the 1970s renovation. The above ground portion of the stadium will be completely demolished, with the existing clubhouses, which are underground, remaining in use for replacement park facilities.[8] Three baseball fields will be built atop the Yankee Stadium field after the Yankees' new stadium opens.[8] These new recreation facilities were designed to alleviate the loss of parkland to the Yankees' new stadium. Monument Park will be relocated in the new stadium.

The $1.3 billion stadium project, which includes $450 million in public subsidies, is being constructed on 22 acres of public parkland north of the team's East 161st Street home. The public costs include acquiring land for the stadium, building parking garages (including one on the former site of John Mullaly Park, which consisted of handball courts and was already being used for parking on game days), tearing down Yankee Stadium, and tax breaks. It does not include a $45 million Metro-North station, which will be paid for entirely by the public (through money accumulated in the MTAs budget since the 1980s, specifically for this purpose). Of the stadium's remaining cost, up to 40 percent may be subsized through reduced revenue-sharing contributions. The Yankees' $200 million payroll is consistently the highest in baseball, making them the largest contributor to the league's revenue-sharing pool. It has been estimated that the Yankees will contribute one-third of their new stadium's cost.

Although groundbreaking has taken place, community groups have not given up their fight to preserve their rare patch of parkland in one of the nation's poorest congressional districts. A federal lawsuit accuses the National Park Service of not exploring other options that preserve the neighborhood's parks and for not providing equivalent replacement parkland elsewhere. This negligence, the lawsuit says, violates federal laws designed to protect parkland from private business development. The Yankees' stadium and free-parkland acquisition were proposed in June 2005 without input from the community but with preapproval from pertinent legislative bodies. Consequently, it was approved within days of its announcement, forcing underfunded community groups to scramble for support. Even as fierce opposition mounted from parks and community groups, they were left with no room to maneuver to save its parkland. One year after the Yankees' new-stadium news conference, the team cleared all legislative, financial, and procedural hurdles.

The Yankees expect to begin the 2009 season in their new home. This would make 2008 the final season at the Yankees' famed ballpark.


External links[]

Preceded by:
Polo Grounds
Home of the
New York Yankees

Succeeded by:
Shea Stadium
Preceded by:
Shea Stadium
Home of the
New York Yankees

Succeeded by:
New Yankee Stadium
Preceded by:
Crosley Field
Host of the All-Star Game
Succeeded by:
Sportsman's Park
Preceded by:
Municipal Stadium
Host of the All-Star Game
1960 2nd Game
Succeeded by:
Candlestick Park
Preceded by:
Veterans Stadium
Host of the All-Star Game
Succeeded by:
San Diego Stadium
Preceded by:
AT&T Park
Host of the All-Star Game
Succeeded by:
Busch Stadium

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