Throughout the world
there are many buildings or structures, that become
famous, legendary or popular over time for a variety of reasons.
Yankee Stadium was one of these historic archives to many baseball
fans across the world. The 2008
baseball season marked the end to one of the most famous
stadiums in the world, Yankee Stadium. Since the time of its opening more than
eight decades ago, the stadium was the home to one of the
greatest teams in sports, the New York Yankees, with legendary
players such as Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe Dimaggio, Mickey Mantle
and today's stars, Alex Rodriquez and Derek Jeter. The Yankees
have a long history that dates back to Baltimore at the turn of the
20th century. They moved to New York in 1903 and were then known as the New
York Highlanders. They played at
Hilltop Park until 1912, when their lease expired. They accepted
an invitation to play at the New York Giants home,
and changed their name to the Yankees. They signed a ten year lease
at the Polo Grounds in 1913 and began to outdraw the Giants at the
end of the decade as a result of the acquisition of Babe Ruth. By 1920, the
Yankees became the first team to attract more than one million fans.
The Giants evicted the Yankees after the 1922 season, hoping that the
Yankees would have to move to a borough far away so the Giants would
attract more fans.
The Yankees looked at
several locations across the city to construct a new stadium.
Various sites were explored including Queens, upper Manhattan and
along 5th Avenue and 32nd Street. Yankees co-owners, Colonel Jacobs Ruppert and Colonel T.L. Huston,
paid $675,000 for land in the Bronx, less than
mile from Polo Grounds, to build the stadium. Designed by Osborn Engineering, original plans called
for a triple-decked stadium with grandstands circling the entire field.
However, because the stadium seemed too foreboding, the original plans
were scaled back. Instead, the ballpark became the first to have
three tiers of seating, consisting of 58,000 seats. It was also the
first ballpark to be called a stadium due to its enormous size.
Construction of the stadium began on May 5, 1922 and was completed in
just 284 days. The stadium was
built of mainly steel and concrete, as the triple decked grandstand
extended behind homeplate and up the base lines. The lower deck
continued until it met the wooden bleachers behind the outfield
fence. A 15-foot copper facade was erected to adorn the stadium's
third deck. This quickly became one of its most recognized and
grandest features. The scoreboard was located beyond the bleachers
in right field. Given the name Yankee Stadium, it was completed in only 284 days, opening on
April 18, 1923. Original dimensions at Yankee Stadium were 295 ft. (right), 490 ft.
(center), and 281 ft. (left). Centerfield became known as "Death
Valley" because of its distance from homeplate.
Since the Yankees
achieved great such tremendous success in attracting fans at Yankee Stadium, it was not long before
the stadium was expanded. The triple decked grandstand was
extended into left field in 1928 and the same extension was
completed down the right field line in 1937. Concrete bleachers
replaced the wooden bleachers beyond the outfield fence. With the
addition of the grandstands, the capacity of Yankee Stadium grew to
nearly 80,000, depending on the amount of people that stood while
The first of many
monuments and plaques was added in 1932. This area became known as
"Monument Park" in fair territory in dead center field when a
monument to former manager Miller Huggins was erected. Monuments of
Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and others were erected in years following
1932. Night baseball came to Yankee Stadium on May 28, 1946 and a
new scoreboard was installed in 1959. Other sports, such as boxing and
football, were played at Yankee Stadium until the early 1970s.
In the early 1970s, Yankee Stadium began
showing its age. In 1971,
Yankees owner Mike Burke began
exploring the possibility of building a new stadium in New Jersey. However New
York City Mayor, John Lindsay, announced that the city would buy and
renovate Yankee Stadium, purchasing it for $24 million
in 1972. The same year, George Steinbrenner bought the team. The
Yankees played in Yankee Stadium one more year before drastic
changes were made.
Renovations to Yankee Stadium began
immediately after the 1973 season. While Yankee Stadium was being
renovated the Yankees played at Shea Stadium, home of the New York
Mets. Parts of Yankee Stadium were completely demolished. Changes
were made to eliminate the posts and columns that supported the upper
deck. The copper facade atop the upper deck was removed and
replicated at the top of the scoreboard that runs from center
field to right field. New 22 inch blue, plastic seats replaced the old 18
inch wooden green seats reducing the capacity to 54,000. New
luxury suites and
concessions were added along with the remodeling
of the press box and restrooms. To eliminate climbs to the third
level, escalators and elevators were added to parts of the exterior
of the stadium. The facade of Yankee Stadium was repainted and a
138 foot tall replica of a Louisville Slugger baseball bat was
placed near the entrance of the stadium.
After two years of
renovations, Yankee Stadium reopened on April 15, 1976. There were
several striking differences that fans noticed at the renovated
stadium. They included the monuments in centerfield that were moved
to Monument Park behind the left-centerfield wall and the original
copper facade now replicated above the scoreboard in the outfield.
However, the transition to the renovated Yankee Stadium was easy as
the Yankees made it to the 1976 World Series. Since the
late 1970s, very few changes occurred at Yankee Stadium. It remained
the home to many great ballplayers and an
excellent place to see a game. Since its opening in
Stadium was home to 26 World Championship teams. In
the late 1990s the Yankees began exploring the possibility of
building a new stadium as Yankee Stadium lacked many of the modern
amenities of newer ballparks built. In June 2005, the team announced plans to
new Yankee Stadium. Yankee Stadium will be demolished over
a two year period, completed by Summer 2010, and converted into a public park area featuring a
baseball and softball field. Nearly 12,000 trees will be planted in
the shape of the stadium.
For more than eight decades Yankee Stadium was the home to some
of the greatest players in baseball. The Yankees played
their last regular season game at Yankee Stadium on September 21,
2008. The new
Yankee Stadium opened across East 161st Street in
FACTS & FIGURES
-Tenant: New York Yankees
$2.5 Million, $48 Million (renovations)
April 18, 1923
-Closed: September 21, 2008
318-L, 399-LC, 408-C, 385-RC, 314-R
-Home Dugout: First Base
SUBMIT YOUR PICTURES!
Have pictures of
this stadium? If you have a digital
version submit using the form below.
If you have negatives or photo
prints email us at pictures @
ballparksofbaseball.com! We will add
your photos here!
NEW YORK YANKEES
Last Opening Day
at Yankee Stadium Panorama Poster