While in NYC in May of this year, we were finally able to see and take a tour of Yankee Stadium. It was my 20th MLB Park and I was so excited to be 2/3 of the way into my quest to see all 30 stadiums! There is so much history behind the Yankees and Yankee Stadium. I just wish I would have been able to see the stadium often referred to as the House That Ruth Built. Sadly it was demolished after the new stadium was opened on opening day on April 16, 2009.
The newest stadium contains 63% more space and 500,000 square feet more in total space than the previous stadium. One of the main changes was making sure there we wider concourses as well as open sight lines on the concourses. Our tour guide Justin told us that the old stadium wasn’t quite as guest friendly and you would miss the game if you went to get a drink or food. The new stadium has many TVs located in the concession areas as well as throughout the concourses.
The new stadium also contains a center-field scoreboard which is 59 X 101 feet long and has a 5,925 square feet viewing area. It is HUGE. Justin told us that if the scoreboard was laid flat on the ground, the Knicks could play a basketball game since a standard basketball court is 49.2 X 91.86 with a total playing area of 4520.43 square feet. Wow, that is a huge scoreboard! It looked big, but not THAT big.
While this is a new stadium and design, there are many elements of the ballpark’s interior that were inspired by the original Yankee Stadium. One such element is the replica of the frieze that was a trademark of the previous ballpark. Between the exterior perimeter wall and interior of the stadium is the “Great Hall”, a large concourse that runs between Gates 4 and 6 with seven-story ceilings. The Great Hall features more than 31,000 square feet of retail space and is lined with 20 banners of past and present Yankees superstars.
While we didn’t get to see their clubhouse, however, we learned that each player has a locker equipped with a safety deposit box and a touchscreen computer. It also contains a weight room, training room, video room, lounge area, as well as batting cages.
Located on the lower level of the stadium is the New York Yankees Museum which holds a wide range of Yankees memorabilia. The most dominating piece in the museum is what they call the “Ball Wall”. This wall holds hundreds of balls autographed by past and present Yankees, and there are plans to eventually add autographs for every living player who has played for the Yankees. It is impressive. Also memorable is the tribute to Don Larsen’s perfect game in the 1956 World Series, as well as statues of Larsen pitching to Yogi Barra. One more thing to note in this room was the touching tribute to former player Thurman Munson who died while practicing landing his Cessna Citation on a scheduled day off in August of 1979.
Speaking of memorials, the new Yankee Stadium contains Monument Park, which features the Yankees’ retired numbers, as well as monuments and plaques dedicated to distinguished Yankees. It is a very nice area to stroll through and our guide let us walk around for quite a while. I will be sharing a separate post on Monument Park at a later date and will come back to share the link. One thing I would like to share is that they had a very nice monument to Jackie Robinson that was quite touching. I will definitely share more about him and his career in that post.
1 In January of 1903, Frank Farrell and Bill Devery purchased the defunct Baltimore franchise of the American League for $18,000 and then move the team to Manhattan where they were approved as a member of the American League. The team played in a hastily constructed, all-wood park at 168th Street and Broadway with opening day happening on April 22 of the same year. Because the site is one of the highest spots in Manhattan, the club will be known as the “Highlanders” and their home field “Hilltop Park.” In 1913, the Highlanders are officially renamed the “Yankees” after moving to the Polo Grounds, home of the National League’s New York Giants. George Mogridge becomes the first Yankee to throw a no-hitter in a 2-1 win at Fenway Park on April 24, 1917.
In a bold move, the Yankees purchased the contract of Babe Ruth from the Boston Red Sox for $125,000 and a $350,000 loan against the mortgage on Fenway Park in January of 1920. Two years later construction begins on Yankee Stadium. On Apr. 18, 1923, Yankee Stadium opens with a 4-1 win over the Boston Red Sox before a reported crowd of 74,200, and Babe Ruth hits the Stadium’s first home run. I guess that was what led to the saying about the house he built. It is also the year that the Yankees win their first World Series. Later, in 1929, the Yankees become the first team to make numbers a permanent part of the uniform (numbers would become standard for all teams by 1932).
The 1930s were very busy for the Yankee organization. In 1932, Lou Gehrig becomes the first player to hit four home runs in a single game in the Yankees’ 20-13 win at Philadelphia (he remains the only Yankee to hit four home runs in one game), in1934 Babe Ruth hits the 700th home run of his career off Tommy Bridges in the second inning of a 4-2 Yankees’ win at Detroit’s Navin Field, Yankees purchase Joe DiMaggio from the San Francisco Seals of the Pacific Coast League for $50,000 also in 1934. Then on July 4th, 1939, “Lou Gehrig Appreciation Day” is held at Yankee Stadium. His uniform number (4) is the first to be retired in Major League Baseball and Gehrig makes his famous “Today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth” speech. It was a very busy decade.
In 1946 the first night game is played at Yankee Stadium. On April 27, 1947 “Babe Ruth Day” is celebrated throughout Major League Baseball. Then on June 19th of the following year, Babe Ruth’s uniform number (3) is retired at Yankee Stadium’s 25th Anniversary celebration and the Babe makes his final Stadium appearance. Sadly Ruth dies in New York of throat cancer at age 53 in August of the same year.
In 1951, sees Mickey Mantle made his Major-League debut, going 1-for-4 in a 4-0 win vs. Boston at Yankee Stadium. Two more things to note during the 50s are that The Yankees win a record fifth consecutive World Championship in 1953, and Don Larsen hurls the only perfect game in World Series history, a 2-0 win over Brooklyn in Game Five.
History changed in January of 1973 when a limited partnership, headed by George M. Steinbrenner III as its managing general partner, purchases the Yankees from CBS. In 1976 free agent Reggie Jackson signs a five-year contract with the Yankees, then hits three home runs in Game Six of the World Series vs. the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1977. As stated earlier, on August 2, 1979, Yankees Captain Thurman Munson dies in a plane crash in Canton, Ohio, at age 32 (his number “15” is immediately retired).
As stated earlier, the new Yankee Stadium opened on April 16, 2009, with the Yankees falling to Cleveland 10-2 and snapping their all-time record 11-game home-opener winning streak. However, the season ends very well for them by winning their 27th World Championship (the last one to date), defeating Philadelphia in Game 6 of the World Series under manager Joe Girardi.
There is SO much history about the Yankees and Yankee Stadium that I could never share it all in several posts. However, we did have a wonderful tour and enjoyed all the history and excitement related to the Yankees organization. I will end by sharing their website so you can learn more yourself, get tickets to a game, or plan your town tour. Play Ball!
Yankee Stadium VIsitor Infomation
1 E 161 St, The Bronx, NY 10451
Tour Yankee Stadium and absorb the rich history of the 27-time World Series Champions. Visit iconic locations such as Monument Park, get up close to historic baseball artifacts and familiarize yourself with Yankee Stadium events beyond baseball. Each tour is led by one of our knowledgeable and passionate tour guides. Classic Tours run for approximately sixty (60) minutes.
Child/Senior/Military 0 $24.78
Pregame Tours (Before a New York Yankees Home Game)
Pregame Tours offers guests exclusive early access to Yankee Stadium prior to gates opening to the public on Yankees home game days. Led by our knowledgeable tour guides, this experience provides an in-depth perspective of iconic Yankee Stadium while highlighting the history of the 27-time World Series Champions. Pregame Tours visit the New York Yankees Museum presented by Bank of America, Monument Park, and Section 105 to view batting practice.
Northbound I-87: Exit 4 (East 149th Street/145th Street Bridge) and Exit 5 (East 161st Street/Macombs Dam Bridge)
Southbound I-87: Exit 5 (East 161st Street/Macombs Dam Bridge)
For drivers using GPS, please plug the following address into your GPS unit: One East 161st Street, Bronx, New York.
- By Subway: The No. 4 train (East Side) and the D train (Sixth Avenue) make stops at the 161st Street/Yankee Stadium subway station, located on East 161st Street and River Avenue. B train (Sixth Avenue) service is also available, but only on weekdays. For more information, please visit mta.info or call the MTA at 511.
- By Bus: Several New York City bus lines provide service to the Stadium. The Bx6 and Bx13 buses stop at East 161st Street and River Avenue; the Bx1 and Bx2 buses stop at East 161st Street and the Grand Concourse, a short walk from the Stadium; and the BxM4 stops at the Grand Concourse and East 161st Street (northbound) and East 158th Street (southbound). For more information, please visit mta.info or call the MTA at 511.
- By Train: Metro-North offers train service to the Stadium. For more information, please visit mta.info or call the MTA at 511.
Metered lots not affiliated with the Yankees or MLB.
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