E. 161 St. and River Ave.
For ticket information call: (718)
First opened: April
18, 1923. It was closed on September
30, 1973, for renovations, and re-opened on April
First night game: May
Engineering in 1923, and then Praeger-Kavanaugh-Waterbury for the 1976
Construction Company (1923).
York Yankees (1923-1971); City of New York (since 1971)
million in 1923; renovation in 1974-1976 cost another $48 million, though some estimate the actual cost
with debt service at over $160 million.
Asked to leave the Polo Grounds when his Yankees began outdrawing the New
York Giants in 1920, owner Jacob Ruppert didn't know where to go. But when
he bought Babe Ruth from the Red Sox for the vast sum of $125,000, he
seized the opportunity to build what would become the most famous stadium
in all of baseball, a triple-decked wonder called Yankee Stadium.
Stadium, ready for its first game on April 18, 1923 against the Red Sox,
came to be known as "The House That Ruth Built" because it
was recognized that Ruth's drawing power made the new stadium possible.
Over 74,000 fans packed Yankee Stadium for their first look at the new
facility. Ruth's three-run home run
led the Yankees to a 4-1 win over the Red Sox in the stadium's first game.
This historic stadium has been the home of other sports,
entertainment, and cultural events - for example, thirty championship fights were
fought at The Stadium - but it remains a cathedral of baseball first and
foremost. Erected on the site of a Bronx lumberyard just across the Harlem
River from the Polo Grounds, Yankee Stadium has been the scene of many of
baseball's greatest moments: Babe Ruth belted his 60th home run here in
1927; Roger Maris broke the single-season record with his 61st in 1961; it
has hosted far more World Series than any other park, and two especially
memorable World Series events took place here: Don Larsen pitched his
perfect game on October 8, 1956, and Reggie Jackson hit three home runs on
three consecutive pitches to win the Series in Game Six on October 18,
Despite the presence of sluggers like Ruth, Gehrig, Mantle, and Jackson,
no ML batter has ever hit a fair ball completely out of the stadium,
although legend says Negro Leaguer Josh Gibson pulled a home run over the
left-field roof in 1934. This claim is almost certainly untrue -
though a 1930 homer he hit against the Lincoln Giants may be the longest
ball he ever hit in Yankee Stadium.
The grandstand was extended around the foul poles by 1928, with wooden
bleachers surrounding the rest of the outfield, and the top of the stadium
was ringed with a distinctive white fence facade. Like the stadium, the
playing field itself was quite remarkable. The left- and right-field
corners were only 281' and 295' in 1923, but left sloped out dramatically
to 460' while center was a near-impossible 490' away. Deep left and center
fields became known as Death Valley as many a right-handed slugger watched
towering fly balls die there. Eventually, stone monuments to Ruth, Lou
Gehrig and Miller Huggins were erected in deep left center, and although
they were considered to be in the field of play they were rarely reached
by batted balls.
Lights were added in 1946, and the
stadium remained virtually unchanged until 1973, when it was closed
completely for two years of renovations and modernization. The stadium was
reopened in 1976 with major structural improvements. Bulky support poles
for the upper decks had been eliminated, along with the corresponding
obstructed-view seats, and escalators improved access to the upper decks.
The left- and center-field fences had been drawn in considerably, but were
still a hefty 430' and 417' respectively. The monuments were relocated to
Monument Park behind the left-field fence, open to fans before and after
games, and numerous plaques have been added to the original trio of Yankee
to purchase from the Danbury Mint collection
Yankee Stadium has become The Incredible Shrinking Ballpark. Once, in the
1920s, left-center stood a Grand Canyon-esque 490 feet away from home
plate. Recently, under the direction
of George Steinbrenner, the left- and center-field fences have been
brought in, reducing Death Valley to 399 feet, from the immense 430-foot
stretch in the 1970s; still, no
ballpark in the majors is as tough on hitters as Yankee Stadium.
Yankee Stadium's still-spacious outfield favors pitchers, even though it
has little foul territory and a close right-field corner that is extremely
inviting to lefthanded sluggers. (In fact, in 2001 it had the
highest LHB home run factor in the AL). In
addition, the long backstop means that a lot of popped-up foul balls end
up as outs.
Yankee Stadium also has deep infield grass, slowing down ground balls and
helping infielders. It does require infielders to charge more balls than
they would in other ballparks (something which Chuck Knoblauch took a
while to realize) but in general it can turn solid-fielding players like
Derek Jeter or Scott Brosius into Gold-Glovers.
Yankee Stadium has deep infield grass, slowing
down ground balls and helping infielders. It does require infielders to charge
more balls than they would in other ballparks (something which Chuck Knoblauch
took a while to realize) but in general it can turn solid-fielding players like
Derek Jeter or Scott Brosius into Gold-Glovers.
Because of the spacious left-center alley, either the center-fielder or the left
fielder must have excellent range.
2001 STATS, Inc.
benefits: The short distance to the corner outfield walls (314 feet to
right and 318 feet to left) give pull hitters a huge home-run advantage;
in addition, the distances to the right-field fence aren't as imposing as
the distances to left-field, so left-handed hitters have a big edge.
Darryl Strawberry used to hit most of his homers here. Tino Martinez hit more homers on the road in
each of his four seasons here.
Pitchers who give up fly balls love
it here. In 1999, Roger Clemens went 9-5, 3.56 ERA in the Bronx and
5-5, 6.20 ERA on the road. In 2001, he was 10-1 with a 3.10 ERA at
home, vs. 10-2 with a 3.85 ERA on the road.
Andy Pettitte was 10-3 at home (3.16 ERA), vs. 5-7 on the road (4.97
ERA). Because he doesn't allow a lot of walks and makes hitters earn
their way on base, he benefits more than usual from the park's large
gets hurt: Hitters with alley power, especially righties. Jack Clark
came here in 1988 from St. Louis and saw his slugging percentage go from
.597 in 1987 to .433. Alfonso Soriano will have to learn to overcome
the park's tendency to depress power output if he is to become one of the
game's premier sluggers.
York, NY (the southwest Bronx). Left field, to the NE, edges on E.
161st Street; the third base side, to the NW, is on Doughly Street and
later Ruppert Place. Home plate, to the W, looks out on the Major Deegan
Expressway/Interstate 87 and the Harlem River. First base (SW) edges on E.
157th Street. Right field (SE) is on River Avenue and the IRT elevated
field: 280.58 (1923), 301 (1928), 312 (1976), 318 (1988)
side of bullpen gate in short left-center: 395 (1923), 402 (1928), 387
(1976), 379 (1985)
side of bullpen gate in left-center: 415 (1937)
500 (1923), 490 (1924), 457 (1937), 430 (1976), 411 (1985), 399 (1988)
field: 487 (1923), 461 (1937), 463 (1967), 417 (1976), 410 (1985), 408
right-center: 429 (1923), 407 (1937), 385 (1976)
side of bullpen gate in short right-center: 350 (1923), 367 (1937),
side of bullpen gate: 344 (1937)
field: 294.75 (1923), 295 (1930), 296 (1939), 310 (1976), 314 (1988)
82 (1942), 80 (1953), 84 (1976)
territory: large for the catcher behind home plate, but small for
fielders down the foul lines.
2001 STATS, Inc.
- Highest LHB home run factor in AL in 2001
- Second highest LHB home run factor in AL in
- Third highest home run factor in AL in 2000
- Lowest run, hit, LHB batting average and
batting average factor in AL in 1999
- Lowest home run factor in AL in 1998
- Highest strikeout factor in AL in 1999
- Second highest walk factor in AL in 1999
- Second highest infield-error factor in AL
Second highest batting average factor in the AL in 1999
- Second lowest triple and home-run factor in the AL in 1999
- Third lowest double factor in the AL in 1999
- Third lowest LHB home-run factor in the AL in 1999
- Third lowest RHB batting average factor in the AL in 1999
- "Monument Park" in left-center had
monuments to Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Miller Huggins. After the 1973-1976
renovation, monuments to Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle were added, but all
are now behind the left-field wall.
- The green curtain in center is sometimes
raised and lowered like a window shade to force visiting batters to face a
background of white-shirted bleacher fans while allowing Yankees hitters to
face a dark green background.
- The bleachers in right-field are often called
Ruthsville or Gehrigsville
- The "Bloody Angle" between bleachers
and right-field foul line in 1923 season was asymmetrical and caused crazy
bounces. Eliminating this in 1924 caused the plate to be moved 13 feet and the
deepest left-center corner to change from 500 to 490 feet.
- A 500 pound steel joint fell from the upper
deck in April 1998 prompting the Yankees to play a home game at Shea Stadium
and trade three home games with the Detroit Tigers