Harvey Frommer / Yankees
Also Read: Lou Gehrig: The Streak / 4 HR Game Joe Dimaggio's 56 Game Hitting Streak Began May 15, 1941 Babe Ruth: First HR, May 6, 1915 / Ruth's MLB Debut / Final Appearance Mickey Mantle, Tape Measure Shot, April 17, 1953 Yankees by the Nick Names (I)
David Wells' Perfect Game David Cone, The Perfect Game, July 19, 1999 Dwight Gooden No Hitter, May 14, 1996
All About Baseball's Greatest team - - the New York Yankees
By Harvey Frommer
With the hot stove season in full swing and baseball news about free agents and trades dominating the headlines, for fans of baseball's greatest franchise, the Yankees, there is also a treasure trove of history to appreciate. So enjoy:
Yankee Stadium Factoids and Oddities
The original Yankee Stadium had 36 ticket booths and 40 turnstiles that ticked like clocks tallying up the gate. F.C. Lane, in a 1923 issue of The Literary Digest, called it "the last word in ball parks." Egotistical baseball commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis arrived at the first game there via the subway. He was caught up in the swarm of bodies outside the gates and had to be rescued by the police.
Despite claims to the contrary, the outfield wall at Yankee stadium has actually always been uniform height. The ground beneath sloped, and at the original Stadium, a sharp pitch to the outfield grass went uphill to the fence that was just three feet high.
Former star hurler Ron Guidry was a good drummer; he once kept a trap set at Yankee Stadium, and even had a gig in a post-game concert with the Beach Boys.
In 1988, a wall that was closed off for decades was unearthed. Among the findings; scorecard, a program and what was supposedly the bases used in 1936.
The shooting of the Billy Crystal film "61" took place in Detroit, not Yankee Stadium. Crystal maintained that the architecture there was able to more closely approximate that of Yankee Stadium in 1961.
The late and great public address announcer Bob Sheppard's favorite stadium moments; Don Larsen's perfect game, Roger Maris belting his then-record 61st regular-season home run in 1961, the Yankees' Chris Chambliss blasting a homer leading off the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 5 of the 1976 ALCS against Kansas City that gave the Yankees their first AL pennant in 12 years and the Yankees' Reggie Jackson's three home runs against the Dodgers on three consecutive pitches in Game 6 of the 1977 World Series. Roger Clemens always patted the Babe Ruth monument for good luck before coming in to pitch.
Started in 1965, Bat Day has bragging rights to the longest running promotion.
By the Numbers
0002: After Allie Reynolds pitched his second no-hitter for the Yankees in 1951, Manhattan's Hotel Edison, where he along with some teammates lived, changed his room number from 2019 to 0002
1 1/2: This was the uniform number worn by opera star Robert Merrill, the man who for many years sang the national anthem at Yankee Stadium.
3: All three perfect games in Yankee Stadium history were witnessed by Joe Torre; Larsen's in 1956 as a 16-year-old fan, and the gems spun by David Wells and David Cone from the dugout as Yankee manager.
14: Yogi Berra stayed away from Yankee Stadium for 14 years, unhappy with the treatment he had received from George Steinbrenner.
$15.00: Bob Sheppard's per game earning in 1951 when he began working for the Yankees.
18: Joe DiMaggio's original uniform, number given to him by equipment manager Pete Sheehy and later changed to 5 for historical significance reasons. Ruth wore number 3 and Gehrig 4.
No. 42, which has been retired from Major League Baseball in honor of Jackie Robinson. A "grandfather clause" permits Mariano Rivera to wear this number. When he retires, the Yankees will probably honor both Robinson and Rivera with the official retirement of the number.
56: Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak included 56 singles and runs scored. It covered 53 day games three night games, 29 at Yankee Stadium and 27 road games.
58: The original number of Mariano Rivera.
148: On May 12, 1959, Yogi Berra's errorless streak of 148 games came to an end when he committed an error on his 34th birthday.
185: Number of working days it took for the original Yankee Stadium to be built.
$400: This was the amount Mickey Mantle was paid in 1949 to finish out a minor league season.
413: Smallest Yankee home attendance for a game, September 25, 1966
454 2/3: This was the number of innings Jack Chesbro pitched for Highlanders in 1904.
457: Babe Ruth is the all time season leader in total bases. He reached this record in 1921 with 101 singles, 44 doubles, 16 triples and 59 home runs.
.471: Joe Torre's career winning percentage as a manager prior to coming to the Yankees in 1996.
1903: For the first time since 1903, two teams played two games in different stadiums he same day, July 8, 2000. The first game was at Shea Stadium and the second game was at Yankee Stadium.
$5,000: The reward promised to the one who caught the 61st home run ball of Roger Maris.
$6,000: The amount of money Don Larsen received for being on Bob Hope's TV show after he pitched his perfect game in 1956.
20,000: The number of letters Mickey Mantle never answered which were not bid on in the old Yankee Stadium fire sale in 1974.
About the author
2011 marks Harvey Frommer's 36th consecutive year of writing sports books. A noted oral historian and sports journalist, the author of 41 sports books including the classics: "New York City Baseball,1947-1957" and "Shoeless Joe and Ragtime Baseball," his acclaimed REMEMBERING YANKEE STADIUM, an oral/narrative history was published in 2008. Frommer's newest work is REMEMBERING FENWAY PARK: AN ORAL AND NARRATIVE HISTORY OF THE HOME OF RED SOX NATION (Abrams).
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