The Committee to Commemorate Old Yankee Stadium
Old Yankee Stadium
In the near future, the CCOYS will also be applying to the U.S. Department of Interior for long-overdue National Landmark status for the site of Old Yankee Stadium, which will provide even further funds available to the City of New York to better "Old Yankee Stadium Park".
Old Yankee Stadium Vigil - April 18, 2010
Here are photos taken of the vigil
as the NYPD shut us down....
(Photo Credits: Chris Jones and Tom Noonan)
Click here for the demolition of Old Yankee Stadium
A Brief History of Old Yankee Stadium....
One word can describe Yankee Stadium, historical. Since its opening, Yankee Stadium has been home to more Hall of Famer’s, and more than two dozen World Championship teams, than any other stadium ever built. The New York Yankees then known as the New York Highlanders (1903-1912), began playing at 16,000 seat Hilltop Park in 1903. The team played at Hilltop Park until after the 1912 season, when the lease expired. The team then accepted an invitation to play at Polo Grounds, where the New York Giants played. With the move to Polo Grounds, the Highlanders changed their name to the Yankees. However, the team only spent ten years at the Polo Grounds. With the Yankees’ Babe Ruth setting homerun records, and the Yankees drawing more fans than the Giants, the Giants served an eviction notice to the Yankees in 1921, that began after the 1922 season.
Immediately the Yankees’ owners began looking for land to build a new ballpark on. A 10 acre site, less than a mile from Polo Grounds in the Bronx was bought to build the stadium on. Designed by Osborn Engineering Company, originally, the plan was for a triple-decked stadium, with grandstands circling the field. But 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. Because of the size, the new ballpark became the first to be called a stadium. Construction of the stadium began on May 5, 1922. The stadium was built of mainly steel and concrete. The triple decked grandstand extended behind home plate 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, which became one of the stadium's most recognized and grandest features.
The scoreboard was located beyond the bleachers, in right field. Completed in only 284 days, opening day came on April 18, 1923. The ballpark was given the name Yankee Stadium. 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 home plate.
It was only several years before any changes took place at Yankee Stadium. The triple decked grandstand was extended into left field in 1928, and the same extension was done in right field 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 80,000, but soon dropped to the 70,000’s. The first of many monuments and plaques was added in 1932, which 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. A new scoreboard was installed in 1959. Other sports, such as boxing and football were played at Yankee Stadium until the early 1970's.
In the early 1970’s Yankee Stadium began showing its age. In 1971, Yankees owner Mike Burke, began talking about building a new stadium in New Jersey. But the mayor of New York City, John Lindsay announced that the city would buy and renovate Yankee Stadium. The city bought the stadium for $24 million in 1972. In the same year, George Steinbrenner bought the team. The Yankees played in Yankee Stadium for one more year, before drastic changes were made.
Renovations began immediately after the 1973 season. While Yankee Stadium was 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 posts and columns, which supported the upper deck. The copper facade atop the upper deck was removed, and replicated at the top of a new scoreboard, which runs from center field to right field. New 22 inch blue plastic seats replaced old 18 inch wooden green seats, thus 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 exterior 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 was finally ready to reopen.
Yankee Stadium reopened on April 15, 1976. The stadium went from being known as "The House that Ruth Built" to "The House Steinbrenner Rebuilt". The thing which most people noticed, was that the monuments in centerfield were no longer there. They had been moved to "Monument Park" behind the centerfield wall. Since the late 1970's very few changes have taken place at Yankee Stadium. The stadium still remains the home to many great ballplayers, and an excellent place to see a game. Since its opening in 1923, Yankee Stadium has been home to 27 World Championship teams. In December of 2001, the Yankees and the City of New York tentatively agreed to build a new retractable roof stadium, adjacent to Yankee Stadium. The new stadium opened in 2009 and was home to the 27th World Championship of the greatest sports franchise ever. Gate 2 at Old Yankee Stadium was demolished on March 31, 2010 after an unsuccessful fight by many to save it. It will be remembered forever in the hearts of Yankee fans worldwide.