Brad's Ultimate New York Yankees Website - www.HistoryOfTheYankees.com
Welcome to the page for: Old Timer's Day
Old Timer's Day Information
The New York Yankees are one of the few professional sports franchises that holds an annual "Old Timer's Day". Old Timer's Day is a day held at Yankee Stadium, during the summer months, to honor Yankees greats of the past. The game is always held at Yankee Stadium and the Yankees typically invite dozens of players back, sometimes more than 50, to be honored before the start of a regular season game.
Jim Ogle Sr. is credited by some with starting Old Timer's Day at Yankee Stadium, though it was really Larry MacPhail and Red Paterson who founded it. It was Jim Ogle Sr. who took over the Yankees Alumni Association in 1974 and ran the Alumni newsletter, "Pinstripes" for a period of time. "Pinstripes" was the official name of the publication that was published 4 times a year for the alumni. He was also credited with being in charge of Old Timer's Day for approximately 25 years. Ogle Sr. was presented a plaque during the 1999 Old Timer's Day ceremony, and was also the owner of 5 World Series rings, presented to him by the late George Steinbrenner. Ogle Sr. passed away on January 31, 2005.
It was George M. Steinbrenner who had the idea to create the Alumni Association for the New York Yankees. He then gave the job of heading the alumni association to Jim Ogle Sr. knowing Ogle's desire to work for the Yankees.
The "first" Old Timer's Day was held on September 28, 1947. There are times when the Yankees have referred to the first Old Timer's Day as "Lou Gehrig Appreciation Day" which was held on July 4, 1939, to honor the great "Iron Horse". The 1927 Yankees were present in 1939 at the event. It was Larry MacPhail (the man credited with the innovations of night games, team plane travel, radio broadcasts, and employee pensions) and Red Paterson who continued the "reunion" ostensibly to honor the Babe. It was called OTD from 1947 on.
Pictured here are Larry MacPhail and Red Patterson(with Mickey Mantle):
As for the "current format", the Old Timer's split up into 2 teams and play several innings of baseball. This "game" is held after the players are introduced and gather on the field, up and down the 1st and 3rd base paths. This "game" is always dependent on time and weather. It has gone unplayed or has been shortened on several occasions due to poor weather or because of time constraints. The "game" is played for fun and for the fans. It is a great way for fans to see their favorite old-time players take the field. It was introduced in 1997 that first-year players such as Paul O'Neill and Scott Brosius could play in the game.
For example, in 1970, OTD began at 1:15pm. The introduction of guests began at 1:15pm, by Master of Ceremonies, Frank Messer. The National Anthem was sung at 2:00pm and the Old Timer's Game began at 2:05pm. The Yankees versus Baltimore Orioles game began at 2:45pm.
In the old stadium, the Yankees greats and current players shared the same locker room. This changed, to the dismay of many, when the Yankees moved to their new stadium in 2009. Former players have complained that they have missed dressing with the current players and vice-versa. The locker room time was a time for the players to "connect" and to meet new players, former and present. It was also rumored that many practical jokes were played by current and former players on each other. One of the traditions was the hiding of Tino Martinez's shoes each year. Currently, the Old Timer's dress in an auxiliary dressing room and then head out onto the field, though many Old Timer's find their way into the new Yankees locker room to catch up and interact with the new players.
Old Timer's Day is now considered a "premium" game by the Yankees. "Premium Games" are now considered by the Yankees to be Opening Day, Old Timer's Day, and all games played against the Boston Red Sox, Philadelphia Phillies, and New York Mets. "Premium Game" tickets are usually more difficult to attain and can be priced higher than regular games.
There is no definitive date at this time as to when the first OTD program was given out or sold at the stadium. We do know there is a program from 1959 on. (If you know of a program before 1959, please contact me)
Below is the watch presented to Joe Dimaggio in 1962 at
OTD. Made by Wittnauer Electro-Chron. Made in 1962. Fine and extremely
rare, center-seconds, water-resistant, stainless steel electronic wristwatch
with the “Yankees” logo imprint on the dial.
This timepiece was presented
to Joe Dimaggio on “Old Timer’s Day” July 28, 1962. The watch is seen here
in the original box. Details of the watch are: Two-body, polished,
screwed-down case back engraved: Joe Dimaggio, Old Timer’s Day, 7-28-62,
back with screwed-down cap for battery replacement. D. Two-tone silver with
faceted steel indexes, lightning sign at 12, minute/seconds track on a plain
outer reserve, Yankees logo imprint in red and blue at 3. Lightning flash
steel hands. M. Electronic with tuning fork. Dial, case and movement signed.
Diam. 36 mm. Thickness 14 mm.
Old Timer's that are invited to the game are paid for their appearance by the Yankees.
It was a tradition for each invited honored guest to receive a gift given by the New York Yankees. In 1970, each guest was given a cassette tape recorder by Zenith. The recorder was personalized with the guests' name, date, and event from K. & K. Trophy Mart of Passaic, New Jersey.
It was a tradition for the Yankees to give each uniformed batter a gift as well. In 1970, each uniformed batter was given a replica of his original model bat, made especially for that day by Hillerich & Bradsby Co. of Louisville, KY, makers of Louisville Slugger. In 1970, the Stengels and the new members of the "Hall of Fame" also received color portraits of themselves, prepared by Portrait Specialists, Inc. of New York.
Many special guests are invited to OTD. These could include former players, Hall of Famers, wives of late players, etc. Special guests in the past have included Mrs. Babe Ruth, Mrs. Lou Gehrig, Mrs. Casey Stengel, Mrs. Thurman Munson, Mrs. Elston Howard, and many more.
Yankees Magazine began in 1984 and there was a monthly issue dedicated to OTD. The first cover of Yankees Magazine featured Roger Maris and Elston Howard on the cover.
Recently, the Yankees have handed out pins to all fans entering the game to commemorate Old Timer's Day.
Commemorative cachets have been created for Old Timer's Day featuring many of the players honored at Old Timer's Day.
There were many emcees who have had the honor of calling OTD. They were:
1939 - Sid Mercer (Sportswriter)
1947-1964 / 1986-1988 - Mel Allen
1965-1967 - Joe Garagiola (Mel Allen called the game from the field in 1967 and then 1969-1985)
1968-1985;1989-1997 - Frank Messer (Called the game from the field 1998-1999)
1998-2010 - Michael Kay and John Sterling.
Below are some photos showing Old Timer's Day from various year. Always a great time for players past and present!
Jim Abbott, Luis Arroyo, Steve Balboni, Jesse Barfield, Don Baylor, Yogi Berra, Paul Blair, Johnny Blanchard, Ron Blomberg, Wade Boggs, Scott Bradley, Dr. Bobby Brown, Homer Bush, Andy Carey, Chris Chambliss, Horace Clarke, Jerry Coleman, David Cone, Ron Davis, Bucky Dent, Al Downing, Brian Doyle, Dave Eiland, Tony Fernandez, Ed Figueroa, Whitey Ford, Oscar Gamble, Joe Girardi, Rich “Goose” Gossage, Eli Grba, Ken Griffey, Sr., Ron Guidry, Rickey Henderson, Arlene Howard (widow of Elston), Helen Hunter (widow of Jim), Reggie Jackson, Tommy John, Pat Kelly, Jimmy Key, Gene “Mickey” Klutts, Johnny Kucks, Don Larsen, Al Leiter, Graeme Lloyd, Hector Lopez, Kevin Maas, Jill Martin (widow of Billy), Tino Martinez, Bobby Meacham, Ramiro Mendoza, Gene Michael, Rich Monteleone, Diana Munson (widow of Thurman), Jeff Nelson, Graig Nettles, Paul O’Neill, Gil Patterson, Joe Pepitone, Tim Raines, Bobby Richardson, Mickey Rivers, Cora Rizzuto (widow of Phil), Buck Showalter, Charlie Silvera, Bill “Moose” Skowron, Aaron Small, Luis Sojo, Mike Stanley, Darryl Strawberry, Wayne Tolleson, Jeff Torborg, Mike Torrez, Tom Tresh, Bob Turley, David Wells, and Dave Winfield.The 63rd Old Timer's Day held at Yankee Stadium took place on Sunday, July 19, 2009. Introductions began at 11:45am. The Yankees played the Detroit Tigers at 2:05pm that day. The invitees were:
(*Denotes First-Time Old-Timer)
Dr. Bobby Brown
Rich “Goose” Gossage
Ken Griffey, Sr.
Meredith Murray (B.P. Pitcher)
Bill “Moose” Skowron