Yankee Stadium is the home stadium of the New York Yankees, a
major league baseball team. Located at East 161st Street and River Avenue
in the Bronx, New York City, it originally opened on April 18, 1923 and
reopened on April 15, 1976 after an extensive three year renovation. The
first night game was played on May 28, 1946.
Left Field - 280 ft
Left-Center - 395 ft
Center Field - 490 ft
Right-Center - 429 ft
Right Field - 295 ft
Left Field - 318 ft
Left-Center - 399 ft
Center Field - 408 ft
Right-Center - 385 ft
Right Field - 314 ft
Backstop - 82 (1942), 80 (1953), 84
Foul territory: Small down the lines,
large behind catcher
Yankee Stadium is often referred to as "The House that Ruth
Built", "The Home of Champions," "The Big
Ballpark," or simply "The Stadium". It was the first
baseball arena to be labeled a "Stadium", and it conformed to
the usage of the term in ancient Greece, where a stadium was a foot-race
arena. Yankee Stadium's field was initially surrounded by a (misshapen)
quarter-mile running track. That track effectively also served as an early
"warning track" for fielders, a feature now standard in all
major league ballparks.
Yankee Stadium favors left-handed batters because of a shorter
right-field fence (once called "Ruthville"), although the field
has become much more symmetric over the years. In contrast, it has been a
very difficult park for right-handed batters to hit in. Under the original
configuration, it was 395-feet from home plate to left field, 460 ft to
left center, and 490 ft to straightaway center. Left center soon came to
be called "Death Valley," in reference to the high number of
balls hit to that area that would have cleared the wall easily in other
parks but resulted in simple fly ball outs in Yankee Stadium. Although the
fence has been moved in several times over the years to make it more
hitter friendly (it is currently 399 feet to left center and 408 to
center), the park remains one of the most difficult for right-handed
hitters, as evidenced by the fact that in 2005, Alex Rodriguez became the
first right-handed Yankee hitter to hit 40 home runs in a season since
1937, when Joe DiMaggio belted 46.
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A story that has become somewhat of an urban legend purports that the
stadium's design was tailored to fit the left-handed power exhibited by
Babe Ruth. However, a look at aerial photographs of the area shows that
the stadium is built on a triangular plot of land originally owned by one
of the Yankee owners, and that the stadium, like many other parks of that
era and many newer "retro" parks, was fit into that plot.
Additionally, an elevated train line still runs beyond the right field
bleachers, and was present when the stadium was first built. Making the
right field area larger would have necessitated eliminating seating and
possibly building a high "Green
A good depiction of the atmosphere of the pre-renovation stadium can be
seen in the latter scenes of the 1959 Mervyn LeRoy film The FBI Story,
which starred James Stewart. In these scenes, FBI agents tracked a
suspected Soviet espionage courier. These scenes show the arrival of an
elevated train at the station near the right field bleachers, football
action and crowd scenes and reaction during a New York Giants game, groups
of people waiting at a concession stand, and scenes outside the main
The seats behind center field are painted black and not occupied during
baseball games; this allows batters to track the ball as it is pitched, as
the "black seats" section is directly in front of them. If fans
were allowed to sit in this section, it would create an unfair pitcher's
advantage, as it would make it virtually impossible for batters to track
the ball if a substantial number of fans were wearing white shirts.
Perhaps the best known of all baseball stadiums, Yankee Stadium is the
scene of such memorable events as Babe Ruth's then-record 60th home run in
1927; tearful farewell addresses by Lou Gehrig in 1939 and Babe Ruth in
1948; Don Larsen's perfect World Series game in 1956; Roger Maris's
then-record 61st home run in 1961; Reggie Jackson's three home runs in a
World Series game in 1977; and countless on-field celebrations of World
research by Jim Herdman & David Vincent
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The New York Giants football team played at Yankee Stadium from 1956 to
1973. The Stadium was also home to several football teams known as the New
York Yankees, but none of these lasted for more than a few seasons.
The 1930 and 1931 Army-Navy Games were played at Yankee Stadium. Army
played Notre Dame there in 1928, and led at halftime, before Notre Dame
coach Knute Rockne inovked the memory of his school's greatest football
hero to that point, George Gipp, who had died in 1920. In a story he is
now believed to have made up, Rockne told of meeting Gipp on his deathbed,
and hearing the great player say, "Sometime, when the team is up
against it, and the breaks are beating the boys, tell 'em to go out there
with everything they've got, and win just one for the Gipper." Notre
Dame came back to win the game. Army and Notre Dame also played at Yankee
Stadium in 1946, when Army was ranked number 1 in the nation and had won
the last two National Championships, and Notre Dame was ranked number 2.
One of several college football games to be known as "The Game of the
Century" in the days leading up to it, the game ended in a 0-0 tie,
and when both teams remained undefeated at the end of the season, Notre
Dame was awarded the National Championship.
Starting in 1971, the Stadium hosted the Whitney M. Young Urban League
Classic, a game between "historically black colleges," often
featuring Grambling State University of Louisiana, coached by Eddie
Robinson. The Classic helped to spread the fame of Grambling and other
similar schools. The Classic was held at Shea Stadium during the 1974-75
renovation of Yankee Stadium, and was last played there in the 1987
season, the last time a football game was played there. It has been held
Stadium in New Jersey's Meadowlands Sports Complex ever since.
The renovations in the mid-Super70s really mark the end of the first
Yankee Stadium and the beginning of the second; the stadium may have been
at the same location and many of the same original pieces were still in
place, but this rebuilt Yankee Stadium was not the "house that Ruth
built." You will therefore see references to Yankee Stadium I and
Yankee Stadium II on this site.
Many boxing matches have been held at the stadium, notably Joe Louis's
victory over Max Schmeling in 1938. The New York Cosmos of the North
American Soccer League used Yankee Stadium for home games in 1971 and then
again in 1976. The Stadium was also the site of a memorial service on
September 23, 2001 in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist
One of its distinguishing features is the white facade that hangs over
the outfield bleacher billboards and scoreboard (a similar frieze once
hung from the roof over the upper deck, pre-renovation). Also notable is
the exhaust stack that stands outside the main entrance gate, constructed
in the shape of a baseball bat. (For years it bore the Louisville Slugger
While elements of the Stadium are decidedly modern, its asymmetry,
monuments in left-center field and exterior arches give fans a reminder of
the Stadium during its most golden period. Even the blue YANKEE STADIUM
letters over the main gate are longtime features; they're the same letters
that first appeared there in white in the early 1960s.
Those monuments, commemorating various retired Yankee players, once
stood on the playing field in deep left-center field. They are now out of
play, in an area called Monument Park. In the 1992 book The Gospel
According to Casey, by Ira Berkow and Jim Kaplan, it is reported that
the Yankees manager, Casey Stengel, was watching his centerfielder
fumbling with the ball in the vicinity of the monuments, while the
batter-runner circled the bases. Stengel yelled out, "Ruth, Gehrig,
Huggins, somebody get that ball back to the infield!"
The monuments are located more than 450 feet from home plate. It is an
achievement for a home run in the "new" Stadium to go into the
monuments on the fly. Among those who have done so are Thurman Munson (in
Game 3 of the 1978 American League Championship Series) and Alex Rodriguez
(in August 2005).
Since the mid-1980s, the rear fence lining the walkway from the
grandstand to the monuments -- the barrier that was the outfield fence
from 1976 to 1984 -- has borne the Yankees' retired numbers. Under those
numbers are biographies of the players that were honored.
One hypothesis is that the "Bronx cheer" was so named because
of its popularity among Yankees fans.
New Yankee Stadium
On April 16, 2005, the team announced plans to build a stadium on the
adjacent land, to be ready for the 2009 season, with the official
announcement made on June 15, 2005 at a press conference. The team would
pay for the new ballpark, estimated to be about $800 million (US), to be
located north of the current stadium in Macombs Dam Park. The plan is for
the new stadium to look like the pre-renovation Yankee Stadium, but with
modern touches such as 50 or more luxury suites and a field configured
like the current stadium. The expected capacity is 50,800 (with possible
expansion to 54,000) with a completion date of 2009.
Unlike most of the new stadiums built in the United States, the stadium
will be built and paid for by the team, with the city and state paying for
infrastructure improvements. However, the plan requires both city and
state approval before going through.
Interestingly, three days earlier, on June 12, 2005, a plan for a New
Mets Stadium in Willetts Point, Queens in the parking lot of the current
Shea Stadium was announced. If approved it is also to be completed for the
2009 baseball season.
The new Yankee Stadium would have served as the site for Baseball in
the Olympics had New York City been chosen as host city for the Games of
the XXX Olympiad, assuming that the decision would have encouraged the
International Olympic Committee to retain the sport for the 2012 Olympic
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