The Original Yankee Stadium
By Rooney Mendez
The famed ballpark up in the Bronx first opened its doors for business on April 18, 1923. In its inaugural season, Yankee Stadium quickly earned the moniker “The House That Ruth Built” because of the accommodating dimensions down the right field foul line and the short fence that catered particularly to Ruth’s hitting tendencies.
Yankee Stadium was often referred to as “the Cathedral up in the Bronx,” in part due to its pristine architecture. Yankee Stadium was the first ballpark of its kind to have triple deck seating. The stadium’s unique design included a copper façade that was trimmed along the top of the third tier and quickly became a signature trademark.
Opening Day at the Stadium was quite the success as it was played in front of a crowd in attendance of over 74,000 fans. The seating capacity in the stadium was a shade over 60,000, with the remaining fans relegated to the standing room only section. The Yankees and their owners, Jacob Ruppert and Tillinghast L’Hommedieu Huston, played host to the Boston Red Sox. Baseball Commissioner Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis was also in attendance to kick off pregame ceremonies. New York Gov. Al Smith threw out the ceremonial first pitch. Babe Ruth hit the first homerun in stadium history and the Yankees prevailed in the home opener, defeating the Red Sox 4-1.
Prior to Yankee Stadium, the Yankees played just across the Harlem River in Manhattan, sharing the Polo Grounds with the New York baseball Giants. The Yankees were now growing increasingly more popular, having won three consecutive pennants (1920, 1921, 1922) and drawing over one million fans over the same stretch. In the same span, Babe Ruth set the all-time homerun mark in 1920 and then eclipsing his own record the two following seasons (1921, 1922). However, the Yankee’s success created resentment within the Giant organization. During one game, Babe Ruth decided to take to the stands...
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