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Remembering Yankee Stadium: 30's
(For your reading pleasure adapted from REMEMBERING YANKEE STADIUM: AN ORAL AND  NARRATIVE HISTORY OF THE HOUSE THAT RUTH BUILT, on sale everywhere, buy it now)

The tradition of honoring their legends at Yankee Stadium started on Memorial Day of 1932 when a monument for Miller Huggins, the little manager who had passed away at age of 51 on September 25, 1929, was placed in deep center field, Its inscription reads  "A splendid character who made priceless contributions to baseball." Monuments would later be erected for Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth. Others would follow.

Located in straightaway centerfield, they were part of the playing field, standing near the flagpole about ten feet before the wall. There were times when long drives rolled behind the monuments, and retrieving the ball became an odd and "ghoulish" task for an outfielder jockeying around the "gravestones." 

On June 23, 1932 Gehrig had played in his 1,103rd straight game.  Less than a year later the streak was at 1,249 straight when he and manager Joe McCarthy were tossed out of out of the game for arguing with the umpire.  The Yankee manager was given a  three game suspension. Gehrig played on. On August 17, 1933 Gehrig broke the record of playing in 1,308 straight games set by Everett Scott.

October 1, 1933 was the final game of the season.  Attempting to draw fans for a meaningless contest in the depths of the Great Depression, the Yankees gave Ruth a pitching start. Babe's appearance attracted 20,000 fans, more than doubling the attendance of the day before. The thirty-eight-year-old pitched a complete game, nipping his old Boston team, 6-5. He also batted  cleanup, went 1-for-3 with a home run. It was the last game he pitched, his fifth since he joined the Yankees 13 years earlier.

During the 1934 season, Lou Gehrig's failing health became evident to all. The problem was diagnosed as lumbago. On July 13, 1934, his pain became so severe in the first inning of a game against Detroit, he had to be assisted off the field. The next day, listed first in the Yankee batting order and penciled in to play shortstop, the "Iron Horse"  singled in his first at bat but was then replaced by a pinch runner.

September 24, 1934 was the Babe's last game as a player in "the "House That Ruth Built," a sad and poignant day for him and his many fans. Twenty-four thousand were there, including many youngsters in "Ruthville."  In three at bats, he went hitless. Disappointed and dejected that his fabulous career in pinstripes was over, he could never imagine how his name and legend would gain more and more luster as the years passed. Today a Google search for "Babe Ruth" results in almost eight million hits. A Sotheby's auction of his 1919 contract netted $996,000.

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You can reach Harvey Frommer at:   

Email:  harvey.frommer@Dartmouth.EDU 

About the Author:

Harvey Frommer is in his  38th year of writing books. A noted oral historian and sports journalist, the author of 42 sports books including the classics: "New York City Baseball,1947-1957" and "Shoeless Joe and Ragtime Baseball," his acclaimed REMEMBERING YANKEE STADIUM was published in 2008 and his REMEMBERING FENWAY PARK: AN ORAL AND NARRATIVE HISTORY OF THE HOME OF RED SOX NATION was published to acclaim in 2011.  The prolific Frommer is at work on When It Was Just a Game, An Oral History on Super Bowel One. 

His work has appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, New York Daily News, Newsday, USA Today, Men's Heath, The Sporting News, among other publications.

FROMMER SPORTSNET (syndicated) reaches a readership in the millions and is housed on Internet search engines for extended periods of time.
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Dr. Frommer is the Official Book Reviewer of Travel-Watch. 
*Autographed copies of Frommer books are available .

Other Frommer sports related articles can be found at:   

Harvey Frommer along with his wife, Myrna Katz  Frommer are the authors of five critically acclaimed oral/cultural histories, professors at Dartmouth  College, and travel writers who specialize in cultural history, food, wine, and Jewish history and heritage in the United States, Europe, and the Caribbean. 

This Article is Copyright 1995 - 2014 by Harvey Frommer.  All rights reserved worldwide.


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