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
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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Harvey Frommer at:
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.
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Frommer along with his wife, Myrna Katz Frommer are the authors of
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