Remembering Yankee Stadium: Sixties!
As the games at Yankee Stadium
dwindle to a precious few - -for your reading pleasure adapted from
REMEMBERING YANKEE STADIUM: AN ORAL AND NARRATIVE HISTORY OF THE
HOUSE THAT RUTH BUILT)
"There was a great, dark mystery
about when I first came here from Oklahoma. Now I think this is
about the prettiest ball park I ever saw." - Mickey Mantle
RALPH HOUK: I moved into the manager's office in 1961, and the great
clubhouse guy Pete Sheehy had everything ready for me. It had all I
wanted: a room, a desk, a place to keep my records. Most of my
memories of that office was bringing guys in and telling them things
they didn't want to hear.
I was usually down at one end of the Yankee dugout managing from a
standing position with one leg up. I stood rather than sit on the
bench. I was always moving.
JOHNNY BLANCHARD: Roger Maris had the
locker next to mine. When he was popping those long ones out of the
park, I had to get out of my own locker because 20, 30 writers would
flock around him, and they would sift into my locker space. Roger
was an introvert and did not like all the bright lights. That was
what gave him the reputation of being nasty. But he was not.
SAL DURANTE: I was with my
girlfriend Rosemarie who became my wife later on and my cousin and
his girl. We were hanging out in Coney Island doing nothing. So I
made a suggestion that we go to the last game at Yankee Stadium. I
knew that Maris was going after the 61st home run. I knew about the
promised $5,000 reward for the guy who caught the ball. I had read
all about it in the News.
I was a Yankee fan as far back as I
can remember although not really a Roger Maris fan. I was a Mickey
Mantle fan and watched every Yankee game as I was growing up because
We asked the ticket guy for four
seats in right field. I never expected there would be any. The guy
thumbed through tickets like a deck of playing cards, "Yeah, I've
got four seats."
I had no money. Rosemarie paid for
the tickets. We were in Section 33, Box l63D , the sixth row of the
right field lower deck. In those days you had six seats to a box. I
was sitting in the row below Rosemarie with John and his girl Rose
Marie was sitting by herself in Seat Four. I switched seats with
her so she could talk to them. It was the smartest thing I did.
PHIL RIZZUTO (GAME CALL) WCBS radio:
They're standing, waiting to see if
Maris is gonna hit Number Sixty-one. We've only got a handful of
people sitting out in left field, but in right field, man, it's
hogged out there. And they're standing up. Here's the windup, the
pitch to Roger. Way outside, ball one...And the fans are starting to
boo. Low, ball two. That one was in the dirt. And the boos get
louder...Two balls, no strikes on Roger Maris. Here's the windup.
Fastball, hit deep to right! This could be it!
SAL DURANTE: As soon as Maris the
ball, I knew it was going to be a home run that would go over my
head. I jumped up on my seat and reached as high as I could. The
ball hit the palm of my hand. It didn't hurt. It was a thing from
heaven that knocked me over into the next row.
TRACY NIEPORENT: We were at the Stadium on May 14, 1967 when Mantle
hit his 500th home run in the seventh inning of a game against
Baltimore. As it turned out, he didn't have that many home runs
left in him after that.
JOE GARAGIOLA: (GAME CALL, NBC)
Three balls, two strikes. Mantle waits. Stu Miller is ready. Here's
the payoff pitch by Miller to mantle. Swung on! There she goes!. . .
Mickey Mantle has hit his 500th home run . . .
BOB SHEPPARD: At one time Bob Fischel
said to me: "I think it would be nice to recognize the boys and
girls, the young people." That was when I began saying: "Ladies and
Gentlemen, Boys and Girls," But I did it under force for a short
time and then returned to saying just "Ladies and Gentlemen."
FRANK RUSSO: My first game at Yankee
Stadium was Thurman Munson's first game. August 8, 1969 . My dad was
a huge Yankee fan and he read in the papers that their number one
draft pick had been recalled from the minors. We went to the second
game of a twi-night doubleheader against Oakland. We walked right
up and my dad bought the seats, good seats behind the first base
Munson was definitely a confident
guy. He had some swagger to him which was what I liked. He got his
first major league hit against Catfish Hunter, another single and
his first two RBIs in that game. We knew if the Yankees were going
to get better in the 1970s, he would help lead the way.
# # #
You can reach
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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