Overlooking the Harlem River in the South Bronx, a more modern version of its legendary predecessor, Yankee Stadium, rests comfortably in the #2 spot in my FREE sports comic book New York Sports Icons.
Built in 1923, the “House that Ruth Built” or the “Big Ballpark in the Bronx” has literally moved directly across the street from the original structure.
Today, the bigger and splashier $1.5 Billion stadium sits proudly and prominently on East 161st Street.
The gleaming new structure still evokes awesome memories of the New York Yankees’ glory years. Winners of 27 World Series Championships, the Bronx Bombers are the most winning franchise in Major League Baseball history.
Proving that copying is the highest form of flattery, the new Yankee Stadium closely resembles its predecessor which hosted some of the greatest baseball players ever.
In addition to the original home run king Babe Ruth, the Bronx Bombers’ franchise boasts 34 players and 9 managers elected into the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY.
Over the years, baseball legends wearing Yankees’ pinstripes have included Joe DiMaggio, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle, Whitey Ford, Reggie Jackson, Thurman Munson, Ron Guidry and, most recently, Derek Jeter.
Such was the success of the franchise that the Yankees have honored a total of 17 former players over the decades. Their retired numbers are displayed in the new stadium’s Monument Park in center field.
It’s no surprise why fans also refer to the park as the “Cathedral of Baseball.” Inside the stadium, the Great Wall located between Gates 4 and 6 showcases Yankees’ history, tradition and memorabilia.
Another stadium highlight is the Yankee Museum Ball Wall which features signatures of former Yankee greats.
The new sustainable Yankee Stadium debuted in 2009. While adhering to a strict green compliance initiative, it was constructed with 11,000 pieces of Indiana limestone, granite and concrete.
Every aspect of the new stadium follows stringent standards to lower carbon footprints. Energy efficient lighting, water saving restrooms and a focus on recycling all materials utilized in the food stalls set the bar for future environmentally friendly sports venues.
The late George Steinbrenner, who bought the New York Yankees in 1973 for $8.8 million, is primarily credited with restoring the fortunes of the franchise. He rebuilt it into one of the most admired and valuable teams in all of sports, transforming a teetering franchise into a sports entertainment powerhouse.
Steinbrenner’s vision to erect a new state-of-the-art ballpark has made the Yankees baseball’s most prized franchise. According to Forbes Magazine, the organization’s worth exceeds $1.6B or twice the value as its closest competitor.
The new Yankee showplace seats 49,642 fans for baseball including 4,300 club seats and 68 luxury suites. Surprisingly, its opening was not immediately embraced. Baseball pundits criticized the park, viewing it as a launching pad for the inordinate amount of home runs belted out of its ordinary 318’ LF, 314’ RF and 408’ CF dimensions.
Sportswriter Peter Gammons called the home run happy park one of the biggest jokes in Major League Baseball. Sportscaster Buster Olney mocked that the park’s design was a veritable wind tunnel.
Despite initial criticism and the preponderance of dingers, the HR frenzy abated. Yankee Stadium soon shone brightly as the jewel it was constructed to be among American ballparks.
As a footnote, Yankee Stadium serves as home to more than baseball’s Evil Empire. The new stadium hosted the 2014 NHL Winter Classic and it has served as the permanent venue for the annual December college football Pinstripe Bowl.
The stadium is now the new home of the city’s Major League Soccer franchise the New York City FC.
Sports fans expect that the long tradition of baseball excellence will continue in the South Bronx. They also anticipate that new history will be made in baseball and in other sports, too.
That’s because the tradition rich, awesome atmosphere in which to watch baseball, football, hockey and soccer in a state-of-the-art environmentally friendly ballpark make Yankee Stadium a no brainer at #2 in New York Sports Icons. Safely download the FREE book now.
MIKE on sports!