Do You Remember?
"The House That Ruth
Joltin' Joe leaving Yankee
Yankee Stadium 1943, Dodgers
from the Bronx Times Reporter January 17, 1991)
Yankee Stadium, at River
Avenue and 161 Street, was built in 1922 at a
cost of three million dollars. It had a seating
capacity of 75,000 when it opened on April 18,
1923. Governor Al Smith threw out the first ball
to a huge crowd that watched the Yankees trounce
the Red Sox with a 4 - 1 win and standing room
only soon became the norm.
In the early years, Yankee
Stadium was known for more than baseball. Many
big fights, tennis matches and even football
games drew huge crowds. Who can forget Joe Louis
kayoing Max Schneling at the Stadium in June of
The first televised boxing
match was produced at the Stadium in 1939 by
WNBC-TV. It featured the big fight between Max
Bear and Lou Nova. NBC didn't televise the World
Series until 1947.
Television in 1939 was a
rarity with receivers costing the grand sum of
$600.00. Few people could obviously afford it and
the only other way to witness the great sporting
events of the day was to get to Yankee Stadium.
And get there they did!
Conveniently located next
to the Jerome Avenue line of the IRT and the 161
Street trolley stop, access was not a problem. It
quickly became a popular tourist spot for the big
events and once TV became popular, both Yankee
Stadium and its home, the Bronx, became known
nationwide. Indeed, the Yankees, themselves,
became known as "The Bronx Bombers,"
and winning became the norm.
Babe Ruth was the big draw
in the early years and the Stadium soon became
known as "The house That Ruth Built."
So popular was "the Babe" that in 1949
the nearby plaza was dedicated in his honor.
Among those present for the
dedication was the then famous centerfielder, Joe
DiMaggio. A southpaw, he gave the opposing left
fielders something to worry about when he was at
bat. He, too, soon became a legend like Ruth and
Gehrig before him. Who recalls Les Brown's first
hit song, Joltin Joe DiMaggio ? When it
came out, it reached number 12 on the charts.
The featured photographs
show the Yankees, I'm sorry to say, losing to the
Dodgers 3-0 in April of 1943 and a youthful Joe
DiMaggio in 1942.
Do You Remember