Dharamshala this ain’t. (That blog was posted not only on Shakespeare’s birth and death day, I believe it was posted on the 90th anniversary of the opening of Yankee Stadium.) But the original Yankee Stadium was (James Hilton’s) Shangri-La to baseball-crazed fans for half-a-century. I (Evander) probably attended thirty games in this very stadium during its first incarnation.
In truth I more than remember. I came away with one of the wooden-slatted seats from the final game of the 1973 season, upon which I can now boast thirty-nine autographs of New York Yankees who played that September or earlier: Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford, like Yogi the always-quotable Jerry Coleman, Jim Bouton, Tony Kubek, Bobby Richardson, Joe Pepitone, he of Designated Hebrew fame, and others great and not quite.
The inimitable facade was a rusted-coppery-Statue of Liberty green, as were the seats till the pre-remodeled paint job transformed the seats a deep blue and the roof-facade white. (My upper-deck seat-bottom is therefore blue. It was installed, as best I can determine, in 1946, and it could not be an original from the 1920s.)
The gritty urbanscape of the South Bronx is on display in this photo, and the august courthouse (upper right)—eventually named for a well-known Bronx District Attorney named Mario Merola (a distant friend of the family—by coincidence graduating high school in my mother’s class)—dominates to the right.
On your imaginary forces work: Mickey Mantle or the aforementioned Ron Blomberg hoisting a batted fair ball over that roof on the right-hand (RF) side. (RB appears to claim it was done during BP, though I cannot presently recall his exact reference and words.)
The new Yankee Stadium is a vast improvement in countless ways—disability-accessibility, the grand entrance, food courts for the educated palette, more restrooms. But the new place—with all these conveniences and its great sight lines—plays small. It’s not the same.
AT&T Park in San Francisco, which I am told is the most beautiful in all baseball, one oversees from its upper deck the Bay and possibly all the way to games in Japan; it will follow at some time in this blog. Fenway Park, Wrigley Field, Dodger Stadium, Camden Yards, a few in Kansas City (several beauts including Municipal Stadium), and others likewise contemporary, as well as those no longer with us (as the original Yankee Stadium) will follow in this series.