Little Bits of History

The House that Ruth Built

Posted in History by patriciahysell on April 18, 2013
Yankee Stadium opening day

Yankee Stadium opening day

April 18, 1923: Yankee Stadium opens. Also called “The House that Ruth Built,” the arena is home to Major League Baseball team The New York Yankees. The team itself was established in 1901 and belonged to the American League. It was one of the eight charter franchises. The Bronx team originally played in Baltimore, Maryland as the Baltimore Orioles because the New York Giants held enough power to keep the upstarts out of “their” city.

The Yankees came to the Bronx in 1903 and played at Hilltop Park as the New York Highlanders. The team changed their name to the Yankees in 1913. They were purchased by Jacob Ruppert and Tillinghast L’Hommedieu Huston in 1915. They put up the new $2.5 million stadium, taking huge risks. At the time stadiums held, at most, 30,000 seats. Their ambitious plans doubled the size. The Yankees were also the third team in New York City with both the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Giants playing for the National League.

But they also had The Babe, The Sultan of Swat, or The Bambino. George Herbert Ruth, Jr. – aka Babe Ruth – played for The Yankees. He was purchased from the Boston Red Sox in 1919 for $100,000 (the contract itself sold at auction in 2005 for $996,000). He was a phenomenon. He was the first player to hit 60 home runs in a season (1927) – a record that stood for 34 years and was finally broken by Roger Maris (1961). His lifetime record of 714 home runs held from his retirement in 1935 until 1974 when Hank Aaron finally topped it.

The first game played at the new stadium was a 4-1 victory over the Boston Red Sox, a team that Ruth played for from 1914 until the end of 1919. A crowd of 74,200 fans saw Ruth hit his first home run in his new home. The stadium closed September 1973 and reopened after a $48 million face lift on April 15, 1976. A new stadium opened on April 2, 2009 when the team hosted a work out day for fans. The first game played in the new stadium was a pre-season game against the Chicago Cubs the next day. The first regular season game was played on April 16 against the Cleveland Indians. The $1.5 billion stadium has 50,086 seats and with standing room, holds 52,325.

“The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together, the club won’t be worth a dime.”

“Never let the fear of striking out get in your way.”

“It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up.”

“I had only one superstition. I made sure to touch all the bases when I hit a home run.”

“If I’d just tried for them dinky singles I could’ve batted around .600.” – all from Babe Ruth

This article first appeared at in 2010. Editor’s update: Babe Ruth was born in 1895 in a rough neighborhood of Baltimore, Maryland. Of his seven siblings, only one survived infancy. His childhood is cloaked in mystery including how he ended up at St. Mary’s School for Boys at the age of seven. The school was a reformatory and orphanage and although they provided some education, the students/inmates were also required to work. This was especially true after the boys reached the age of 12 and that is how Babe Ruth became a shirtmaker. He also learned carpentry while there. The boys did most of the work required to run the school, including renovations to the school in 1912. Ruth began playing baseball while at the school.

Also on this day: The Great Quake – In 1906 a large earthquake devastates San Francisco.
One if by Land; Two if by Sea – In 1775, Paul Revere took a ride through the countryside.
Suicide Bomber – In 1983, the US Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon was destroyed.

One Response

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  1. Bobby Dias said, on April 18, 2013 at 2:10 pm

    Considering the way the player contracts are formulated and announced money value the $1.5 billion may be only a $100 million in real money. For publicity a player is signed to be paid,for example, $100,000 a homerun IF he hits 100 home runs in a season- that comes to $10 million a year but will he ever hit 1000 home runs in a season? That is the trick to make the player look sooo good that many more will buy tickets to the games. Fooled

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