HISTORIC FEATS: 1923 Yankee Stadium

The modern world didn’t just happen. It was built. Built by men and women who understood the value of hard work and overcoming the impossible to accomplish Historic Feats. Those are our kind of people. To celebrate them and their accomplishments, OXX is taking a closer look at some of the greatest feats of human ingenuity that America has ever seen. 

Baseball season is upon us, and we at OXX couldn’t be more thrilled. For generations Americans have had a love affair with baseball, and to celebrate the start of the season, we thought we’d look back at the construction of one of the most iconic stadiums in U.S. History: Old Yankee Stadium. In 1922 when the Yankees started construction on their new stadium, the project became the home of the largest major league baseball arena that would officially be dubbed a “stadium.” This feat of engineering for America’s favorite past time became a staple of modern baseball. But what inspired the build might surprise you…

The Yankees got evicted. 

No, you read that right. The New York Yankees got kicked out and needed a new place to play. Let’s back up a second. Before Yankee Stadium was built, the Yankees and the New York Giants were sharing the Giant’s owned Polo Grounds—a bathtub shaped, 55,000-seat capacity stadium just north of Central Park. For 10 years the two teams had played nice together, until the Yankees got a new slugger on the team who bumped attendance to 1,289,422 for the 1920 season. The Yankee attendance was some 100,000 fans greater than the Giants. That left a bad taste in the Giants mouth, and in 1921 they asked the Yankees to hit the road as soon as possible.

Photo Courtesy of the New York Daily News

 

 

 

“The House That Ruth Built”

This was a familiar (and arguably true) phrase that stuck with the Old Yankee Stadium. The slugger that raised attendance in 1920 was none other than George Herman “Babe” Ruth. Just a year before in 1919 Ruth had been sold to the New York Yankees from the Boston Red Sox. His knack for knocking balls outta the park made him a spectacle that instantly paid off for the Yankees. No surprise that his first game in the new stadium he hit a 3 run homer that sent the crowds into frenzy. During his time with the Yankees, he would pack that stadium again and again.

Photo Courtesy of George Grantham Bain Library of Congress

 

 

 

Time for an upgrade

With such record-breaking crowds coming to see the Great Bambino, the Yankees knew that they needed more space. For $2.5 million in just 284 days, the Yankees got just that. The team’s new stadium easily handled the 74,200 spectators that came to the park’s opening day, with thousands more filling the streets outside. And the new park had another “modern” draw—as many as 8 bathrooms for both men and women. (Yikes).

Photo Courtesy of the New York Daily News

 

 

Although the Old Yankee Stadium was torn down in 2010 to give way to the new Heritage Park, there’s something to be said about the project. It was the first stadium dedicated solely to baseball and changed how America saw and experienced the game. Yankee Stadium truly was one of America’s greatest construction projects of the roaring ‘20s. And what better way to appreciate it than with the start of a new season. Let’s play ball!