On Opening Day 2009, the New York Yankees will play in a new ballpark just a few hundred yards away from the original Yankee Stadium. They will leave behind a venue where they won 26 World Series and, more importantly, a hallowed turf where Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle plied their trade. Built in 1923 and dubbed “The House that (Babe) Ruth Built,” Yankee Stadium holds myriad memories and a history that is unparalleled in the American sporting milieu. Les Krantz captures the zeitgeist of the Stadium in a lovingly put-together book that features rare photographs and crisp writing.
Krantz captures the truly magical moments at Yankee Stadium. There is Don Larsen’s perfect game in Game Two of the 1956 World Series; David Cone and David Wells’ perfect games; the exploits of Reggie Jackson; and the sublime skills exhibited by Mickey Mantle in smashing balls to hitherto untraveled locations. The Stadium was also the venue for Lou Gehrig’s speech from the heart upon learning of his fatal illness. Other poignant moments at the Stadium include the farewell to Phil (The Scooter) Rizutto and a final tribute to Joe DiMaggio.
This is a book to be treasured by those who love the New York Yankees and baseball history. Whatever else may be said about the New York Yankees, they have a glorious history, and much of that history was created at their venerable home, the Stadium. Krantz’s succinct prose complements the rare photographs - the picture of an obviously stressed-out Roger Maris sitting next to a tub of bats with a forlorn look is itself worth the price of the book - and together they offer a compelling one-two punch in giving the Stadium a worthy farewell.