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Yankee Stadium, 1927

Yankees owner Col. Jacob Ruppert, after being notified by the National League's New York Giants that they were no longer wanted as tenants in the Polo Grounds, decided to build the best stadium of its kind right across the Harlem River, in the Bronx. On May 2, 1922, White Construction Company began building what was to be dubbed "The House that Ruth Built."

Built in only 185 working days, and for an estimated cost of $2.5 million, Yankee Stadium was ready and officially opened on April 18, 1923. That year, the Yankees would win their first World Series.

Spectators would be seated in baseball's first three tiered stadium. Original capacity at Yankee Stadium in 1923 was 58,000; immense by baseball standards at the time. The three levels, made of concrete and steel, extended from behind home plate out to the respective foul lines in both left and right field. A distinctive white facade adorned the top of the third deck. There was a single deck in left field, and wooden bleachers around the rest of the outfield.

In 1927, capacity was 62,000. Dimensions were 281 feet to the left field line, 415 feet to left, 490 feet to left center, 487 feet to center, 429 feet to right center, 344 feet to right, and 295 feet down the right field line. There was 82 feet behind home plate for a catcher to chase wild pitches.

As was common at the time, each white foul line was extended past home plate. There was also a dirt "pathway" leading from the mound to home plate. The Yankees dark green dugout was on the third base side, and bats were lined ap at the top of the dugout stairs. Their bullpen was in left center. Batteries would be announced over megaphone.

Past the warning track, the outfield gradually sloped upwards toward the bleachers. White billboards adorned the base of the bleachers; advertising "Ever-Ready sterilized shaving brushes" in left center, and "Gem razors" in right center. The flag pole in left center was in play. The manual scoreboard, which also featured scores of other games, was above the bleachers in right center.

The bleachers in right center were often referred to as "Ruthville" or "Gehrigville". For 1927, Ruppert lowered the price of admission on the 22,000 bleacher seats from 75 cents to 50 cents. Seats in the grandstands sold for $1.10.

Opening Day was April 12, 1927 vs. the Philadelphia Athletics. An unofficial attendance of 73,206 packed Yankee Stadium, breaking the attendance record of 63,600 that had been set in Game 2 of the 1926 World Series. Attendance for the 1927 season was 1,164,015, setting a Yankee Stadium record. Average attendance for the 77 games played at Yankee Stadium was 15,117. Game times were in the afternoon, most commonly 3:30 PM. Mark Koenig said that "playing shortstop at Yankee Stadium was tough later in the game looking straight into the sun."

At Yankee Stadium, Tony Lazzeri hit three home runs on June 8th vs. Chicago in a 12-11, 11 inning victory. On Independence Day, 72,641 saw the Yankees sweep a doubleheader from second place Washington, winning 12-1 and 21-1 to distance themselves from the rest of the league. The Yankees returned home from a road trip on September 8th. They would win 17 of their final 21 games to close out the season.

Also, on September 8th, "Tony Lazzeri Day" was held at the Stadium. On September 17th between games of a double header, spectators from the right field bleachers presented Earle Combs with a gold watch to show their admiration. On October 1st, the United German Societies held "Lou Gehrig Day" at the Stadium.

The Yankees were 57-19 (one tie) at Yankee Stadium in 1927, tying the American League record for home wins. They won every season series against the other American League teams at Yankee Stadium, including 10-1 vs. St. Louis, and 9-1 vs. Boston.

The Yankees batted .312 at home, with 11 players batting over .300, led by Ruth's .372. They set the ML record for home runs with 158, hitting 83 of them at home. Babe Ruth hit 28 of his ML record 60 home runs at home, including his 60th on September 30, 1927 against the Washington Senators. Lou Gehrig hit 24 of his 47 home runs at home.

The Yankee pitchers had a 2.75 ERA at home. Opponents batted .251 and hit 30 home runs at Yankee Stadium.

After winning the first two games of the 1927 World Series in Pittsburgh, the Yankees returned home. They won Game 3, 8-1, in front of 60,695 spectators on October 7th behind Herb Pennock's brilliant pitching. They became the first American League team to sweep a World Series on October 8th, winning 4-3 behind Wilcy Moore's complete game in front of a crowd of 57,909.

After the 1927 season, in the winter of 1927-28, the second and third decks were added in left field, and several rows of box seats were removed, extending the left field foul line from 281 to 301 feet.



A special thank you to Paul Munsey at Ballparks.com
Ballparks by Munsey and Suppes

Email: jeffrey.linkowski@verizon.net