Monday, September 22, 2008

The "Old" Yankee Stadium

Bye bye, Yankee Stadium. I first went to the big Ballpark when I was 10 years old and then became a regular. Through Bat and Old Timers Days, and many many regular games, I was there (and I guess Billy Crystal was there).

My father once saw Babe Ruth hit a home run there to right field. I saw Mickey Mantle hit a grand slam home run into the same right field stands. Yeah, my father saw that one also. Once I took a tour and got a chance to take a shot from the Yankee's dugout (left).


Old Timers Day 2001
Originally uploaded by jfraissi
I took the picture to the right at the Old Timer's Game in 2001, right as Yogi Berra was being introduced. You can see his name on the scoreboard if you look close enough, although I'm not sure which dot on the field he is.

My most memorable time at the "old stadium" was during a Sunday doubleheader against the Cleveland Indians in June 1970. There was a potpourri of events (or is it there were a potpourri?).

Most notable, spread across the two games, Bobby Murcer hit four home runs in consecutive at bats (right field, again). Also, Murcer chased down a ball deep in centerfield, when the monuments were still on the playing field, and went between the monuments to find the ball rather than around them. (I saw a replay of this on the recent Old Timer's Day telecast and it really didn't make much sense, but it a pretty cool thing to see).

A bit later, there was a bench clearing brawl between pitcher Stan Bahnsen and Indians star Vada Pinson. Baseball brawls are very exciting.

Still later, a cherry bomb was thrown from the upper deck and exploded near Indian catcher Ray Fosse. From baseballlibrary.com, "There was an odd incident in 1970: A cherry bomb thrown from the stands blew up by his foot, badly burning the arch of (Fosse's) foot and causing a shock. Always tough and determined, he stayed in the game, limping, was hit by a pitch, but played the next day."

And, finally Steve Hamilton, who had an softball-height hesitation loft pitch came in as a relief pitcher. And, he threw this rarely used pitch, which was called the "Folly Floater", to Tony Horton. Horton popped it foul, and dared Hamilton to throw another one. Hamilton accommodated him and Horton then popped out to catcher Thurman Munson. Embarassed, Horton then crawled back to the dugout.

I doubted my memory about the crawling part of the event, so I googled Tony Horton. Not only did I find the event mentioned in Wikipedia, I found a video clip below on YouTube of the actual event (I am in the stands somewhere behind the dugout). So, I guess it was true. Who needs memories when you've got YouTube.

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