On February 6, 1921, the New York Yankees announced the purchase of a ten acre plot in the west Bronx intended to become the new Yankee Stadium.
The New York Giants owned the Polo Grounds where the Yankees played and the relationship between the two baseball organizations deteriorated following the 1920 season. It was Babe Ruth‘s first season in New York and the Yankee’s and the team’s popularity was skyrocketing.
The Yankees asked to leave the premises and their quest for a larger venue began. With a seating capacity of 70,000, it was the first to be called a “stadium.”
The construction contract was signed on May 5, 1922. The catch, the budget was a whopping $2.5-million ($35.27-million in 2015) and construction had to be complete by opening day 1923.
There were 74,000 in attendance for the Yankee’s first game in the new stadium. The American flag and Yankee’s 1922 pennant were raised in a ceremony lead by John Phillip Sousa and the Seventh Regiment Band before the first pitch. Ruth participated in the opening ceremonies by hitting a three-run home run in the third inning.
Yankee Stadium became the “The House That Ruth Built” thanks to his ability to draw fans to the games.
In 1972, the City of New York wanted to see the stadium become a modern piece of architecture. After 50 seasons of operation, the Yankees made a temporary move to share Shea Stadium with the Mets, allowing the building to be completely demolished and rebuilt.
The 2008 season was the final chapter for the old Yankee Stadium, with a new ball park built across the street.
Derek Jeter had the last word after the season closer.
“For all of us up here, it’s a huge honor to put this uniform on every day and come out here and play,” Jeter said. “And every member of this organization, past and present, has been calling this place home for 85 years. There’s a lot of tradition, a lot of history, and a lot of memories. Now the great thing about memories is you’re able to pass it along from generation to generation.
“And although things are going to change next year, we’re going to move across the street, there are a few things with the New York Yankees that never change — it’s pride, it’s tradition, and most of all, we have the greatest fans in the world.
“We’re relying on you to take the memories from this stadium and add them to the new memories that come to the new Yankee Stadium, and continue to pass them on from generation to generation. On behalf of this entire organization, we want to take this moment to salute you, the greatest fans in the world.”