Stats and Facts for Fans of Baseball's Greatest Franchise, the New York Yankees

Harvey FrommerGuest ColumnistNovember 14, 2011

With the hot stove season in full swing and baseball news about free agents and trades dominating the headlines, for fans of baseball's greatest franchise, the Yankees, there is also a treasure trove of history to appreciate.  So enjoy:

Yankee Stadium Factoids and Oddities 

The original Yankee Stadium had 36 ticket booths and 40 turnstiles that ticked like clocks tallying up the gate.  F.C. Lane, in a 1923 issue of The Literary Digest, called it "the last word in ball parks."   Egotistical baseball commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis arrived at the first game there via the subway. He was caught up in the swarm of bodies outside the gates and had to be rescued by the police. 

Despite claims to the contrary, the outfield wall at Yankee stadium has actually always been uniform height. The ground beneath sloped, and at the original Stadium, a sharp pitch to the outfield grass went uphill to the fence that was just three feet high.  

Former star hurler Ron Guidry was a good drummer; he once kept a trap set at Yankee Stadium, and even had a gig in a post-game concert with the Beach Boys.

In 1988, a wall that was closed off for decades was unearthed.  Among the findings; scorecard, a program and what was supposedly the bases used in 1936.

The shooting of the Billy Crystal film "61" took place in Detroit, not Yankee Stadium.  Crystal maintained  that the architecture there was able to more closely approximate that of Yankee Stadium in 1961. 

The late and great public address announcer Bob Sheppard's favorite stadium moments; Don Larsen's perfect game, Roger Maris belting his then-record 61st regular-season home run in 1961, the Yankees' Chris Chambliss blasting a homer leading off the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 5 of the 1976 ALCS against Kansas City that gave the Yankees their first AL pennant in 12 years and the Yankees' Reggie Jackson's three home runs against the Dodgers on three consecutive pitches in Game 6 of the 1977 World Series. Roger Clemens always patted the Babe Ruth monument for good luck before coming in to pitch.

Started in 1965, Bat Day has bragging rights to the longest running promotion.

By the Numbers

0002:  After Allie Reynolds pitched his second no-hitter for the Yankees in 1951, Manhattan's Hotel Edison, where he along with some teammates lived, changed his room number from 2019 to 0002

1 1/2:  This was the uniform number worn by opera star Robert Merrill, the man who for many years sang the national anthem at Yankee Stadium. 

3:  All three perfect games in Yankee Stadium history were witnessed by Joe Torre; Larsen's in 1956 as a 16-year-old fan, and the gems spun by David Wells and David Cone from the dugout as Yankee manager.  

14:  Yogi Berra stayed away from Yankee Stadium for 14 years, unhappy with the treatment he had received from George Steinbrenner.

$15.00:  Bob Sheppard's per game earning in 1951 when he began working for the Yankees. 

18:  Joe DiMaggio's original uniform, number given to him by equipment manager Pete Sheehy and later changed to 5 for historical significance reasons. Ruth wore number 3 and Gehrig 4.

No. 42, which has been retired from Major League Baseball in honor of Jackie Robinson.  A "grandfather clause" permits Mariano Rivera to wear this number. When he retires, the Yankees will probably honor both Robinson and Rivera with the official retirement of the number.

56:  Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak included 56 singles and runs scored.  It covered 53 day games three night games, 29 at Yankee Stadium and 27 road games. 

58:  The original number of Mariano Rivera. 

148:  On May 12, 1959, Yogi Berra's errorless streak of 148 games came to an end when he committed an error on his 34th birthday. 

185: Number of working days it took for the original Yankee Stadium to be built.

$400:  This was the amount Mickey Mantle was paid in 1949 to finish out a minor league season.

413:  Smallest Yankee home attendance for a game, September 25, 1966

454 2/3:  This was the number of innings Jack Chesbro pitched for Highlanders in 1904.

457:  Babe Ruth is the all time season leader in total bases. He reached this record in 1921 with 101 singles, 44 doubles, 16 triples and 59 home runs.

.471:  Joe Torre's career winning percentage as a manager prior to coming to the Yankees in 1996. 

1903:  For the first time since 1903, two teams played two games in different stadiums he same day, July 8, 2000. The first game was at Shea Stadium and the second game was at Yankee Stadium.

$5,000:  The reward promised to the one who caught the 61st home run ball of Roger Maris.

$6,000:  The amount of money Don Larsen received for being on Bob Hope's TV show after he pitched his perfect game in 1956.  

20,000:  The number of letters  Mickey Mantle never answered which were not bid on in the old Yankee Stadium fire sale in 1974.

**A noted oral historian and sports journalist, Harvey Frommer has written many sports books, including Fenway Park: An Oral and Narrative History of the Home of the Boston Red Sox.  His work has appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, New York Daily News, Newsday, USA Today, Men's Heath, The Sporting News, and of course Bleacher Report among other publications.Visit his website and purchase books here:


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