Yankee Stadium, be it the old version (1923-2008) or the new (2009-present), has seen plenty of great moments in its long and storied history. Which Bronx Bomber stood out the most in the House That Ruth Built? Read on below as we break down the 10 most iconic moments in this baseball cathedral.
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Greatest Moments in Yankee Stadium History
10. Babe Ruth’s 60th home run
It’s only fitting that we open this countdown with a historic feat by the great Babe Ruth. With a drive off the Washington Senators’ Tom Zachary on September 30, 1927, Ruth became the first player in Major League Baseball history to hit 60 home runs in a single season, a record that will stand for 34 years.
9. The Greatest Game Ever Played
Who says Yankee Stadium is only for baseball? The House That Ruth Built played host to the 1958 NFL Championship which some say is the greatest football game ever played. The Baltimore Colts pulled off a stunning 23-17 come-from-behind victory over the New York Giants in that gripping finale, thanks in large part to the heroics of Steve Myrha and quarterback Johnny Unitas. Myrha’s field goal tied the score with seven seconds remaining in regulation before Unitas directed a scoring drive in overtime which culminated in Alan Ameche’s title-winning touchdown run.
8. Mickey Mantle’s Mammoth Homer
One of the most beloved players in New York Yankees history is Mickey Mantle. What made Mantle such a huge fan favorite was his penchant for hitting long home runs. His game-winning, 11th-inning homer off Kansas City Athletics right-hander Bill Fischer on May 22, 1963 was the stuff of legends as it hit near the top of the 108-foot high facade in right field. That mammoth dinger was the closest a player has come to hitting a fair ball out of Yankee Stadium.
7. Mariano Rivera Plays his Final Game at Yankee Stadium
There’s no greater closer in baseball history than Mariano Rivera. The five-time World Series champion recorded a whopping 652 saves in his illustrious 19-year career. Rivera’s career 2.21 ERA and 1.00 WHIP are the lowest in the live-ball era among qualified pitchers. It was only fitting then that Yankee Stadium played host to the legendary closer’s final game against the Houston Astros on September 26, 2013. In one of the best exits in sports history, Derek Jeter and Andy Pettitte came out to pull Rivera from that contest with one out remaining in the top of the ninth. With tears in his eyes, the all-time saves leader walked off Yankee Stadium for the final time.
6. Maris and Mantle’s Record Chase
Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle put on a show for baseball fans back in 1961 as they featured in a year-long duel for Babe Ruth’s coveted home run record. Maris emerged victorious in that heated battle, hitting the record-setting 61st homer off Boston right-hander Tracy Stallard at Yankee Stadium on October 1, 1961.
5. Derek Jeter Ends His Career with a Walk-off Hit
There’s no question that Derek Jeter has the flair for the dramatic. From his iconic flip against the Oakland A’s in Game 3 of the 2001 ALDS to him belting a homer for his 3,000th hit, the Captain has definitely doled out some awe-inspiring moments throughout his Hall of Fame career. To no one’s surprise, Jeter ended his Yankee Stadium career the only way he knows how: with a bang. The Yankee shortstop capped his Stadium farewell with a game-winning single in the bottom of the ninth inning to give the Bronx Bombers a 6-5 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on September 25, 2014. Talk about a grand exit!
4. 2001 World Series – Yankees Give Joy Post 9/11
The 2001 World Series might have ended in a seven-game disappointment for the Bronx Bombers but it still provided plenty of memorable Yankee Stadium moments for the New York faithful. From President George W. Bush’s memorable first pitch in Game 3 to Tino Martinez and Scott Brosius hitting jaw-dropping two-out, two-run homers in the ninth inning of Games 4 and 5, that Fall Classic definitely delivered iconic plays that will live long in the memory of Yankee fans everywhere.
3. Reggie Jackson’s Three-Homer Night in the 1977 World Series
Reggie Jackson earned the nickname of Mr. October in Game 6 of the 1977 World Series when he hit three consecutive homers against the LA Dodgers. What made Jackson’s feat even more incredible was that he belted those three home runs on three consecutive pitches (different pitchers). Babe Ruth is the only other person to hit three homers in a World Series game. The Yankee great did it twice in his incredible career.
2. Lou Gehrig’s Emotional Farewell
It’s been almost 78 years since Lou Gehrig delivered one of the greatest speeches in American history and up to this moment, the Iron Horse’s words still resonate with sports fans everywhere. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis cut short Gehrig’s storied career (2,130 consecutive games played) but he was still full of life and vigor when he bade farewell to 61,000 applauding fans at Yankee Stadium on July 4, 1939. Even though he faced such a debilitating disease, Gehrig still considered himself the “luckiest man on the face of the Earth”. He concluded his emotional speech with the line “I may have had a tough break, but I have an awful lot to live for.” Gehrig died two years later.
1. Don Larsen’s Perfect Game
There’s no harder feat in baseball than throwing a perfect game. In fact, only 23 players have achieved this feat in MLB’s illustrious history. One perfect game stands out in particular, though, and that is Don Larsen’s in the 1956 World Series. With the series tied at two games apiece, the pressure was on Larsen to deliver the goods against the Brooklyn Dodgers in Game 5. Larsen exceeded all expectations as he needed just 97 pitches to complete the perfect game. Yankee Stadium was lucky to host such a performance as Larsen’s perfect game remains the only no-hitter in the history of the Fall Classic.
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