It’s been five years since Yankee Stadium was demolished after serving as home to the New York Yankees for 85 years. National Geographic was there throughout the demolition process. (Nat Geo News)
What’s a Yankee? Use our encyclopedic entry to find out.
Teachers, scroll down for a quick list of key resources in our Teachers’ Toolkit, including a link to today’s MapMaker Interactive map.
- New York City is divided into five boroughs. Can you name them? In which borough was the former Yankee Stadium located?
- New York’s five boroughs are: Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, the Bronx, and Staten Island.
- Yankee Stadium is in the Bronx—the Yankees’ nickname is the “Bronx Bombers.”
- Bonus: Citi Field, home to New York’s other baseball team, the Mets, is located in the borough of Queens.
- Bonus Bonus: The Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team also started out in New York, as the Brooklyn Dodgers. (Here’s a good Brooklyn Dodger to know.) They played at Ebbets Field.
- The second bookmark in today’s MapMaker Interactive map gives you an idea of where the old and new stadia for all three teams can be found.
- Why was Yankee Stadium nicknamed “the House that Ruth Built”?
- Babe Ruth was one of the New York Yankees’ most legendary players—he still holds the record for career slugging percentage (.690) and career OPS (1.164). (Slugging percentage is a handy statistic that measures the overall power of a hitter. It’s the total number of bases gained with hits—not walks or steals—divided by the total number of at-bats: SLG = (1B + 2 × 2B + 3 × 3B + 4 × HR) / AB. OPS is another statistic, one that adds the player’s slugging percentage to the total number of times a player gets on base for any reason.)
- Babe Ruth remains one of the most popular players in history, with big-budget films made of his life and his trading cards selling for hundreds of thousands of dollars.
- The very first game in Yankee Stadium pitted Ruth’s Yankees against his former team, the Boston Red Sox. Ruth hit the first home run in the ballpark, and the Yankees won.
- Following his death in 1961, Ruth lied in repose not in a church or mansion, but in Yankee Stadium.
- Yankee Stadium wasn’t just for the Yankees. What other events happened at the stadium?
- Other sports were played there. For instance: It hosted college football games until the early 1960s; it’s where American boxer Joe Louis beat German heavyweight Max Schmeling in 1938; and it was the home of the New York Giants football team from 1956-1973.
- The venue hosted celebratory events, perhaps the most famous being Lou Gehrig Appreciation Day in 1939, when thousands of fans and former coworkers honored the “Pride of the Yankees,” “Iron Horse” first-baseman Lou Gehrig, who was forced out of the game due to the disease that now bears his name. Gehrig gave an incredibly gracious speech, thanking Yankee fans for making him, dying of a debilitating motor-neuron disease, “the luckiest man on the face of the Earth.” Watch highlights from the speech here, or watch Gary Cooper play Gehrig (and Babe Ruth play himself!) in the movie.
- The venue hosted religious events, including a Billy Graham Crusade in 1957 and masses by Pope Paul VI in 1965, Pope John Paul II in 1979, and Pope Benedict XIV in 2008.
- Music concerts were not held at Yankee Stadium until the 1990s. (That surprised me.) Native New Yorker Billy Joel was the first musician to perform.
- Why was Yankee Stadium demolished?
- Money. The cost of maintaining the original building was very high. Owners and businesses thought that in the long run, constructing a new, state-of-the-art stadium would be less expensive than renovating the old one. (Yankee Stadium actually had been renovated once before, forcing the Yankees to play their 1974-1975 games at Shea Stadium—home of their cross-town rivals the Mets—while the renovation was taking place.)
- Why did the stadium take so long to demolish? Why couldn’t they just blow it up?
- According to Nat Geo, “Authorities could not ‘blow up’ the stadium because of its close proximity to residences and active rail lines.” (Today’s MapMaker Interactive map uses the satellite image base map to let you see what a densely populated urban area the Bronx is.)
- What parts of the stadium had to be removed before the building itself could be demolished?
- In order of their removal:
- memorials (including retired jerseys from Ruth, Gehrig and others), which were moved to the new Yankee Stadium
- equipment, such as home plate and the pitcher’s mound, which were also moved to the new stadium
- 100,000 square feet of turf
- more than 50,000 seats
- facade of the building
- In order of their removal:
- What’s at the site of the original Yankee Stadium today?
- Heritage Field is a public park built on the site of the original Yankee Stadium. There are three baseball diamonds in Heritage Field.
- Where is the new Yankee Stadium? How far is it from the original site?
- It’s right across the street! The new Yankee Stadium is a block away from the old site. The city didn’t even have to change the name of the subway stop.
Nat Geo: See 85 Years of Baseball History Vanish in 30 Seconds
Nat Geo: Where is Yankee Stadium? map
2 thoughts on “See 85 Years of Baseball History Vanish in 30 Seconds”
Hi, great job! The link of the map is not working. Anyway to get it working? thanks, Rob
Thanks for reading, Rob! This post links to an older version of MapMaker. You can access the current version, including dozens of customizable map layers, at mapmaker.nationalgeographic.org.