Yankee Stadium (1923-2008) in the Bronx had a short right field porch that made it easy for left-handers to hit home runs. In December 1919, the New York Yankees acquired Babe Ruth (1895-1948), one of baseball’s greatest home run hitters. The right field bleachers soon were called “Ruthville.”
However, the term “Ruthville” appears in print as early as June 3, 1920—when the Yankees were still playing at the Polo Grounds. The entire Yankee Stadium itself was frequently called “The House That Ruth Built.”
Wikipedia: Yankee Stadium
Yankee Stadium is a stadium located in New York City. It served as the home baseball park of Major League Baseball’s New York Yankees from 1923 through 2008. Located at East 161st Street and River Avenue in The Bronx, the stadium has a capacity of 57,545 and hosted 6,581 Yankees regular season home games during its 85-year history. It was also the former home of the New York Giants football team, as well as the host of twenty of boxing’s most famous fights and three Papal masses. The stadium’s nickname, “The House That Ruth Built” comes from the iconic Babe Ruth, the baseball superstar whose prime years coincided with the beginning of the Yankees’ winning history.
Yankee Stadium is one of the most famous sports venues in United States, having hosted a variety of events and many historic moments during its existence. Its primary occupants, the Yankees, have won far more World Series championships (26) than any other major league club and Yankee Stadium has hosted 37 World Series, far more than any other baseball stadium. The Stadium also hosted the major-league All-Star Game four times: 1939, 1960, 1977, and, as part of its curtain call, 2008.
In 2006, the Yankees began construction on a new $1.6 billion stadium in public parkland adjacent to the original Yankee Stadium. The Yankees are expecting to open their new home in 2009. Once the new stadium opens, most of the old stadium, including the above-ground structure, is to be demolished to become parkland.
The first game at the stadium was held on April 18, 1923, with the Yankees beating the Boston Red Sox 4-1. The final game at the stadium was held on September 21, 2008, with the Yankees beating the Baltimore Orioles 7-3.
Wikipedia: Babe Ruth
George Herman Ruth, Jr. (February 6, 1895 – August 16, 1948), also popularly known as “Babe”, “The Bambino”, and “The Sultan of Swat”, was an American Major League baseball player from 1914 to 1935. Named the greatest baseball player in history in various surveys and rankings, his home run hitting prowess and charismatic personality made him a larger than life figure in the “Roaring Twenties”. He was the first player to hit 60 home runs in one season (1927), a record which stood for 34 years until broken by Roger Maris in 1961. Ruth’s lifetime total of 714 home runs at his retirement in 1935 was a record for 39 years, until broken by Hank Aaron in 1974. Unlike many power hitters, Ruth also hit for average: his .342 lifetime batting is tenth highest in baseball history, and in one season (1923) he hit .393, a Yankee record. His .690 career slugging percentage, and 1.164 career OPS remain the major league records.
Ruth dominated in the era in which he played. He led the league in home runs during a season twelve times, slugging percentage thirteen times, OPS thirteen times, runs scored eight times, and RBIs six times. Each of those totals represents a modern record (and also an all-time record, except for RBIs).
In 1936, Ruth became one of the first five players elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. In 1969, he was named baseball’s Greatest Player Ever in a ballot commemorating the 100th anniversary of professional baseball. In 1998, The Sporting News ranked Ruth Number 1 on the list of “Baseball’s 100 Greatest Players.” In 1999, baseball fans named Ruth to the Major League Baseball All-Century Team. According to ESPN, he was the first true American sports celebrity superstar whose fame transcended baseball. In a 1999 ESPN poll, he was ranked as the third greatest US athlete of the century, behind Michael Jordan and Muhammad Ali.
Beyond his statistics, Ruth completely changed baseball itself. The popularity of the game exploded in the 1920s, largely due to him. Ruth ushered in the “live-ball era,” as his big swing led to escalating home run totals that not only excited fans, but helped baseball evolve from a low-scoring, speed-dominated game to a high-scoring power game.
Sold to New York
On December 26, 1919, Frazee sold Ruth to the New York Yankees. Popular legend has it that Frazee sold Ruth and several other of his best players to finance a Broadway play, No, No, Nanette (which actually didn’t debut until 1925). The truth is somewhat more nuanced.
After the 1919 season, Ruth demanded a raise to $20,000—double his previous salary. However, Frazee refused, and Ruth responded by letting it be known he wouldn’t play until he got his raise. He’d actually jumped the team several times, including the last game of the 1919 season.
3 June 1920, New York (NY)
Ruth’s homer in the first inning into the Ruthville section of the upper right field stand with Pipp on first accounted for the first two runs in the first inning.
27 June 1924, New York (NY) Times, pg. 22:
The right field bleachers were the first section to be crammed to capacity. Ruthville was filled an hour after the gates had opened, but the less choice seats in centre and right—particularly centre—filled in at a painfully slow fashion.
Monday, May. 27, 1929
Fifty thousand people sat in New York City’s Yankee Stadium, where 50,000 people have sat before and will sit again. The sky was blue, the crowd was happy. It was a Sunday ball game. Suddenly, without warning, clouds appeared, thunder clapped, rain poured down. Straw hats, spring clothes were in danger. The bleacherites arose en masse and rushed for the wire-lined exits. The exits were small, the rushers many. In the right-field bleacher section, called “Ruthville” because George Herman ("Babe") Ruth knocks most of his homeruns there, a young girl and an old man were trampled to death, 62 others injured.
New York (NY) Daily News
DID YOU KNOW?
Sunday, April 19th 1998, 2:04AM
The bleachers in right-center were originally called Ruthville and Gehrigville.
New York (NY) Times
By MICHAEL POLLAK
Published: April 6, 2008
Disaster in Ruthville
Q. My father and his twin brother grew up in the Bronx. My father said that one day, the boys were at the stadium when the bleachers collapsed, trapping and injuring many people. Can you tell me if this did happen?
A. It wasn’t a collapse; it was an uncontrolled dash for shelter that turned deadly.
Your father is surely referring to a stampede in the Yankee Stadium bleachers on May 19, 1929, when a sudden rainstorm during a Red Sox game caused the crowd to mob the nearest exit. Two people were killed — a 17-year-old Hunter college student and a 60-year-old teamster — and more than 60 were injured in the panic.
Many of the injured were young boys who habitually clustered in a section of right field known as Ruthville, where Babe Ruth’s home runs were likeliest to land.
The section was filled that day, and the sudden storm led to a crush at the bottom of the nearest bleacher exit. As people fell, many of them young boys, the pressure of the crowd pushed others on top of them. The next day, the district attorney absolved the Yankees’ management of negligence.
On May 21, the Babe visited Ruthville’s injured boys in Lincoln Hospital, shaking hands, handing out autographed balls, and promising to try to hit home runs for them.
Washington (DC) Times
THE WAY IT WAS: Final farewell in Bronx
Over 85 years, ‘The Stadium’ made memories
Sunday, September 21, 2008
In the third inning, Red Sox pitcher Howard Ehmke fed him a slow curve. The Babe lined it far up into the right-field bleachers, an area swiftly to be known as “Ruthville.”
The 7-foot fence in right was a mere 297 feet from the plate, a design intended to help Ruth hit the homers that were changing baseball strategy around the majors. Of course, he didn’t need any help. As New York sportswriter Heywood Broun noted, “It would have been a home run in the Sahara Desert.”
New York City • Sports/Games • (0) Comments • Friday, September 26, 2008 • Permalink