The Last TimePosted: September 21, 2008
Babe Ruth’s farewell to Yankee Stadium, June, 1948.
Well this could be the last time
This could be the last time
Maybe the last time
I don’t know. Oh no. Oh no.
– The Rolling Stones
The final game in the original Yankee Stadium took place on the final day of September in 1973. The Detroit Tigers used a six-run eighth inning to beat the Yankees that day, 8-5. Some 32,238 saw back-up Yankee catcher Duke Sims hit the final home run the old Stadium, a solo shot in the seventh inning.
The Yankees moved to Shea Stadium the following year for two years, moving back into the current, refurbished Yankee Stadium in 1976.
The Mets had opened Shea in 1964, following two seasons at the Polo Grounds, shown right, in upper Manhattan. The Mets lost many games at the Polo Grounds in those two years, including the last one, a 5-1 setback to the Phillies. The Mets did have the consolation of having outfielder Jim Hickman his the last home run in the old ballpark, though few remember it. Only 1,752 fans showed up that Wednesday afternoon in September.
Moving to California
The New York Giants and Brooklyn Dodgers both abandoned New York following the 1957 season to move to the West Coast. The Dodgers shut out the Pirates, 2-0, in the final game at Brooklyn’s Ebbets Field , below, that year behind the shutout pitching of Danny McDevitt, before a mere 6,702 fans.
A day earlier, Hall of Fame Dodger outfielder Duke Snider hit the final two home runs in the historic park in Flatbush, a pair of two-run shots to reach 40 on the year.
A week or so later, the Pirates beat the New York Giants, 9-1, to bring down the curtain on the Polo Grounds as far as the Giants were concerned. An obscure Pirates outfielder named John Powers hit the last home run at the Polo Grounds that day. Only 11,606 were there to see it.
Several early 20th Century New York ballpark closings also resulted in losses for the home team. On October 5, 1912, the Brooklyn Superbas dropped the final game in Brooklyn’s Washington Park, 1-0, to the Giants.
One year later, the New York Highlanders (soon to become the Yankees) dropped a doubleheader to the Boston Red Sox, 3-2 and 3-0 to close the doors on New York’s Hilltop Park. The Yankees would share the Polo Grounds with the Giants through 1922, before moving across the Harlem River to Yankee Stadium.
In 1948, a dying Babe Ruth made his final appearance in The House That Ruth Built, on the 25th anniversary of Yankee Stadium. His voice ravaged with cancer, Ruth said, “I’m very proud to have hit the first home run in Yankee Stadium. God knows who’ll hit the last one.”