Yankee Stadium La Casa de Babe Ruth

Old Yankee Stadium Bronx New YorkPor Edwin Kako Vazquez: Sabido que la temporada del 2008 será la última del legendario estadio Yankee Staduim quiero llevarles una crónica escrita por el mismo Babe Ruth. La misma la voy a transcribir del libro “THE BABE RUTH HISTORY”  en el idioma inglés para que no pierda su esencia. No deje de leerla y enterarse de cuales fueron los pormenores de esta gran odisea que guarda una historia llena de emociones.

THE HOUSE THAT RUTH BUILT - Before Huston sold out Ruppert in the winter of 1922-23, the big new home of the Yankees was nearing completion in the Bronx. In fact, all though the season of 1922 Huston, a former Army engineer, personally saw every ton of concrete poured in to the great baseball structure. After the Yankees gave up their early home at 167th street and Broadway en 1914, they became tenants of the Giants at the Polo Ground, and the arrangements seemed quite satisfactory up to the time the Yankees began taking the play away from McGraw’s Club.

But as soon as the Yankees became the big draw in New York, the Giants began looking upon the invaders. Around 1921 Ruppert and Huston tried to by a half interest the Polo Grounds, and when they couldn’t get it decide to build across the Harlem River, and the great Yankees Stadium, that game’s largest ball park, came into being. It was said that the big money made by the club in the years after I joined them was spent in the acquisition of the real estate and the building cost of the great structure.
But in writing his story of the opening game of the 1923 season, Fred Leib referred to the Yankees Stadium as “THE HOUSE THAT BABE RUTH BUILT” in the New York Evening Telegram. Others writers liked the phrase, as many still use in today. And I always feel proud when I see it. Looking back my career, and my numerous mistake I think I usually had good intentions.  In some respects that 118 batting average in the 1922 World Series may have been a very good thing for me.
I knew I let down my teammates, the fan, and I also thought of the kids all over the country who had been watching my play in that series. As I started training fot the 1923 season I decided I wasn’t going to let those youngsters dawn again. I was beginning to develop some kind of a sense of duty to the kids. We trained for the second time in New Orleans, it again was a gay training season, but I was watching my step. We still were in the Prohibition era, but I recall the New Orleans chief of police throwing a crawfish party fot the ball club and there was a lot of beer to wash down the seafood.
We trained at the New Orleans club’s ball park and usually worked out from about ten in the morning till one, after which Pelicans took over. There was a golf course not very far from the ballpark. And I still recall the look of disgust on Ed Barrow’s face when he used to watch a gang of us leave the training dressed in the golf knickers they wore at that time and carrying our golf bags. We had a number of pretty good golfers, too. Bob Shawskey was about the best at that time, but Bush, Hoyt, myself and half a dozen others were close to him.
Barrow, a baseball old timer couldn’t understand a lot of big leaguer falling for golf. He’d stand there, look at us, and moan. Whats baseball coming too. Yet I think Ed was all wrong, if we hadn’t gone out to the golf links we’d have gone back to our hotel, played cards in a lot of smoke filled room, or we’d have gotten into trouble. We were certainly far better off out there on the golf course, toughening our legs, sharpening our eyes and breathing good clean air.  We played in Chattanooga on our way North that spring, and that suited me fine because I always seemed to get the range on Southern fence.
I hit two very long home runs the day we played there. Chattanooga, as well as some of the other Southern League parks, had cramped, little playing fields in those days. Quite a crowd turned out to see us this particular day I have in mind, they crowd along the fouls lines so close to the line stripe that it was impossible to catch a foul fly, and my particular concern was that I’d pull or slice a ball into foul territory and brain somebody. Just before that game an old fellow with whiskers down to his belly drove a six-year-old boy to our bench. The old guy had placed a small harness on the kid, and stood off from him, holding leather strap that led to the harness, it seemed kind of unusual, even fot the Chattanooga ballpark.
“Let the young’ un shake hands with you, Mr. Babe, the old guy asked me.
“Sure, Kid” I said.
I called every body “Kid” but this time it seemed to offend somebody.
“Who you callin’ Kid, me or the boy here?” the old guy demanded.” The boy, naturally, I said
“Just as well you did, “the old enough to be your grand pappy.”
“You’ re right there Kid, was all I could think to say.
Finally we arrive in New York fot the great day: the opening of the Yankee Stadium, April 18, 1923, as it was first constructed, the park seated about 65,000, but Ed Barrow managed to crowd in around 75,000 for our opening, Mayor Hylan, Judge, big League club owners, brass hats and politicians were on hand.