18 April 1923

Yankee Stadium is opened.

It was 50 years ago on April 18, 1923 that Yankee Stadium was opened for major league baseball. In the historic first game, the Yankees defeated the Boston Red Sox 4-1. It was historic because the Yanks were the American League champions, they had the leading gate attraction in Babe Ruth, and the new stadium had by far the largest seating capacity of all Big League parks.

The game moved slowly until the third inning when Ruth broke it open with a three-run homer off Howard Ehmke. The crowd of 74,000, largest in baseball history up to that time, went crazy with delight. The Babe beamed from ear to ear and waved his cap to his many admirers as he jogged down the home stretch. No wonder they called it the “House that Ruth Built.”

With two out in the ninth, the game was held up as the crowd swarmed on the field, around Ruth and others. Umpire Tom Connally finally let the game proceed and George Burns fanned for the final out.

A dozen of the 20 players in that game have passed on. Among the eight survivors are the rival pitchers, Ehmke, and Bob Shawkey, who won the first game in Yankee Stadium and scored the first run; Joe Dugan, who knocked in the first run; Bob Meusel, who hit the first double; and Red Sox first sacker Burns, who collected the first hit and made the first error.