Saturday, September 20, 2008

Good-bye Yankee Stadium; We Consider Ourselves the Luckiest Fans on the Face of the Earth

Sunday is the last game at the real Yankee Stadium. I have no idea how many games I saw at the Stadium, but they date back to 1978. My memories are endless: the first time I saw the green of the grass of the infield; the aroma of the hot dogs and pretzels; the taste of the beer on a hot August afternoon; and the players I saw -- Munson, Jackson, Mattingly, Jeter.

Derek Jeter and Joe Girardi talk about their memories:

Lou Gehrig's farewell speech:

Here is the full text of his impromptu speech. It's not well-known, but it's truly as glorious a speech as any other:

"Fans, for the past two weeks you have been reading about the bad break I got. Yet today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of this earth. I have been in ballparks for seventeen years and have never received anything but kindness and encouragement from you fans.

"Look at these grand men. Which of you wouldn't consider it the highlight of his career just to associate with them for even one day? Sure, I'm lucky. Who wouldn't consider it an honor to have known Jacob Ruppert? Also, the builder of baseball's greatest empire, Ed Barrow? To have spent six years with that wonderful little fellow, Miller Huggins? Then to have spent the next nine years with that outstanding leader, that smart student of psychology, the best manager in baseball today, Joe McCarthy? Sure, I'm lucky.

"When the New York Giants, a team you would give your right arm to beat, and vice versa, sends you a gift - that's something. When everybody down to the groundskeepers and those boys in white coats remember you with trophies - that's something. When you have a wonderful mother-in-law who takes sides with you in squabbles with her own daughter - that's something. When you have a father and a mother who work all their lives so you can have an education and build your body - it's a blessing. When you have a wife who has been a tower of strength and shown more courage than you dreamed existed - that's the finest I know.

"So I close in saying that I may have had a tough break, but I have an awful lot to live for."

Babe Ruth Day, 1947, and his funeral:

Babe Ruth's 60th Home Rune, 1927:

Mickey Mantle's 500th Home Run:

Joe McCarthy interviews Joe DiMaggio ("Be a clean liver and swing that ball hard"):

Phil Rizzuto getting hit by a pitch, 1955.

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