The First Game at Yankee Stadium

This article was written by Arthur O. Schott

This article was published in the 1973 Baseball Research Journal


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.

Here’s that historic box score:

BOX SCORE OF THE FIRST GAME AT YANKEE STADIUM

APRIL 18, 1923

BOSTON

AB

R

H

P0

A

 

NEW YORK

AB

R

H

P0

A

                         

Fewster, ss

3

0

0

2

6

 

Witt, cf

3

1

1

3

0

Collins, rf

4

0

0

2

1

 

Dugan, 3b

4

1

1

1

1

Skinner, cf

4

0

0

0

0

 

Ruth, rf

2

1

1

3

0

Harris, lf

4

0

0

0

0

 

Pipp, 1b

3

0

0

12

0

Burns, lb

3

1

1

9

2

 

Meusel, lf

4

0

1

0

0

McMillan, 2b

2

0

1

2

0

 

Schang, c

4

0

0

4

2

Shanks, 3b

3

0

0

3

0

 

Ward, 2b

3

0

1

3

5

DeVormer, c

3

0

0

6

2

 

Scott, ss

2

0

1

1

4

Ehmke, p

2

0

1

0

4

 

Shawkey, p

3

1

1

0

0

*Menosky

1

0

0

0

0

 

Totals

28

4

7

27

12

Fullerton, p

0

0

0

0

0

             

Totals

29

1

3

24

15

             

* Grounded out for Ehmke in 8th                                Score by innings:                    R  H  E

                                                                        Boston            000 000 100 –           1   3   1

                                                                        New York       004 000  00x –           4   7   1

     Summary:  Runs batted in – Dugan, Ruth 3, McMillan.  Two-base hits – Meusel, Scott. Three-base hit – McMillan.  Home run – Ruth.   Sacrifice – Scott.   Double Play – Scott to Ward to Pipp (Collins). Left on bases – New York 5, Boston 4.  Struck out by Shawkey 5 (Collins, Burns 2, Shanks 2), Ehmke 4 (Witt, Dugan, Ward, Shawkey), Fullerton 1 (schang).  Bases on Balls off Shawkey 2 (Burns, McMillan), Emhke 3 (Witt, Ruth, Pipp), Fullerton 1 (Ruth).  Runs scored off Shawkey 1 (earned), Ehmke 4 (all earned).  Hits off Ehmke 7 in 7, Fullerton 0 in 1.  Hit by pitcher – by Shawkey (Fewster).  First base on errors – New York 0, Boston 1 (Harris).  Time of Game 2:05.  Losing pitcher – Ehmke. Attendance 74,200.   Umpires – Connolly, Evans and Holmes.

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