McGee: Hallowed ground and hollowed ground: the old and new Yankee Stadiums

From Bob McGee at The National Pastime Museum on May 2, 2018:

There is a major thoroughfare in the South Bronx known as East 161st Street. South of it is a park, now called Heritage Field. On it are three diamonds managed by the New York City Parks Department. In the baseball lexicon, this is “Hallowed Ground.” This is the site of the old Yankee Stadium, where Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, Dickey, Mantle, Berra, Ford, and Maris roamed. In the Ruth-Gehrig era, five World Series were played here in the first 10 seasons, with the Yankees triumphant in four of those. Across the street, we have the new Yankee Stadium, which bears some bellwether touches like the façade, which are reminiscent of the old place. But there is scant evidence the ghosts crossed the street. In the first nine seasons, there has been but a single World Series appearance. It was in the ballpark’s first season, 2009, and even though the pinstripes prevailed, the performance in the new place fails to track with what Yankee fans would expect. So far, the new place is merely “Hollowed Ground” by comparison.

A month into the 2018 season, there is the prospect of a new Murderer’s Row appearing in Yankee Stadium, with Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Gary Sanchez, Didi Gregorias and a cast of others shellacking balls around the yard. It could add up to an epic season, providing the Yankees’ starting pitching holds up, given that the bullpen corps looks solid. 

But what about the home playpen of these modern-day mashers, the second-, third-, or fourth-coming of generational Bronx Bombers—whether Ruth-Gehrig, Maris-Mantle, or Munson-Jackson—even if we allow ourselves to be capricious enough to skip over the solidly functional lineup of the ’98 team, which performed as the arguable equal of both the ’27 and ’61 squads?

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Originally published: May 2, 2018. Last Updated: May 2, 2018.