Babe Ruth shakes the hand of actor Gary Cooper (playing Lou Gehrig) during the filming of the movie “Pride of the Yankees” in 1942. The scene is a recreation of “Gehrig Appreciation Day” on July 4, 1939 when Gehrig retired due to his diagnosis with ALS; Via NYC Municipal Archives
To celebrate the start of the baseball season this week, the city’s Department of Records & Information Services released a series of artifacts and historic photos for sale. From architectural drawings of Brooklyn’s Ebbets Field to photos of Babe Ruth at the 1936 World Series, the images provide a look back at our national pastime’s origin in New York City.
How to buy them
Photo courtesy of the New York Transit Museum
Baseball fans headed to the New York Yankees home opener this week can arrive in the Bronx via a transportation method almost as old as the team itself. On Thursday, the New York Transit Museum is rolling out its 1917 IRT Lo-V train to run from Grand Central to 161st-Street Yankee Stadium, allowing Bronx-bound passengers to travel back in time before officially kicking off the 2019 baseball season.
Get the details
Via Brian Boyd on Flickr
Considered one of the most recognizable logos in sports, how did the interlocking NY logo of the Yankees develop? The logo is actually older than the baseball team itself, as Untapped Cities learned. At the start of their franchise in 1903, the Yankees, then known as the Highlanders, wore uniforms with the letters N and Y sitting separately on each breast section of the jersey. In 1905, the team adopted a new interlocking version, but later tossed this logo out and returned to their old emblem.
Get the lowdown on the logo
Photo via Clean Sweep Auctions
On September 30, 1973, during the last home game at Yankee Stadium before the historic arena underwent two years of renovations, diehard baseball fans came wielding screwdrivers and hammers. Not to fight fans from the opposing team of that night’s game, the Detroit Tigers, but to dismantle any memorabilia from “The House That Ruth Built.” One fan somehow got his hands on a right field sign wall that designates the 296-foot distance from home plate (h/t Forbes). A family member of the brazen fan put up the sign for auction last month and on Wednesday, after 18 bids, the 1960s era sign sold for a final sale price of $55,344.
Find out more
The Highlanders play a game at Hilltop Park in 1912, photo via NYPL
Not unlike their current power-house lineup, the most dominant team in American sports got off to quite a rocky start. Not only did the New York Highlanders, now known as the Yankees, have a losing record for many years, the team’s first home field was a mess: it was located near a swamp, the outfield had no grass, and the ballpark sat mostly unfinished. In just six weeks, 500 men hastily built the stadium on Broadway and 168th Street in Washington Heights, known as Hilltop Park, in time for the Highlander’s first home game on April 30, 1903. Due to the unsavory, rock-filled conditions, the last big league game at Hilltop Park was played in October of 1912. Following its closure, the Highlanders changed their name to the Yankees in 1913, moved to the Bronx, and went on to become one of the most successful sports teams in the world.
More this way