The greatest moments at 'The House that Ruth Built'

April 17th, 2023

On April 18, 1923, the Yankees celebrated the grand opening of their new stadium in the Bronx, defeating the Red Sox as christened the park with a home run. From that day forward, the Great Bambino and Yankee Stadium -- nicknamed “The House that Ruth Built” by sportswriter Fred Lieb -- would be forever intertwined.

The Yankees became a baseball powerhouse in the years that followed, with Ruth as the driving force behind their rise. New York won its first World Series title in the park's inaugural season and three more with the Babe in 1927, 1928 and 1932. The Yankees continued to win after Ruth's career ended, and Yankee Stadium played host to many memorable events and historic moments across multiple sports over the years, until the team moved to a new park with the same name in 2009.

One hundred years since Ruth's momentous home run, the new cathedral in the Bronx will host three of MLB's biggest stars when and the Yankees take on , and the Angels in a three-game series starting Tuesday. MLB Network is set to broadcast all three games.

With the original Yankee Stadium turning 100, let's look back at some of the greatest baseball-centric moments that took place at the storied park, listed chronologically.

Ruth christens Yankee Stadium -- April 18, 1923
In their first game at their new stadium, the Yankees defeated the Red Sox 4-1 to open the 1923 season with a win. Ruth (who else?) slugged the park’s first home run, clobbering a three-run blast to right field off Howard Ehmke in the bottom of the third inning. The Yanks would also finish the year with a victory, taking down the Giants in six games to win the first World Series championship in franchise history.

Gehrig’s "Luckiest Man" speech -- July 4, 1939
With his production declining and his body breaking down, Lou Gehrig pulled himself from the Yankees’ lineup on May 2, 1939, ending his Iron Man streak at 2,130 consecutive games played. He was diagnosed with ALS on June 19, 1939, his 36th birthday, and soon after the Yankees announced that Gehrig was retiring. On July 4, the team honored the Iron Horse at Yankee Stadium, and 61,808 fans watched an emotional Gehrig deliver his famous “Luckiest Man” speech. He died less than two years later, on June 2, 1941.

Bambino bids farewell -- June 13, 1948
On the day the Yankees celebrated the 25th anniversary of the opening of Yankee Stadium, a cancer-stricken Ruth made his final appearance at the ballpark in the Bronx as the team retired his No. 3. The once powerful slugger had lost a lot of weight by this point and had difficulty walking, using a borrowed bat as a cane. Ruth passed away two months later on Aug. 16. Nat Fein’s photograph of Ruth from the ceremony, titled “The Babe Bows Out,” won a Pulitzer Prize. Watch >

Dodgers win first title -- Oct. 4, 1955
The Brooklyn Dodgers played the Yankees in the World Series in 1941, 1947, 1949, 1952 and 1953. They lost every one. But in 1955, “Dem Bums” finally defeated their crosstown rivals, winning the first World Series title in franchise history with a 2-0 victory in Game 7 behind a Johnny Podres shutout at Yankee Stadium. Watch >

Larsen’s perfect game -- Oct. 8, 1956
The Yankees and Dodgers met in the World Series again in 1956, with the Yankees prevailing in another seven-game classic. Don Larsen delivered one of history’s greatest pitching performances in Game 5, facing 27 batters and retiring all of them in a perfect game. It’s a feat that hasn’t been duplicated in the postseason, and it stood as the only playoff no-hitter until Roy Halladay threw one in 2010.

Maris hits No. 61 -- Oct. 1, 1961
Roger Maris’ arduous quest to break Ruth’s single-season home run record came down to the final day of the 1961 regular season. After tying Ruth with his 60th homer of the season on Sept. 26, Maris swatted No. 61 five days later in the bottom of the fourth inning against the Red Sox, setting a new all-time mark that would hold up until 1998. Watch >

Mantle joins 500 home run club -- May 14, 1967
The Yankees won seven World Series titles during Mickey Mantle’s career, but by 1967, Mantle was nearing the end of the line and New York was out of the championship picture. Mantle’s chase for 500 home runs gave Yankees fans something to root for, and on May 14, the slugger reached the mark, becoming only the sixth member of the 500 home run club. It was the first time the milestone was reached at Yankee Stadium; Ruth was on the road for No. 500 as well as 600 and 700. Watch >

Chambliss walks it off, chaos ensues -- Oct. 14, 1976
Chris Chambliss’ walk-off homer in the winner-take-all Game 5 of the 1976 ALCS against the Royals put the Yankees in the World Series and set off a chaotic celebration, with fans swarming the field after the ball left the park. Chambliss was mobbed as he rounded the bases, and he ultimately retreated to the clubhouse without touching home plate. Chambliss later returned to the field to make the winning run official, but home plate was gone.

“I still had my uniform on, but I put a jacket on over it and took a couple of cops with me out to the field,” Chambliss said in 2016. “We made our way through the crowd, and people had no idea it was me. We went up to home plate, and when we looked down, there was nothing there. Someone had taken home plate. So I put my foot down where it used to be, and then we went back in.”

Reggie goes for 3 -- Oct. 18, 1977
Reggie Jackson cemented himself as Mr. October in Game 6 of the 1977 World Series against the Dodgers, crushing three homers -- on three consecutive pitches, no less -- in New York’s title-clinching victory. Amid thunderous chants of “Reg-gie! Reg-gie! Reg-gie!” Jackson burst out of the dugout for a curtain call after his third homer, a towering blast that landed in the black batter’s eye seats in dead center field.

Guidry strikes out 18 -- June 17, 1978
In the game credited with starting the tradition of fans standing and cheering on two-strike counts, Ron Guidry struck out a Yankees-record 18 batters while blanking the Angels. The performance was part of a dominant 1978 campaign in which Guidry went 25-3 with a 1.74 ERA and 248 K’s over 273 2/3 innings, winning the AL Cy Young Award. Watch >

Murcer, Yanks honor Munson -- Aug. 6, 1979
On Aug. 2, 1979, Yankees captain Thurman Munson died tragically in a plane crash at the age of 32. Hours after attending Munson’s funeral four days later in Canton, Ohio, the Yankees stormed back from a 4-0 deficit to score an emotional 5-4 win over the Orioles in the Bronx. Bobby Murcer, who gave one of the eulogies for Munson, drove in all five runs and delivered the walk-off hit in the bottom of the ninth.

The Pine Tar Incident -- July 24, 1983
After George Brett hit a go-ahead homer off Rich Gossage with two outs in the top of the ninth inning, manager Billy Martin complained that Brett’s bat had too much pine tar, and umpires agreed, ruling Brett out and giving the Yankees the win. The decision prompted one of baseball’s most famous outbursts as an irate Brett bolted from the dugout to argue and had to be forcibly restrained. The future Hall of Famer was ultimately vindicated after the Royals filed a protest and AL president Lee MacPhail ordered that the game be continued from the point of the home run. Watch >

"Hang on to the roof!" -- Oct. 4, 1995
The Yankees had gone 14 years -- and Don Mattingly’s entire career -- without a postseason appearance before returning to the playoffs in 1995, so fans were ready to explode when the first baseman stepped to the plate in the bottom of the sixth inning of ALDS Game 2 against the Mariners after Ruben Sierra tied the game with a solo homer. Mattingly followed with a home run of his own -- the only postseason dinger of his career -- sending the packed house into a frenzy as announcer Gary Thorne exclaimed, “Hang on to the roof!”

Jeter’s controversial homer -- Oct. 9, 1996
With the Yankees trailing 4-3 in the bottom of the eighth inning in Game 1 of the 1996 ALCS, Derek Jeter lifted a fly ball to deep right field that appeared to be bound for Baltimore right fielder Tony Tarasco’s glove. However, a young fan named Jeffrey Maier reached over the wall and deflected the ball into the stands, and umpire Rich Garcia ruled it a home run despite the interference. New York not only won the game in 11 innings en route to a 4-1 ALCS victory but also defeated the Braves in the World Series, and Maier’s name became forever etched in Yankees lore. Watch >

Girardi’s Game 6 triple -- Oct. 26, 1996
The Yankees were one win away from their first World Series championship since 1978, but they had to go through Greg Maddux to get it. Maddux had fired eight scoreless innings in the Braves’ Game 2 win, but New York jumped on the right-hander for three runs in the bottom of the second in Game 6, the first of which scored on Joe Girardi’s triple as the crowd erupted into a celebration that seemingly shook the foundation of Yankee Stadium.

27 up, 27 down for Wells -- May 17, 1998
David Wells achieved baseball immortality on a Sunday afternoon in 1998, setting down all 27 Twins he faced in the first perfect game by a Yankee since Don Larsen’s in 1956. Watch >

Tino slams Padres -- Oct. 17, 1998
Facing San Diego in Game 1 of the World Series, the Yankees trailed 5-2 heading into the bottom of the seventh inning but tied it up on Chuck Knoblauch’s three-run blast, then loaded the bases with two outs for Tino Martinez. After getting a favorable call on a ball that appeared to be strike three, Martinez crushed the next pitch to the upper deck in right field for a tiebreaking grand slam, putting New York on the path to a sweep that capped off the team’s historic 1998 campaign.

Cone’s perfecto -- July 18, 1999
On the same day the Yankees honored Yogi Berra and had Don Larsen throw out the ceremonial first pitch to the Hall of Fame catcher in a reenactment of the final out of Larsen’s 1956 perfecto, David Cone threw a perfect game of his own against the Expos. Watch >

Bush’s perfect pitch -- Oct. 30, 2001
In the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, President George W. Bush conveyed a message of strength to all Americans prior to Game 3 of the World Series between the Yankees and D-backs, stepping onto the mound and throwing a strike from the rubber to Yankees catcher Todd Greene.

“You can use all the words to describe it. It was hair-raising, different. Just an awesome healing moment for our country,” Greene said in 2021.

Jeter becomes Mr. November -- Oct. 31, 2001
The D-backs were one out away from taking a 3-1 World Series lead over the Yankees when Tino Martinez crushed a game-tying, two-run homer off Byung-Hyun Kim in the bottom of the ninth inning. An inning later, moments after the clock struck midnight to usher in the month of November, Jeter smacked the first pitch he saw from Kim for a walk-off homer that knotted up the series at two games apiece. And with that, Mr. November was born.

Déjà vu for D-backs -- Nov. 1, 2001
One day after Martinez hit a game-tying, two-run homer off Kim with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, history repeated itself when Scott Brosius did the same thing, sending World Series Game 5 to extras. Alfonso Soriano’s walk-off single in the bottom of the 12th gave New York a stunning 3-2 series lead as the Fall Classic shifted back to Arizona. Although the Yankees lost the next two games, their ninth-inning magic in Games 4 and 5 further added to the aura surrounding Yankee Stadium. Watch >

Boone sends Yankees to World Series -- Oct. 16, 2003
The Red Sox had the Yankees on the ropes in Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS, holding a 5-2 lead with five outs to go, but New York rallied to tie the game in the bottom of the eighth as manager Grady Little opted to stick with a tiring Pedro Martinez. Mariano Rivera held the Red Sox scoreless over the next three innings, setting up Aaron Boone’s series-ending home run off Tim Wakefield in the bottom of the 12th. Boone became the third player to hit a walk-off homer in a winner-take-all postseason game, joining Bill Mazeroski in the 1960 World Series and Chambliss in the 1976 ALCS.

Jeter flies into stands -- July 1, 2004
The Yankees and Red Sox played an absolute thriller on the first day of July in 2004, with New York coming from behind to win 5-4 in the bottom of the 13th inning. Jeter made one of the signature defensive plays of his career to end the top of the 12th, racing from shortstop to snag Trot Nixon’s popup down the left-field line before flying into the stands at full speed. Jeter re-emerged bloodied and bruised and had to get seven stitches in his chin, but he was able to play the next day. Watch >

Red Sox complete historic comeback -- Oct. 20, 2004
After dropping the first three games of the 2004 ALCS against the Yankees, the Red Sox used Dave Roberts’ Game 4 steal, two David Ortiz walk-offs and Curt Schilling’s “Bloody Sock Game” to tie up the series. Boston finished off its comeback on the road in Game 7 behind Ortiz’s two-run homer in the top of the first inning and Johnny Damon’s grand slam in the second, becoming the first team in AL/NL history to rally from a three-games-to-none deficit to win a postseason series. The Red Sox went on to sweep the Cardinals in the World Series, at last vanquishing the “Curse of the Bambino.”

Hamilton’s awe-inspiring Derby performance -- July 14, 2008
After his career was nearly derailed by an addiction to drugs and alcohol, Josh Hamilton finally reached the Majors in 2007 and began to show why he was once the No. 1 overall pick in the Draft. Hamilton earned his first All-Star selection in 2008 and accepted an invitation to participate in the Home Run Derby at Yankee Stadium, which served as the setting for that year’s All-Star festivities during the park’s final season. The left-handed slugger put on an unforgettable show, setting a single-round record with 28 homers in Round 1. His mark wasn’t topped until the “outs” format was eliminated in favor of a time limit starting with the 2015 Home Run Derby. Watch >