Baseball BeatSeptember 21, 2008
The End is Near
By Rich Lederer

And now, the end is near,
And so I face the final curtain.
My friends, I'll say it clear;
I'll state my case of which I'm certain.

I've lived a life that's full -
I've travelled each and every highway.
And more, much more than this,
I did it my way.

If ballparks could talk, I have no doubt that Yankee Stadium would be singing the above lyrics today. The words from My Way seem even more appropriate than those from New York, New York even though the sounds from the latter are sure to be blaring over the loudspeakers tonight.

The end is indeed near. After 85 years, Yankee Stadium hosts its final game tonight when the Bronx Bombers face the Baltimore Orioles on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball (8 p.m. ET). has a photo gallery of 28 special memories, including a view of the stadium from the outside, the famous shot of Lou Gehrig pausing and wiping a tear from his eye during his farewell speech, Brooklyn Dodgers left fielder Sandy Amoros making that one-handed grab down the left field line in the 1955 World Series, Jackie Robinson's steal of home in that same World Series, Yogi Berra leaping into Don Larsen's arms after the latter's perfect game in the 1956 World Series, Roger Maris' 61st home run, Reggie Jackson's three-HR game in the 1977 World Series, George Brett going ballistic in the Pine Tar Game in 1983, Jeffrey Maier's catch in 1996, David Wells' and David Cone's perfect games, Aaron Boone's walk-off home run in the 11th inning of Game Seven of the 2003 ALCS, Derek Jeter's catch in 2004, Alex Rodriguez's 500th home run in 2007, Josh Hamilton during the Home Run Derby prior to the 2008 All-Star Game, and many, many more non-baseball shots.

Knowing this was the last opportunity to witness a game at Yankee Stadium, my son Joe and I traveled to New York in May for what was the Baseball Trip of a Lifetime. We went to Yankee Stadium, as well as Fenway Park, Shea Stadium, and the Hall of Fame. We stood next to Cliff Lee on the subway all the way from Central Station to Yankee Stadium, got there early and hung out with the fans, toured Monument Park, took plenty of photos, and watched Lee toss seven shutout innings as the Cleveland Indians beat the not-so Bronx Bombers 3-0.

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Roger Maris and Joe standing next to the Babe. Only in Monument Park at Yankee Stadium.

Farewell Yankee Stadium and the memories it provided all of us. You did it your way.

* * *

What was your greatest memory of Yankee Stadium?


i think it has to be game 2 of the 2004 alcs, aka the "who's your daddy" game. even though they lost the series, i am not sure i've been at a more electric game at the stadium, and i've been to many in the postseason runs since the mid-90s.

My greatest memory was wearing an Angels cap and NOT being booed, in fact, being treated politely and respectfully by knowledgeable, civil baseball fans - and this was in the semi-legendary bleacher section 239.

Paying $900 to get 2 great seats to game 1 of the 1996 WS. First Yankee WS game in 15 years. I took my little brother who was about 11 at the time, needless to say he was pretty excited. MLB should be thankful I made them one fan for life with that experience.

On July 4, 1983, my son and I attended the Boston game in which Righetti pitched his no-hitter. Of course, the game itself was a thrill, but two other things stand out.

1. We were there with 2 other people, and right after the bottom of the 8th, one of them announced that Righetti would get the no-hitter and then LEFT THE STADIUM!!!!

2. 4 years later in his college application the essay asked to describe an important event in one's life. My son described the no-hitter, and to this day I am convinced it stood out among the thousands of essays about confirmations, psychological breakthroughs and other assorted cliches by its unassuming modesty and directness.