Sunday, September 21, 2008

It Died A Virgin, But It Was Close

Lived and died with its virtue intact, but there was one day when someone almost, almost, violated its long-held purity.

That was the day when a guy hit a ball that went very nearly clear out of Yankee Stadium but, on its way to the parking lot, it hit the façade and dropped into the stands. Nobody else ever came that close and the stadium, now done as a major league ballpark, retires with no “out of the park” homeruns.

I’ve no idea if there is any other stadium of sufficient age to make that claim. Domed places don’t count, unless the dome is open; the new locations aren’t old enough to have been given a chance.

Nor do I know if anyone has deliberately tried to aim a ball at some spot where it might fly right out on to a street in the Bronx. There have been a lot of good hitters, at least in the American League (with a few Nationals during World Series games), but none good enough, or lucky enough, to get the bat under the ball hard enough to fly through the opening and head for freedom.

Mel Allen called a lot of games in his career, shouted a lot of “Going … going … gone!” but never had the opportunity to say, “Holy Cow! That one is out of here! That’s in the parking lot!” The first Stadium so named opened in 1923 and kept its action totally in the park for 85 years.


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