Vote now for the best Stadium moment
Fans can log on and cast their ballot for their favorite memory
NEW YORK -- Any one year at Yankee Stadium can be crammed into a book filled with lasting images. As the Yankees play their final games in what has been their home since 1923 and prepare to move across the street, baseball fans are looking back not at just one year, but 85 years worth of highlights and special events that took place at the legendary ballpark.
Anyone who has passed through the hallowed gates of Yankee Stadium has taken away specific moments with them. Fans can remember seeing game-winning hits or watching a standout pitching performance. For players, those moments can come from an individual achievement, a team accomplishment or even stepping on the field with one of their idols.
Reggie Jackson remembered the first time he came to the Cathedral in 1968, while playing for Oakland. As he stood in right field, he saw the No. 7 on Mickey Mantle's cleats, and as he recalled the story at the final Old Timer's Day at the Stadium, he had the same reaction he felt then -- he got chills.
Past and present members of the Yankees organization have been asked throughout the year about their favorite memories of the ballpark, and for most, it's been a struggle to come up with just one.
"It's pretty hard to," Derek Jeter said. "There have been so many things that have happened here. Perfect games, no-hitters, World Series, so many things. So it's tough to come up with just one or two.
"There are so many moments here. It seems to be the question of the year."
Fans will get their chance to answer in an online vote to select the most memorable moment in Yankee Stadium history. There are 62 choices on the ballot, beginning with Babe Ruth's three-run homer against the Red Sox during the Stadium's first Opening Day in 1923 and running through Alex Rodriguez's history-making 500th career home run in 2007.
When asked about special memories from The House That Ruth Built, most players remember events from their time on the field with the Yankees. For Jeter, the World Series championships in 1996 and 1999 mark his most memorable moments in the Stadium.
"You play to win. You get a chance to win, an opportunity to win at home in front of the fans here, that makes for very special memories."
When former Yankee Willie Randolph returned to Yankee Stadium on Old Timer's Day, he recalled Chris Chambliss' game-winning home run in the deciding Game 5 of the 1976 American League Championship Series and Reggie Jackson's three straight first-pitch home runs in Game 6 of the 1977 World Series. Both events made the cut for the selection ballot.
"I grew up here. I learned how to be a winner, a champion here," Randolph said. "So everything that I feel about the Yankees is somewhat in my blood, and I think any time you come back you remember some of the special moments, whether it was Reggie's three home runs or Chambliss' game-winner. ... Just so many great, great memories."
Events like Roger Maris' 61st home run to overtake Babe Ruth on the all-time single-season home run list are among the selections, but the choices on the ballot are not comprised of only moments that could be found in a usual top 10. Good or bad, each moment had to be memorable and stand out.
Among the other options voters will find will be Lou Gehrig's famous impromptu speech in 1939, announcing that he was being forced into early retirement because of his battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, saying, "Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the Earth," and "I may have had a tough break, but I have an awful lot to live for."
Also on the list is the day following Ruth's death, when the Bambino's body was laid at the main entrance of Yankee Stadium and more than 100,000 mourners turned out to pay their respects.
Some of the moments have nothing to do with baseball. Some of boxing's greatest matches, a comeback win from the Baltimore Colts to defeat the New York Giants, 23-17, in the 1958 NFL championship in what is often referred to as "The Greatest Game Ever Played," and Pope Paul IV's visit to celebrate mass are all on the ballot.
Narrowing the field to 62 candidates for the most memorable moment in Yankee Stadium was a task in itself, but when the voting is complete, one will rank above the others and stand out through 85 years of baseball history as the Cathedral's defining memory.
Samantha Newman is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.