This week The Post takes a fresh look at the “best of” New York sports history — areas that are just as worthy of debate, but that haven’t been argued incessantly. Madison Square Garden, The World’s Most Famous Arena, was the best sporting venue in New York sports history. Here are two that just missed the cut:
Original Yankee Stadium
The original Yankee Stadium was The House That Ruth Built.
It was the house where Lou Gehrig on July 4, 1939, gave his farewell speech for the ages: “Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.”
It was the house where Joe DiMaggio majestically patrolled center field and said, “I want to thank the good Lord for making me a Yankee.”
It was the house where mighty muscle-bound Mickey Mantle left Yankees fans in wide-eyed awe of his power, from both sides of the plate.
It was the house where Jackie Robinson stole home in Game 1 of the 1955 World Series and Yogi Berra always swore he was out.
It was the house where Yogi leapt into Don Larsen’s arms after Larsen struck out Dale Mitchell to end Game 5 of the 1956 World Series against the Dodgers for his perfect game.
It was the house where Mantle and Roger Maris gave baseball its unforgettable summer of 1961, the house where Maris broke Ruth’s record with his 61st home run off Tracy Stallard.
This was the most intimate ballpark of all, 32,000 fans crammed inside a romantic cathedral where they could almost reach out and touch Jackie and Pee Wee and Campy and Duke and their beloved Brooklyn Dodgers.
An 80-foot rotunda made of Italian marble greeted fans who made their way by trolley car to 55 Sullivan Place, and a walk inside led them to a fantasy world where a woman they knew as Howlin’ Hilda Chester sat in the bleachers with her booming voice and brass cowbell … where the Dodger Sym-Phony Band made beautiful music for the home team and wasn’t shy about rattling the opposing team or teasing umpires with “Three Blind Mice” … where the sweet sounds of organist Gladys Gooding filled the air; where under the scoreboard in right-center field was Abe Stark’s ingenuous advertising gimmick, “Hit Sign, Win Suit. Abe Stark. 1514 Pitkin Ave. Brooklyn’s Leading Clothier.”
“At Ebbets Field, you were aware,” iconic Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully said once. “Because every day you’d see the same people in the box seats.”
Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier there on April 15, 1947. A decade later, they would play their last game there before owner Walter O’Malley took Dem Bums to Los Angeles. And after all those years when Dodgers fans cried, “Wait ’til next year,” there was no next year in Brooklyn, and they simply cried. Ebbets Field was demolished in 1960.