William Correro

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 30, 2008

‘The Stadium’ held its last game for Yankees

Those of you who know me personally know I’m a huge baseball fan too. Probably because it’s my son’s favorite sport to play but we all love the New York Yankees.

We are still so thankful we were able to get to a game at The Stadium last year now that it has held its last game. I swear I could see the likes of Babe Ruth and his ungainly self sort of trotting around the bases after swatting another out of the short porch in right field.

I just stared at the spot where Yogi jumped on pitcher Don Larsen after he had thrown a no-hitter in game five of the 1956 World Series against the Brooklyn Dodgers. I sort of saw the game since my mother watched it and I was born four days later.

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I actually got to meet Larsen when I was ten at a Memphis Chicks game. Anyway, I just sat there and tried to soak in as much as I possibly could. What a place.

A good side story is that the NFL – as in Football – actually came of age, as it were, in the NFL championship game played there December 28, 1958.

This was before the Super Bowl and the season had come down to the New York Football Giants and the Baltimore Colts with the legendary Johnny Unitas at quarterback. This game was everything anyone could ever hope for in a football game.

With the likes of Unitas and Gino Marchetti with Weeb Ewbank coaching the Colts against the Giants with Frank Gifford, Sam Huff, and Mississippi’s own Chunkin Charley Connerly, assistant coach Tom Landry and assistant coach Vince Lombardi there was no way history would not be made.

The game was back and forth and it looked like the Giants had it in the bag when Connerly connected on a pass to Frank Gifford. Pat Summerall made the extra point kick. But Johnny U. marched the Colts back down the field and they scored on a field goal to tie the game. Another bit of history was made when the officials instructed the teams to take a short break before the overtime. This was the first time “sudden death” overtime had been used in a NFL Championship Game. And the Colts won with a field goal to be the 1958 NFL Champions. It was after this huge game when the marketing potential of the NFL was first realized. The elite of 5th Avenue figured out these guys might be good at advertising and that’s where it all started.

The whole thing sounds like roll call for the NFL Hall of Fame. I always love to see the nicknames these guys had: Gino “The Giant” Marchetti, Alan “The Horse” Ameche, Fred “Fuzzy” Thurston, L.G. “Long Gone” Dupre and on it went. If you didn’t have a good nick you were missing something.

But now The Stadium will become a park and the $1 Billion plus new The Stadium one is just next door waiting to start contributing to baseball history. I can’t wait for the next time we get to go see Captain Jeter making the plays with Mariano “Mo” Rivera to close one out.