Posted 10 years ago
1923 Yankee Stadium Opening Day Program and 2 Tickets to the Game
First, The Story Behind the Find: Summer, 2010
A buddy of mine was cleaning out a house for a woman this past summer, when he came across an envelope. It was postmarked 1954, with the words, "Careful", "Yankee Score Card", written in pen above the mailing label. He figured he had just come across an old 1950s Yankee score card, a fairly common item, so he was interested to see what was inside.
What he did not see right away, hand written below the mailing address, was "1st Yankee Score Card 1923".
Now my friend is a Yankee fan, so just imagine his shock and astonishment when he pulled the program out of the envelope for the first time and read the cover ... What he actually said to himself out loud cannot be printed here. He told me for a few moments he started to sweat and his hands trembled. He stopped briefly to fathom what he was actually holding.
After composing himself, he looked over the contents of the envelope and found another amazing surprise at the bottom: a pair of ticket stubs from the very first game at Yankee Stadium.
Now my buddy is as honest as the day is long. He’s old school. He knew these items were not his property. There are too many people today who would have never mentioned this find to the rightful owner, but he did just that at the first opportunity - and he was rewarded for his honesty.
The woman actually knew the envelope and its contents were in her house, but had not seen them in many years. They belonged to her husband. After discussing the significance of the items with the home owner, she said that neither she nor her family had any interest in the program or tickets, and that my buddy could keep them – “… he would appreciate them.” His reaction to such grand generosity was such that he had to ask again if she was sure of her decision. The answer was, “Yes.”
There are two lessons we can take with us here, which even the most experienced person can learn from: when you find something look it over carefully. The second lesson is something you've either learned or not: Be honest in word and deed because it is the right thing to do. And yes, there are still people out there who believe virtue is an admirable quality.
Too unbelievable and sappy a story for you? Well, take a look at the program and tickets. They came out of an envelope which was found in the home of a woman who appreciates the honesty and goodness in people.
Rare 1923 Yankee Stadium Openieng Day Program & 2 Tickets to the Game
Fresh from an attic and brought into the light is this rare Opening Day Program from the very first game at The Yankee Stadium, Wednesday, April 18, 1923.
This is one of the most coveted publications in baseball collecting and Yankee history. The cover includes cameo images of team owners Col. Jacob Rupert and Col. T. L. Huston, with an orange background and green border. The title fonts and photo borders are highlighted in red and green. "Harry M. Stevens – Publisher" is printed at the bottom, as is the price of "15 cents".
This example shows expected wear on both covers, while the interior pages remain in far superior condition. The covers are detached at the spine, as is the first page at the top staple. The inside front cover has three tape marks from repairs done long ago, with one small piece of tape remaining on the left side at 9:00, approx. 1" x 1/2". While there are scattered edge tears on the covers, corner wear, folds and watermarks from age and use, the front cover still retains much of its original 1923 color, and remains an icon of baseball and Yankee history.
The interior pages have expected use and age wear, along with some water marks, folds, corner and edge wear. Most of the inside pages are in very good condition.
Announcing the new ballpark on page one is the panoramic black and white photograph of an empty Yankee Stadium. There is no mistaking the original façade spanning the stadium’s upper deck. Who could comprehend the millions of hearts soaring with Yankee pride in the decades to follow? This is part of the greatness of America.
This is baseball.
Pages 5 and 7 have brief biographies of Cols. Ruppert and Huston, Edward G. Barrow (Yankee business manager) and team manager, Miller Huggins. Additional pages showcase American League and Yankee history prior to 1923, with a treasure trove of classic baseball lore.
The program is unscored in the center, and the team roster is a Who’s Who of baseball history, with Ruth batting third.
The text on the next pages describes the new 1923 Yankee Stadium and how it was built, along with “Facts and Figures”. After more advertising, on page 13 we find an outstanding full page of cameo photographs, of the American League Champion Yankee Team. Page 14 includes a classic ad for Spaulding baseballs, “The Ball that made Base Ball”. Directions to The Stadium are up next, which to no Yankee fans surprise are entitled, “Where All Roads Lead”.
The program is filled with excellent period advertising: Camel, Chesterfield and Lucky Strike Cigarettes, Standard Oil of New York, Gem Razor Blades, Huyler’s Chocolate, White Rock Water, Muriel Cigars, Spaulding Bros. Baseballs, Sinclair Oil, Bull Durham Tobacco, and much more.
While reproductions of this Program, issued at the time of the 1976 Stadium reopening, are common, just a scant few have survived from April 18, 1923.
The front top of each ticket stub is imprinted with “American League Baseball Club of New York, Rain Check”, and “Game No. 1”, with the 1 encircled. Had you attended the game you would have paid the $1.10 admission (gladly). The attendee rules are printed under the admission price with the signature of Col. Ruppert. On the back of each ticket is an advertisement for Canada Dry Ginger Ale.
The Tickets are sequentially numbered, and may be the only two 1923 Yankee Stadium Opening Day Tickets which survived all these years as a pair, and in such good condition.
On opening day the Yankees topped the Boston Red Sox 4-1 on Babe Ruth's three-run homer in the third, the first ever hit at The Yankee Stadium.
"The rest," as it is said, "is history", but in this case it is not just history, it is legend.
For more details on the 1923 Yankee Stadium Opening Day Program, plus an account of the actual game, you can become a fan of our FaceBook page: Historic Antiques & Collectibles (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Historic-Antiques-Collectibles/161396963902975).