The House That Ruth (and Angelo) Built
One point of pride in Angelo’s career was his work on Yankee Stadium’s construction crew as a bricklayer. Yankee Stadium replaced the Polo Grounds as the new home of the New York Yankees in April 1923. The team’s owner, Jacob Ruppert, paid for all of the construction costs, which totaled $2.4 million. It was the first of its kind to be built with three tiers, and it had an original seating capacity of 58,000. The field lasted into the 1970s before major renovations became necessary.
The construction crew broke ground on 5 May 1922, and the team played its opening day of the 1923 season in the new stadium on April 18. A reporter for The Brooklyn Daily Eagle summed up the scene at the ballpark: “The day was bitter cold, which made the size of the crowd all the more remarkable, and rain threatened constantly, but did not break up the game. That was one lucky break. The second lucky break was that Babe Ruth, the $50,000 per year great slugger … made a home run that won the first game in Yankee Stadium.”
Ruth’s importance to the team at that time was reflected in Yankee Stadium’s nickname: “The House that Ruth Built.” The Yankees won the 1923 World Series over the crosstown rival, The New York Giants, during their first season at Yankee Stadium. During Babe Ruth’s tenure with the Yankees, the stadium often would be packed over capacity with up to 80,000 spectators.