Those of us lucky — or rich — enough to attend the final game at Yankee Stadium last September all witnessed a spectacle of photography. There were over 56,000 fans at the game, and as the flashbulbs went off at every pitch, it seemed as though there were just as many cameras.
Most of just didn’t do much with the pictures. I tossed mine up on flickr and wrote a post about it. That was the extent of my sharing. The pictures remain digitized for posterity, and the post sits buried deep in the RAB archives.
Jeff Fox, though, had other ideas. Fox had been attending games at Yankee Stadium since May 26, 1962 when he was 11 years of age. He’s seen numerous World Series, a complete stadium renovation, some time at Shea and countless games in between. After attending the the Swan Song for a Cathedral — and snapping just as many pictures as everyone else, if not more — Fox put his photos together in a self-published book, and it’s a beauty.
Entitled Yankee Stadium: The Final Game, the book lives up to its subtitle. It truly is a fan saying good bye. The book, a nice addition to any Yankee fan’s coffee table, starts out with a personal essay from Fox. “Watching the game wouldn’t be enough,” Fox writes in his proclamation of love for the House that Ruth Built and its surroundings. “I needed to soak up the neighborhood in all its glory and filth, observing it as it would never quite be again.”
What follows then is the neighborhood and stadium through the eyes of a die-hard fan. There’s Harlan Chamberlain signing autographs outside the park. There are some early tailgaters hankered down at Stan’s Sports Bar. Inside the stadium, people dominate the picture. The ballpark looks pristine on a sunny September Sunday in New York, close to the start of autumn, and Yankee fans are all over the place.
Fox takes his laps — around the Stadium, around Monument Park, around Upper Deck — and gets some stellar shots for it. The most poignant are those of the fans. My favorite is one of the far edge of Section 35, dangling over nothing. One fan in his Yankee hat and jersey is standing there simply surveying the scene for one last time.
As the game draws near, the Yankee Legends fill the pages of photos, but the fans steal the show. Mariano Rivera jogs in; the game ends; and the fans begin, after a forty-minute Irish wake, to filter out. The book ends, as my photoset does, with a shot of fans crossing the stadium threshold one final time. It is a fitting conclusion to a Yankee Stadium saga.
Jeff Fox’s Yankee Stadium: The Final Game is available for sale on Amazon and at its own website. With views from the stands and not the exclusivity of the pressbox, it is a great way to appreciate and see images from the final game at Yankee Stadium.