The New York Yankees with newly acquired Babe Ruth from The Boston Red Sox, won their first pennants in 1921 and 1922, then lost both World Series matchups to the New York Giants. Both teams shared the Giants’ ballpark, the Polo Grounds, located in Upper Manhattan. After the Giants World Series Victories, the Giants evicted their Yankee tenants. Where would the Yankees go?
The Bronx, during the first decade of the 20th Century was largely rural, consisting mainly of farms and a few scattered houses. This would change with the Dual Contracts Agreement of March 19, 1913, between the Public Service Commission and the IRT and BRT (later BMT), calling for construction of new subways and the extension of existing subway lines.
On April 15, 1918, August Belmont’s IRT Dual Contract Jerome Avenue (now No 4) Line reached Woodlawn in North Bronx. On July 1, 1918, the 6th and 9th Avenue elevated lines were extended from 155th Street – 8th Avenue, (Polo Grounds), across the Harlem River to the Bronx, making stops at Sedgewick Avenue, and Anderson – Jerome Avenues, before connecting with the Jerome Avenue (now No. 4) Line, at River Avenue. The Jerome Avenue Line made a stop at 161st Street – River Avenue. This is where the Yankees selected their stadium site, directly across the Harlem River and within walking distance of the Polo Grounds. Yankee Stadium and the Polo Grounds stared at each other across the Harlem River like neigh- bors across a backyard fence.
Yankee Stadium, though not completely finished, opened in time to begin the 1923 baseball season. The Yankees led by Ruth won the so-called 1923 Subway World Series against their former landlords, the Giants. While the Giants and Brooklyn Dodgers moved west to California in 1957, The House That Ruth Built remains one hundred years later, like your friendly neighborhood candy store at the same corner, 161st Street – River Avenue, albeit across the street.
The section of 6th and 9th Avenue elevated track between Anderson – Jerome Avenues and River Avenues that is today the north side of the new Yankee Stadium. A stub end of the structure that curled west of what is today’s No. 4 Line still stands outside of the northeast corner of Yankee Stadium as an homage to August Belmont.