How “New York, New York” Became a Yankee Stadium Staple
George Steinbrenner started playing the Sinatra classic during the 1980 season
If and when baseball returns to Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, Frank Sinatra’s last great hit “New York, New York” will no doubt be blared over the loudspeakers after the final out of every game at the venue.
That’s a tradition that dates back to 1980 when George Steinbrenner, who bought the team in 1973 after having success as a Cleveland shipbuilder, fell in love with the song after hearing it blasted through the speakers at The House That Ruth Built.
“CBS [which owned the Yankees from 1964 until Steinbrenner took over in January 1973] didn’t leave a lot of memorable legacies,” Marty Appel, who served as a Yankee PR employee early in Steinbrenner’s tenure, told The New York Post. “One they did was install a state-of-the art public-address system in 1967, using their very best technicians to enhance the sound. That was still in use in 1980 and still gave you chills.”
Upon hearing the lyrics in this new amplified format, Steinbrenner came to the realization that the team he owned were the kings of the hill at the top of the heap.
“THAT’S US!” Steinbrenner exclaimed, according to Appel. “THAT’S THE YANKEES!!!”
Though the original version of the song by Liza Minnelli was also played, it didn’t have the same effect on the deceased Yankees owner as Sinatra’s take on the tune.
“But he was a Sinatra guy,” Appel said. “Because who isn’t?”
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