History Column

Your Engineering Heritage: Requiescat in Pace, Yankee Stadium

By Michael N. Geselowitz

On Sunday, 21 September 2008, Yankee Stadium hosted its last baseball game. The Stadium — considered by some to be the greatest and most storied sports arena in the world — is being torn down to make way for a new Yankees venue. The figures from the sporting world who played there — great players of American baseball, of course, but also Pele of soccer, Muhammad Ali of boxing, Vince Lombardi from American football — were joined over the years by figures from culture and politics, such as John Philip Sousa, Nelson Mandela, and Pope John Paul II.

Engineers, it turns out, can be proud of Yankee Stadium, too — and not just the civil and architectural engineers who worked on its construction. Electrical engineers can also take pride of place.

It begins, of course, with the Edison concrete used to construct the Stadium in 1923. Edison was an inventor whose range defies categorization, but the IEEE claims him as a founder and one of our own. The concrete industry was an area where he also innovated and enjoyed commercial success. But there are direct electrical landmarks at Yankee Stadium as well. The original electronic scoreboard was the first of its kind. The later addition of a replay video board was also a first. (The application of the police radar gun to baseball cannot be credited to the Yankees — that honor goes to Earl Weaver of the Baltimore Orioles.)

So, as you bid on eBay for memorabilia from Yankee Stadium, remember that it was temple not just of sports and music and politics, but of innovation as well.

Guest Contributor

IEEE-USA is an organizational unit of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. (IEEE), created in 1973 to support the career and public policy interests of IEEE’s U.S. members. IEEE-USA is primarily supported by an annual assessment paid by U.S. IEEE Members.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Back to top button