The New York Yankees Actually Hold The MLB Record For The Largest Attendance In A Regular Season Game.
Records are made to be broken…that is if anyone knows about them.
If you look up the largest attendance during the regular season to see a major league baseball game, the Sporting News Baseball Record Book and many online sources claim that the paid attendance on September 12, 1954 of 84,587 at Cleveland’s Municipal Stadium is the largest ever. The Yankees were visiting the Indians that day for a doubleheader and were battling for a pennant that Cleveland would eventually go on to win. The Yankees finished in second place with 103 wins (no wild card in 1954)!
But is the 1954 Indians-Yankees game the regular season record?
Probably no one, with the possible exception of the members of SABR (the Society for American Baseball Research) really cares, but the official record books are wrong.
On September 9, 1928 The New York Yankees and Philadelphia Athletics were in a tight battle for first place, a half game separating the two teams. The newspapers that day estimated the Yankees would draw a record crowd for the Sunday doubleheader, and boy were they right.
The Yankees packed in 85,265 people into Yankee Stadium and an estimated 100,000 people were turned away.
A crowd of 50,000 lingered outside the stadium for the entire day, vicariously taking in the sounds of the cheering throng. There were no portable radios and even if there were, the game was not broadcast that day. The World Series would be broadcast on radio that year, but not regular season games. So either you were there or you missed the game.
For a $2.00 box seat scalpers were asking from $20.00 – $25.00.
As Keith Olbermann thinks in his MLB baseball blog, this mystery film footage that the New York Times wrote about a couple of years ago showing Babe Ruth, was probably shot that very day!
The Yankees won the doubleheader 5-0 and 7-3 and regained first place. They would go on to win their sixth pennant since 1921 and defeat the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series to win their third championship.
Here is the original article about the attendance from the September 10, 1928 New York Times.
By the way, the record for a World Series game is the Los Angeles Dodgers vs. the Chicago White Sox in Game 5 of the World Series on October 7 1959, which drew, 92,706. The Dodgers were playing that season in The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, a monolithic stadium, which at one time could seat more than 100,000 people.
Bill Veeck, in “Veeck as in Wreck”, said that the 1948 world series had well over 100K people – they lost control of some gates and there was standing room only in cavernous Cleveland Municipal Stadium.