Wow, check out this story from the Daily News’ Oren Yaniv:
Heller was 13 years old when his brother took him, as a bar mitzvah gift, to the inaugural game in the House That Ruth Built on April 18, 1923.
Now Heller, who turns 99 today, plans to attend Opening Day at the new Yankee Stadium on Thursday – “if I’m still around,” he said playfully.
“I’m all excited,” the Bronxville (NY) man said in a recent interview. “Who knew that I’m gonna last this long?”
When his brother David scored tickets to the very first game at the then-new stadium, he took Heller along. They were part of the 74,217 fans who watched the Bronx Bombers beat the Boston Red Sox 4-1 on the strength of Babe Ruth’s famous three-run homer.
“I was mesmerized,” Heller recalled. “I can still remember most of the lineup.” He rattled off names: first baseman Wally Pipp, Aaron Ward at second base, Joe Dugan, who played third, and on and on.
“I don’t remember who won,” he said, “but you could buy a bag of peanuts for a dime.”
Maryl Moser, 49, first struck up a conversation with Heller at temple Shaarei Tikvah in Scarsdale, where they both volunteer, when he came in wearing a baseball cap that spelled “Yankees” in Hebrew letters.
“Just to hear him talk is amazing,” said Moser, a die-hard Yankee fan and season-ticket holder.
“I just thought, ‘If he made it that far, who deserves better to go?'” she explained.
Moser agreed to give up her Opening Day ticket so Heller can join her husband and two children in their upper-level seats near the right foul pole.
I love the lighter side of the news and this is quite the story and must be quite the experience. On a personal note, its somewhat sad that 74,000 fans were able to attend the last Opening Day in 1923, selling out the stadium and then some, and this time around, less then 50,000 fans will be in attendance since the stadium won’t even be sold out.