The triumphant homecoming of the New York Yankees yesterday with their second consecutive American League pennant created a mood of excitement that had an inimitable New York City cachet.
There were unruly surges of thousands of baseball fans at the stadium for bleacher seats in which hundreds were thrown to the sidewalks, with many trampled, while ticket scalpers nearby flourished. (This mini-bleacher riot took place on the afternoon of the Commodores riot at MSG later in the evening).
A pregnant woman was rescued from the throng by police and taken to the front of the line where she bought tickets. “I was getting squashed. I was afraid I’d have the baby in the line.”
The police were angry at times, saying the Yankees should have opened their box office during the night instead of waiting for 9am when thousands were already 8 abreast for about 5,000 bleacher seats for each of the first two games.
Officer Robert Johnson, who was in charge of the few dozen officers at the stadium said of the scene: “This is the worst I’ve ever seen.” (See Commodores riot for the same words by another cop.)
Between 3000 and 4000 fans were at Newark Airport to greet the arriving Yankee flight from Kansas City at 4 AM shouting “We’re Number 1!” A mini-riot ensued and fans broke through police barracades and “charged across the field, with some pushing up to the landing ramp.” (Thousands of fans surrounding the Yankees charter plane ?!?)
At the stadium fans watched the final game at Stadium taverns and then broke for the ticket line when Fred Patek grounded into a double play to end the game.
The first fan was on line by 11:30pm. Scalpers were cuttingdeals left and right. One guy missed out on tickets because he went to Newark airport to greet the team before heading to the Stadium.
ex NYT Schumach 10/11/77