Opening day for the New York Yankees in 1952 looked a little different without the bat of Joe DiMaggio in the line-up. Joltin’ Joe retired after the 1951 season. The New York Yankee faithful were still excited for baseball after winning another World Series Championship just months earlier. Mickey Mantle replaced DiMaggio in center field and the rest is history.
Opening Day of baseball 2015 is days away and once again, the Yankee faithful are having déjà vu. The sun has set on the 20 year Hall of Fame career for Derek Jeter. Regardless of who is in the line-up, the Yankee fandom comes back year after year to cheer on their team wearing pinstripes.
One of those faithful and rabid Yankee fans is long time season ticket holder Bonnie Bernstein of New York. Bonnie’s father in-law first purchased season tickets in 1957, according to the New York Yankees. Bonnie believes the tickets were first purchased years earlier, but there is no way to prove it because the Yankees didn’t start recording purchases until 1957. Her father-in-law was in the clothing business and would bring customers to watch Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, Yogi Berra, and Whitey Ford grace the baseball diamond.
Nearly 60 years after Bonnie’s father-in-law first purchased Yankee season tickets; she carries on the tradition of attending as many Yankee games as she can. Her twin sons are just out of college and attended Jeter’s last home game in September. “You can’t replace those experiences,” Bonnie tells me.
The 1977 World Series Game 6 against the Dodgers is a memory all baseball fans are acutely aware of. Reggie Jackson hit three consecutive home runs off three different pitchers. “Security wasn’t as tight as it is today. I remember the stadium emptying onto the field and trampling Reggie. I also remember Paul Simon singing ‘Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio?’ after Joe’s death in 1999. The last game that Paul O’Neill played at Old Yankee Stadium, Derek Jeter’s 3000th hit and many more special moments happened watching the Yankees play baseball.”
The New York Yankees franchise has won 27 World Series titles since 1923. Bonnie Bernstein who is the longest season ticket holder of the franchise also feels as if she has won the World Series many times over. She will always treasure her cherished memories and experiences that nobody can ever replicate.