Please sit back and take the time to enjoy all of this original footage of the 1934 Home Opener at Yankee Stadium. This is priceless.
A few notes (some gathered from research on Baseball-Reference.com and retrosheet.org):
Note that in 1934, the Yankees did not have the interlocking NY on the front of their uniform. While the interlocking NY was present with pinstripes in some early years of the Highlanders/Yankees (1912 and 1915-16), it did not become a permanent part of the uniform until 1936. Babe Ruth never wore a Yankees uniform with the interlocking NY on the chest.
Red Rolfe, who gained Yankees fame as a third baseman, was announced as a shortstop in the film. He actually played shortstop for much of the 1934 season. He moved to third base in September of that year.
Babe Ruth was nearing the end of his career. The 1934 was his last as a Yankee and his last full Major League season. It took a long time for the cameramen to get a good photo of Ruth and Jimmy Foxx.
When you see the managers, Connie Mack and Joe McCarthy, take note of the following - Connie Mack was beginning his 37th year as a manager. He would manage for 16 (!) more seasons after this. This was Joe McCarthy’s fourth season as the Yankees manager. He would manage the Yankees through the 1946 season.
As the band marches in, note the two starting pitchers (Red Ruffing and Johnny Marcum) warming up on either side of home plate. How cool is that? That is a practice baseball should bring back! Seeing the two competing hurlers right along side each other is fascinating.
That’s New York City Mayor Fiorello H. La Guardia throwing out the first ball(s).
Of note - correct me if I am wrong, but a 7:13, there is a person on the field in a Yankees uniform wearing uniform #0.
The first batter shown is #5 Frank Crosetti, the Yankees’ shortstop. He would hit a solo home run in the bottom of the 6th to give the Yankees the 1-0 victory.
The batter grounding out after Crosetti walks is future Hall-of-Famer Earle Combs.
Just like today, as Babe Ruth hit a long flyout, there is a pronounced exciting collective breath from the crowd as the ball traveled to the outfield. It was clear they were hoping to see a Ruthian blast.
Lou Gehrig then, literally, walked. He walked to first after earning the base on balls. Ben Chapman then grounded out.
The Yankees’ catcher, #8, is future Hall-of-Famer Bill Dickey.
#6 on the Philadelphia A’s is shortstop Eric McNair. He played 14 years in the big leagues (with the A’s, Red Sox, Tigers, and White Sox).
#7 on the A’s was “Indian” Bob Johnson another longtime Major Leaguer. He played 13 seasons for the A’s, Senators, and Red Sox. He was an 8-time All-Star.
Pinky Higgins then singled. He played fourteen seasons in the Bigs, playing for the A’s, Tigers, and Red Sox.
The footage doesn’t show it (it seems like a run scored), but that batter (Frankie Hayes) grounds into a double play to end the inning.
#8 on the Yankees, Bill Dickey, flew out on that at bat.
#10 of the Yankees, Don Heffner, the second baseman introduced before the game, grounded out.
Missing from that inning’s batting footage was Tony Lazzeri who actually batted before Bill Dickey. Lazzeri played third base that day. You can see him fielding a sacrifice bunt at third on the next play.
The player that Red Ruffing struck out was future 5-time All-Star Doc Cramer.
The Yankees batter, #15, is their pitcher, Red Ruffing (also a future Hall-of-Famer). Ruffing, as can be seen, knew how to handle the bat. He actually hit .269 for his career. He actually hit over .300 eight different times! Ruffing also hit 36 home runs in his career.
#1 for the Yankees was Earle Combs.
#3 for the A’s was the great Jimmie Foxx (a Hall-of-Famer).
At 12:19, Babe Ruth (#3) comes up…but he grounds out.
Lou Gehrig (#4) follows and singles (presumably in the left-center gap). There was no walking for Gehrig here, he ran hard from the start, tried to stretch the hit into a double and was thrown out at second by Bob Johnson, the A’s left fielder.
That was Ben Chapman with the bunt single.
After Jimmie Foxx grounds out, at about 13:50, you see a Yankee, #5, scoring and the crowd cheering. That is the tail end of Frank Crosetti’s home run (the only scoring in the game).
Babe Ruth, after swinging mightily and missing a few times, singles to right field.
#28 on the A’s is their catcher, Frankie Hayes who also enjoyed a lengthy career. He played fourteen seasons in the Major Leagues. He was a six-time All-Star.
Getting the single for the A’s, #12, was their pitcher Johnny Marcum. He was also a good hitter. In 1935, the next season, he would hit .311.
Amazingly, that player caught stealing is…the A’s pitcher Johnny Marcum! This footage is of his ONLY career base stealing attempt. This was in the top of the 8th inning.
The footage then goes back in time to a different camera angle from right field. You see Babe Ruth ground out to second base. This was back in the fourth inning.
Lou Gehrig then singles (the same single noted earlier) and is caught (again) trying to stretch it to a double.
The next at bat is Babe Ruth again and his single in the sixth inning followed by Gehrig’s flyout.
The close-up is of pitcher Red Ruffing.
After a few pitches to a Yankees batter, we see the bottom of the 9th. Doc Cramer (#8) flies out. Right fielder Lou Finney (#23) then singles. Jimmy Foxx then walks. Eric McNair pops out behind second base. Finally Bob Johnson strikes out looking to end the game.
Notice how the fans leave the stadium via the field!
Both starting pitchers went the distance. Ruffing won raising his record to 2-0. Marcum fell to 0-2.