Fan set to see second Stadium opener

Fan set to see second Stadium opener

Harry Heller, a Bronxville, N.Y., resident who observed his 99th birthday on Sunday, plans to be at the April 16 opening of new Yankee Stadium.

He may be the only one among the crowd of 53,000 overcome by a sense of deja vu.

Heller, then 13, vividly remembers attending the April 18, 1923, opening of the old Yankee Stadium, as a bar mitzvah treat from his brother David.

"I was mesmerized," Heller related in a New York Daily News story. "I can still remember most of the lineup. I don't remember who won (it was the Yankees, 4-1, powered by Babe Ruth's three-run homer against Boston), but you could buy a bag of peanuts for a dime."

Now, he'll get to do it all over again, thanks to a fellow member of Temple Shaarei Tikvah in Scarsdale.

Maryl Moser, half Heller's age and a Yankees season-ticket holder, was impressed one day when he showed up wearing a hat that spelled out "Yankees" in Hebrew letters and began regaling bystanders with the stories of a lifelong baseball fan.

"Just to hear him talk is amazing," Moser said, then posed a hypothetical question. "I just thought, 'If he made it that far, who deserves better to go?'"

So she gave up her Opening Day ticket to Heller, who will join her husband and two kids in their upper-level seats.

"I'm all excited. Who knew that I'm gonna last this long?," bubbled Heller about his planned outing to the $1.5 billion ballpark. "If I'm still around."

A 1920 émigré from Poland with his family, Heller wound up in the meat-distribution business and devoted himself to his family (a late wife of 64 years and three sons) and to being an ardent fan of all New York sports.

"I had a good life," he told the Daily News, "God was good to me."

Tom Singer is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.