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Not all the epic incidences have involved baseball. The Colts and Giants staged their famous sudden-death NFL title game in 1958, 30 years after Knute Rockne told his underdog Notre Dame Fighting Irish to “win one for the Gipper” against Army. And in 1946, the same two unbeaten antagonists struggled to a mutually frustrating scoreless tie.

Thirty title fights have caused blood to flow and throngs to gather in the Bronx. The most remarkable occurred on June 22, 1938, when Joe Louis avenged an upset by Max Schmeling two years earlier by reducing the German to sauerkraut in just 124 seconds and simultaneously devastating Nazi claims of Aryan supremacy.

Not all the epic incidences involved sports either. Three popes - Paul VI, John Paul II and Benedict XVI (three months ago) - celebrated Mass between the white lines. Jehovah’s Witnesses in assembly packed the house. Billy Graham exhorted thousands to embrace the Lord. Dozens of concerts showcased entertainers of varied talent.

In the final analysis, however, Yankee Stadium has meant baseball - most significantly in fall, when the shadows lengthened about the combatants as afternoon World Series games unfolded. Of course, Lawrence Peter Berra, a left fielder in the waning days of his career, summed up this situation best: “It gets late early out there.”

Now it is getting late for Yankee Stadium itself, and that is to be regretted. Other places will come and go, but none will provide as many thrills and chills or command as much respect.