In 1998, the Yankees became displaced from the friendly confines of Yankee Stadium when a structural defect causes a portion of the venue’s upper deck to collapse. Games were postponed for several days until the City of New York deemed the stadium safe enough to use again. In the meantime, the Yankees played at Shea Stadium. Now, imagine what things would have been like if the Incredible Hulk had smashed through the place.
That’s exactly what happened in an issue of The Incredible Hulk from 1968, and the aftermath was not pretty. In issue #103, by Gary Friedrich and Marie Severin, the Hulk had just been to Asgard, and Odin, in his infinite wisdom, beamed him back to Earth in the middle of Times Square. If you know anything about the Hulk, you know that he hates absolutely everyone, demands to be left along, but also challenges everyone to a fight, because feelings are hard.
During the Hulk’s rampage of destruction, an alien menace by the name of Randau, the Space Parasite (yes, really) just happens to be turning into the six o’clock news on his spaceship at the time and sees his next powerful opponent. Confident he can defeat the Hulk, the Space Parasite travels to Earth to defeat him and absorb his energy. This is how Marvel Comics managed to keep the Hulk a “hero”—by allowing him to act like a dick, but throwing in an even worse dude for him to defeat.
The two duke it out, until Randau tosses the Hulk right into the confines of Yankee Stadium! The force of the impact destroys the right field upper deck in the old stadium, but instead of trying to minimize damage like a true superhero would, he makes things worse. The fight continues within the stands and the Hulk takes out a whole section just to hurt his opponent. Typical Hulk.
He then proceeds to bury the Space Parasite under what remains of the upper deck, but that proves to be ineffective. At this point, the Incredible Hulk gets knocked to the ground and is laying in a pile of wood and cement that used to be the Yankee Stadium stands.
Randau then attempts to drain the Hulk’s energy, but his device doesn’t seem to work (probably because it’s broken, idiot). At this point, our “hero” gains the upper hand and finally tosses the Space Parasite out of Yankee Stadium...and into an oncoming train!
Thankfully, New Yorkers know how to avoid the Hulk’s rampage and everyone evacuated in time. Randau goes flying straight through a 4 training heading north, and from there we end up with a train-juggling competition just as the Army shows up to be absolutely ineffective against a giant, invulnerable anger-monster.
The Hulk finally defeats his alien attacker and dumps his body into the Harlem River like the mobster we all know he is. Just when he has the opportunity to kill his opponent, the Hulk turns noble and refuses to hurt someone who is weaker than him. The logic is flawless.
He finally transforms back into Bruce Banner and is captured by the US Military, bringing his reign of terror to an end. However, the damages to Yankee Stadium are never mentioned again, not even in the next issue where JFK ends up getting partially blown up. It’s as if all the senseless destruction the Hulk causes just disappears once the page turns.
If Yankee Stadium was really demolished in 1968 by the Hulk, what would have happened? For starters, since The Incredible Hulk #103 came out in May of ‘68, the Yankees would have been without a home ballpark for quite some time. It’s likely they would have needed to relocate to nearby Shea Stadium for the remainder of the season, or even longer.
The team famously found shelter in Queens while the stadium was under construction through the 1974 and 1975 seasons, but this would have been different. That was a scheduled agreement, and this unprecedented destruction would have left all parties unprepared. Major League Baseball would have made it work, but imagine the Yankees being stuck at Shea while the Mets went on to have their famous “Miracle Mets” season in 1969.
As for the Yankees, 1968 was a bad year for them. They finished 83-79 under manager Ralph Houk, and the team finished fifth in the American League. It is remembered as the last year of Mickey Mantle’s career, as he would retire the following spring. In 1968, a 26-year-old Mel Stottlemyre was anchoring the team’s rotation. It was the first year Gene Michael spent in the organization, and it was future Hall of Fame manager Bobby Cox’s rookie season.
The 1968 season was not kind to the New York Yankees, but we should all be happy that the Hulk didn’t actually come running through Yankee Stadium. It would have gotten pretty ugly. Also, it’s a good thing the Hulk doesn’t actually exist, because he’d get really annoying real fast.