NEW YORK (AP) - Yankee Stadium is going out with an All-Star salute.
The beloved old ballpark will host the 79th major league All-Star game on July 15, 2008, the final season before the New York Yankees move into a new stadium being built across the street in the Bronx.
Baseball commissioner Bud Selig and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg were on hand Wednesday at City Hall for the announcement, which had been expected for months.
"When you think of Yankee Stadium it is the most, in my opinion, famous cathedral in baseball - and I think the most famous stadium in the world," Selig said. "So we really believe that this is the way we can honor a cathedral that has meant so much to this sport for so long."
It will be the fourth All-Star game at Yankee Stadium, which opened in 1923 and underwent an extensive renovation in the mid-1970s. The most recent summer showcase in The House That Ruth Built was in 1977, when the National League won 7-5 for the sixth of 11 consecutive victories over the AL.
Now, the American League has nine wins and a tie in the past 10 All-Star games going into this year's contest July 10 in San Francisco. The 2009 game will be played in St. Louis.
"We're excited," Yankees general partner Steve Swindal said. "It just seemed appropriate."
Yankees owner George Steinbrenner did not attend the news conference. Swindal said The Boss had a scheduling conflict but was feeling well in Tampa, Fla., and was working hard to get ready for spring training.
Steinbrenner offered his comments in a news release from the commissioner's office.
"It is always a great honor for a team's home stadium to serve as host for the All-Star game, and the Yankees are proud and delighted to have been selected for the honor in 2008," he said. "It will be one of many historic moments in the 2008 season as we say goodbye to a great facility and look forward to our new ballpark, where the heritage of the Yankees and Major League Baseball will be extended for decades to come."
Selig said one of the primary reasons Yankee Stadium was selected was to honor Steinbrenner for the owner's many years in baseball. Bloomberg also had kind words for The Boss.
"I was impressed and touched by both of their comments about me," Steinbrenner said through spokesman Howard Rubenstein.
Yankee Stadium also was the site of All-Star games in 1939 and 1960. All three seasons in which the game has been played there, the Yankees have reached the World Series.
New York shortstop Derek Jeter, a seven-time All-Star, said he would be honored to play in an All-Star game in his home ballpark.
"I'm sure it would be special for anyone, whether you're a Yankee or not. It would be more special for a Yankee," Jeter said at the team's complex in Tampa.
Bloomberg said the city estimates that the 2008 All-Star game and its related events will generate about $150 million for New York - in addition to providing valuable exposure.
"Great news for the city. Finally my big chance to enter the Home Run Derby," Bloomberg said, drawing laughs.
"Nobody stages big events like the Big Apple," he added. "We'll put on the best All-Star game in baseball history."
It will be the eighth All-Star game in New York. The Polo Grounds hosted the event in 1934 and 1942, Ebbets Field in 1949 and Shea Stadium in 1964. Selig said the crosstown Mets are "on the radar screen" to be awarded the Midsummer Classic once they get their new ballpark, which is slated to open in 2009.
"I cannot tell you the intensity of competition for All-Star games," Selig said. "Ten years ago that wasn't true. Now I have a long list."