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A July Fourth Tradition Like No Other: The History of Suzyn Waldman's Iconic Vest

When anyone thinks of the Fourth of July, they think of fireworks, barbecues, and America’s pastime: baseball. With a sizzling MLB season thus far, many fans will focus on the traditions and unique ways their teams celebrate the holiday.

For New York Yankees fans, broadcaster Suzyn Waldman’s special vest is a tradition to look forward to each year. While may seem like it’s simply a fun tradition, there are much deeper roots connecting the vest to Waldman’s life. 

Courtesy of Suzyn Waldman (@suzynwaldman) on Instagram

In May 1996, Waldman began what would become her tradition when the Yankees were in San Francisco. While undergoing chemo treatments after her breast cancer diagnosis, she was looking for an outfit that would cheer her up. When shopping, she found this vest and wore it for the first time during the game that Fourth of July. 

The 1996 season was nothing short of spectacular for the Yankees. The team marked their first appearance in the World Series in 15 years by winning in six games against the Atlanta Braves. The Yankees would go on to win the title in three of the four following seasons, solidifying themselves as one of the strongest dynasties in baseball history. Waldman knew this vest was lucky and therefore began her yearly tradition. 

When Waldman became the primary commentator for WFAN Yankees baseball in 2005, the tradition became even sweeter. Former voice of the Yankees John Sterling was born on the Fourth of July in 1938, marking two celebrations in the radio booth each year. Both Sterling and Waldman usually color-coordinated with each other for the day, showing off their patriotic pride more than most announcers. 

Courtesy of Suzyn Waldman (@suzynwaldman) on Instagram

This tradition is so meaningful to fans and other broadcasters that Waldman had to hear the disappointment one year when she forgot the vest. In 2007, when the Yankees traveled to Minnesota to play the Twins, Waldman forgot her vest at home, prompting Yankee broadcaster and former player Paul O'Neill to express his dismay. After the Yankees lost that game, it seemed as though the vest was a good luck charm.

Waldman became so dedicated to the tradition after this mishap that she began to honor the holiday when the Yankees didn’t even have a game scheduled. In 2021 and 2022, the Yankees had an off day on July Fourth. While many fans believed Waldman would go without wearing the vest, she wore it the day before. Her dedication to a fun tradition makes the holiday all the more special to fans and her colleagues alike. 

Courtesy of Suzyn Waldman (@suzynwaldman) on Instagram

This year, the Fourth of July is going to be a bit different in the radio booth. While the Yankees have a game scheduled against the Cincinnati Reds, it will be the first time Waldman will sport her vest since Sterling retired.

Although the tradition is sure to continue, it will be different for both fans and the WFAN booth without Sterling, especially since they will not be together to celebrate his 86th birthday. While times might be different, fans can not imagine this holiday without Waldman and her eccentric vest. Only time will tell how long this tradition will continue!

Edited by Emma Habel

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