Monument Park is an open-air museum located in Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, New York City, containing a collection of monuments, plaques, and retired numbers honoring distinguished members of the New York Yankees. When Red Ruffing's plaque was dedicated in 2004, his son called it "the second-greatest honor you can have in baseball, in my opinion" trailing only induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
The history of the original Monument Park can be traced to the old Yankee Stadium in 1932, when the team posthumously dedicated an on-field monument to manager Miller Huggins in center field. Additional team members were honored with monuments and plaques in the area over the years. During the stadium's renovation in the mid-1970s, the center field fence was moved in 44 feet, enclosing prior monuments, plaques, and a flag pole beyond the field of play. Over time, additional plaques were added to the area and "Monument Park" became formalized; in 1985, the park was opened for public access. When the Yankees moved to their new ballpark in 2009, a replica Monument Park was built beyond the center-field fences and the contents of the old one transported over.
Thirty-seven members of the Yankee organization have been honored in Monument Park, while 22 have had their uniform numbers retired. Plaques in Monument Park are a great honor for players so distinguished. The monuments mounted posthumously on five large red granite blocks are the highest honor of all. Only six Yankees have been so recognized: manager Miller Huggins, players Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, and Joe DiMaggio, and owner George Steinbrenner.
The original Yankee Stadium was built in 1923. As with many other so-called Jewel Box ballparks of the era the flag pole was placed in play. With a generous center field dimension of 500 feet (150 m) to straightaway center field, there was plenty of room for it without materially interfering in play. In 1929, Yankees manager Miller Huggins died suddenly, and in his honor the team erected a free-standing monument in front of the flag pole consisting of a bronze plaque mounted on an upright block of red granite resembling a headstone. This, in turn, led many Yankee fans over the years, particularly children, to believe that the players honored were also buried there upon their death.
The Huggins monument was later joined by similar memorials to Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth, which were erected upon their deaths. Over time, a number of plaques were mounted behind them on the outfield wall. Placing monuments in the field of play was not so unusual at the time, as there had been in-play stones and plaques at the Polo Grounds and Forbes Field. In 1969, Mickey Mantle was given a plaque by Joe DiMaggio to hang on the center field wall, who in turn gave Joe DiMaggio a plaque of his own which, in Mickey's words, had to be hung a little bit higher than his.
From 1936 through 1973, the distance from home plate to the center field fence was 461 feet (141 m). Despite the distance, a batted ball still sometimes made it back there. In the 1992 book The Gospel According to Casey, by Ira Berkow and Jim Kaplan, it is reported that on one occasion a Yankees outfielder had let the ball get by him and was fumbling for it among the monuments. Manager Casey Stengel hollered to the field, "Ruth, Gehrig, Huggins, somebody get that ball back to the infield!"
When Yankee Stadium was remodeled from 1974–1975, the center field fence was moved in to 417 feet (127 m) from its previous 457 feet (139 m); a subsequent reduction brought the fence in again to 410 feet (120 m) in 1985, but was reduced 2 feet in 1988. This enclosed the area, formerly in play, containing the flag pole and monuments. As this fenced in area between the two bullpens gathered additional plaques on the original wall it began to be referred to as "Monument Park".
With the formalization of the area as an official Monument Park, the Mantle and DiMaggio plaques were removed from the wall upon their deaths and mounted on red granite blocks matching the original three of Huggins, Gehrig, and Ruth.
Monument Park was inaccessible to fans until 1985. After the center field fence was moved in, the Yankees enabled fans to visit Monument Park prior to most games at Yankee Stadium. Monument Park was also part of the public tour of the venue.
When the Yankees moved to their new ballpark, the Yankees established a new Monument Park in the new stadium. An area was built behind the fence in straightaway center field, below the Mohegan Sun Sports Bar that serves as the batter's eye. Built of pearl blue granite from Finland, this new monument park features the five Yankee monuments in a central area around a black marble Yankees logo. This is flanked by two short stone walls which hold the retired numbers. The plaques are mounted on the back wall and the September 11 monument is on one end of the park.
In contrast to the old stadium, the new Monument Park is not readily visible from the field, and its relatively drab appearance and inconspicuous placement have led some to derisively nickname it "Monument Cave". Spectators can visit Monument Park prior to the beginning of each game. It closes 45 minutes before first pitch.
The following players and other Yankees personnel are honored with monuments or plaques in Monument Park. Monuments are considered a greater honor than plaques, and are only awarded posthumously. Often, the uniform number of the player being honored is retired in the same ceremony. Such events historically often took place either at home openers or on Old-Timers' Day, but have lately been scheduled on separate weekend home games. Figures are listed in the order in which their plaques were dedicated:
|Honoree||Name of the honoree|
|Position(s)||Fielding position(s) or role in the organization|
|Yankee career||Years with the Yankee organization|
|Number retired (x)||Date number retired (and number), if applicable|
|Plaque||Date plaque dedicated, if applicable|
|Monument||Date monument dedicated, if applicable|
|Elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame|
|Recipient of the Hall of Fame's Ford C. Frick Award|
|Honoree||Position(s)||Yankee career||Number retired||Plaque||Monument||Ref|
|Miller Huggins||Manager||1918–1929||—||May 30, 1932||May 30, 1932|||
|Lou Gehrig||First baseman||1923–1939||July 4, 1939 (#4)||July 6, 1941||July 6, 1941|||
|Jacob Ruppert||Owner||1915–1939||—||April 19, 1940||—|||
|Babe Ruth||Outfielder||1920–1934||June 13, 1948 (#3)||April 19, 1949||April 19, 1949|||
|Ed Barrow||General manager||1921–1946||—||April 15, 1954||—|||
|Joe DiMaggio||Outfielder||1936–1951||April 18, 1952 (#5)||June 8, 1969||April 25, 1999|||
|Mickey Mantle||Outfielder||1951–1968||June 8, 1969 (#7)||June 8, 1969||August 25, 1996|||
|Joe McCarthy||Manager||1931–1946||—||April 29, 1976||—|||
|Casey Stengel||Manager||1949–1960||August 8, 1970 (#37)||July 30, 1976||—|||
|Thurman Munson||Catcher||1969–1979||August 2, 1979 (#15)||September 20, 1980||—|||
|Elston Howard||Catcher / Outfielder||1955–1967||July 21, 1984 (#32)||July 21, 1984||—|||
|Roger Maris||Outfielder||1960–1966||July 21, 1984 (#9)||July 21, 1984||—|||
|Phil Rizzuto||Shortstop / Broadcaster||1941–1956, 1957–96||August 4, 1985 (#10)||August 4, 1985||—|||
|Billy Martin||Second baseman / Manager||1950–1957, 1975–1978,
1979, 1983, 1985, 1988
|August 10, 1986 (#1)||August 10, 1986||—|||
|Lefty Gomez||Pitcher||1930–1942||—||August 1, 1987||—|||
|Whitey Ford||Pitcher||1950–1967||August 3, 1974 (#16)||August 1, 1987||—|||
|Bill Dickey||Catcher||1928–1946||July 22, 1972 (#8)||August 21, 1988||—|||
|Yogi Berra||Catcher / Outfielder||1946–1963||July 22, 1972 (#8)||August 21, 1988||—|||
|Allie Reynolds||Pitcher||1947–1954||—||August 27, 1989||—|||
|Don Mattingly||First baseman||1982–1995||August 31, 1997 (#23)||August 31, 1997||—|||
|Mel Allen||Broadcaster||1939–1964, 1976–1989||—||July 25, 1998||—|||
|Bob Sheppard||Public address announcer||1951–2007||—||May 7, 2000||—|||
|Reggie Jackson||Outfielder||1977–1981||August 14, 1993 (#44)||July 6, 2002||—|||
|Ron Guidry||Pitcher||1975–1988||August 23, 2003 (#49)||August 23, 2003||—|||
|Red Ruffing||Pitcher||1930–1946||—||July 10, 2004||—|||
|Jackie Robinson||Second baseman||—||April 15, 1997 (#42)||April 17, 2007[a]||—|||
|George Steinbrenner||Owner||1973–2010||—||September 20, 2010||September 20, 2010|||
|Mariano Rivera||Pitcher||1995–2013||September 22, 2013 (#42)||August 14, 2016||—|||
|Tino Martinez||First baseman||1996–2001, 2005||—||June 21, 2014||—|||
|Goose Gossage||Pitcher||1978–1983, 1989||—||June 22, 2014||—|||
|Paul O'Neill||Outfielder||1993–2001||—||August 9, 2014||—|||
|Joe Torre||Manager||1996–2007||August 23, 2014 (#6)||August 23, 2014||—|||
|Bernie Williams||Outfielder||1991–2006||May 24, 2015 (#51)||May 24, 2015||—|||
|Willie Randolph||Second baseman / Coach||1975–1988, 1994–2004||—||June 20, 2015||—|||
|Mel Stottlemyre||Pitcher / Coach||1964–1974, 1996–2005||—||June 20, 2015||—|||
|Jorge Posada||Catcher||1995–2011||August 22, 2015 (#20)||August 22, 2015||—|||
|Andy Pettitte||Pitcher||1995–2003, 2007–2010, 2012–2013||August 23, 2015 (#46)||August 23, 2015||—|||
|Derek Jeter||Shortstop||1995–2014||May 14, 2017 (#2)||May 14, 2017||—|||
Although the Yankees adopted uniform numbers in 1929, McCarthy never wore a number with the Yankees.
Ruppert's plaque was placed on the outfield wall, to the right of the flagpole. The Lou Gehrig monument was placed to the left of the Huggins monument. Gehrig was the first Major League Baseball player to have his uniform number retired. The Babe Ruth monument was placed to the right of the Huggins monument. The Ed Barrow plaque was placed on the wall, to the left of the flagpole.
In honor of Jackie Robinson's unique place as the first black player of the modern era, his number 42 was retired throughout baseball on April 15, 1997, the 50th anniversary of his debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers. The Yankees erected a plaque for Robinson reading: "In becoming the first Major League player to break the color barrier, Jackie will forever be an inspiration with his grace, dignity and perseverance. His story and the stories of those who never had the same opportunity must never be forgotten." 42s were also painted in front of each dugout. Players active at the time of the number's retirement in 1997 were granted a special exemption permitting them to continue wearing the number for the remainder of their careers; the last such active player to wear number 42 was Yankee relief pitcher Mariano Rivera.
The Yankees honored Rivera by retiring his uniform number on September 22, 2013, during his final season, making him the first active player to be enshrined in Monument Park. Mantle wore his #7 when he coached the Yankees in 1970, even though it was retired the previous year, while Berra wore his #8 while he coached the Yankees from 1976 through 1985, though it was retired in 1972. Similarly, when Martin returned to manage the Yankees in 1988, he wore his #1, which had been retired in his honor in 1986.
In addition to baseball related recognitions, the Knights of Columbus donated plaques in honor of the Masses celebrated at Yankee Stadium by Pope Paul VI on October 4, 1965; Pope John Paul II on October 2, 1979; and Pope Benedict XVI on April 20, 2008. The Yankees also dedicated a monument to the victims and rescue workers of the September 11 attacks on September 11, 2002, the first anniversary of the attacks. The Yankees dedicated a plaque to Nelson Mandela on April 16, 2014, to commemorate his life and 1990 visit to Yankee Stadium.[b] On June 25, 2019, the Yankees dedicated a plaque commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Inn Uprising, which sparked the modern day movement for LGBT rights in the United States.
George Herman "Babe" Ruth Jr. (February 6, 1895 – August 16, 1948) was an American professional baseball player whose career in Major League Baseball (MLB) spanned 22 seasons, from 1914 through 1935. Nicknamed "The Bambino" and "The Sultan of Swat", he began his MLB career as a stellar left-handed pitcher for the Boston Red Sox, but achieved his greatest fame as a slugging outfielder for the New York Yankees. Ruth established many MLB batting (and some pitching) records, including career home runs (714), runs batted in (RBIs) (2,213), bases on balls (2,062), slugging percentage (.690), and on-base plus slugging (OPS) (1.164); the latter still stands as of 2019. Ruth is regarded as one of the greatest sports heroes in American culture and is considered by many to be the greatest baseball player of all time. In 1936, Ruth was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame as one of its "first five" inaugural members.
At age seven, Ruth was sent to St. Mary's Industrial School for Boys, a reformatory where he learned life lessons and baseball skills from Brother Matthias Boutlier of the Xaverian Brothers, the school's disciplinarian and a capable baseball player. In 1914, Ruth was signed to play minor-league baseball for the Baltimore Orioles but was soon sold to the Red Sox. By 1916, he had built a reputation as an outstanding pitcher who sometimes hit long home runs, a feat unusual for any player in the pre-1920 dead-ball era. Although Ruth twice won 23 games in a season as a pitcher and was a member of three World Series championship teams with the Red Sox, he wanted to play every day and was allowed to convert to an outfielder. With regular playing time, he broke the MLB single-season home run record in 1919.
After that season, Red Sox owner Harry Frazee sold Ruth to the Yankees amid controversy. The trade fueled Boston's subsequent 86-year championship drought and popularized the "Curse of the Bambino" superstition. In his 15 years with the Yankees, Ruth helped the team win seven American League (AL) pennants and four World Series championships. His big swing led to escalating home run totals that not only drew fans to the ballpark and boosted the sport's popularity but also helped usher in baseball's live-ball era, which evolved from a low-scoring game of strategy to a sport where the home run was a major factor. As part of the Yankees' vaunted "Murderers' Row" lineup of 1927, Ruth hit 60 home runs, which extended his MLB single-season record by a single home run. Ruth's last season with the Yankees was 1934; he retired from the game the following year, after a short stint with the Boston Braves. During his career, Ruth led the AL in home runs during a season 12 times.
Ruth's legendary power and charismatic personality made him a larger-than-life figure during the Roaring Twenties. During his career, he was the target of intense press and public attention for his baseball exploits and off-field penchants for drinking and womanizing. His often reckless lifestyle was tempered by his willingness to do good by visiting children at hospitals and orphanages. After his retirement as a player, he was denied the opportunity to manage a major league club, most likely due to poor behavior during parts of his playing career. In his final years, Ruth made many public appearances, especially in support of American efforts in World War II. In 1946, he became ill with nasopharyngeal cancer and died from the disease two years later. Ruth remains a part of American culture and in 2018, President Donald Trump posthumously awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom.Monument Park
Monument Park may refer to:
Monument Park, Colorado, USA
Monument Park, Pretoria, South Africa
Monument Park (Yankee Stadium), New York
Monument Park, Lynn Haven, Florida, USA
Monument Park, Washington, USA; westernmost point of the US/Canada border on the 49th parallelNew York Yankees Museum
The New York Yankees Museum is a sports museum located at Yankee Stadium on the main level at Gate 6. It is sponsored and presented by Bank of America and is dedicated to baseball memorabilia for the New York Yankees. It is a key attraction at the stadium, which opened in 2009.St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame Museum
The St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame Museum is a team hall of fame located in downtown St. Louis, Missouri, representing the history, players and personnel of the professional baseball franchise St. Louis Cardinals of Major League Baseball (MLB). It is housed within Ballpark Village, a mixed-use development and adjunct of Busch Stadium, the home stadium of the Cardinals. To date, 43 members have been enshrined within the Cardinals Hall of Fame.The Bronx
The Bronx is the northernmost of the five boroughs of New York City, in the U.S. state of New York. It is south of Westchester County; northeast and east of Manhattan, across the Harlem River; and north of Queens, across the East River. Since 1914, the borough has had the same boundaries as Bronx County, the third-most densely populated county in the United States.The Bronx has a land area of 42 square miles (109 km2) and a population of 1,471,160 in 2017. Of the five boroughs, it has the fourth-largest area, fourth-highest population, and third-highest population density. It is the only borough predominantly on the U.S. mainland.
The Bronx is divided by the Bronx River into a hillier section in the west, and a flatter eastern section. East and west street names are divided by Jerome Avenue. The West Bronx was annexed to New York City in 1874, and the areas east of the Bronx River in 1895. Bronx County was separated from New York County in 1914. About a quarter of the Bronx's area is open space, including Woodlawn Cemetery, Van Cortlandt Park, Pelham Bay Park, the New York Botanical Garden, and the Bronx Zoo in the borough's north and center. These open spaces are situated primarily on land deliberately reserved in the late 19th century as urban development progressed north and east from Manhattan.
The name Bronx originated with Swedish-born Jonas Bronck, who established the first settlement in the area as part of the New Netherland colony in 1639. The native Lenape were displaced after 1643 by settlers. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the Bronx received many immigrant and migrant groups as it was transformed into an urban community, first from various European countries (particularly Ireland, Germany, and Italy) and later from the Caribbean region (particularly Puerto Rico, Haiti, Jamaica, and the Dominican Republic), as well as African American migrants from the southern United States. This cultural mix has made The Bronx a wellspring of Latin music, hip hop and rock.
The Bronx contains the poorest congressional district in the United States, the 15th. There are, however, some upper-income, and middle-income neighborhoods such as Riverdale, Fieldston, Spuyten Duyvil, Schuylerville, Pelham Bay, Pelham Gardens, Morris Park, and Country Club. The Bronx saw a sharp decline in population, livable housing, and quality of life in the late 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s culminating in a wave of arson. In addition, the South Bronx saw severe urban decay. The Bronx experienced some redevelopment starting in the 1990s.
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