Monument Park (Yankee Stadium)

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Monument Park II, at Yankee Stadium

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.[1]

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 (13 m), 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.[2]

The original placement of the monuments in deep center field at the pre-renovated Yankee Stadium. Left in the picture.

The Huggins monument was later joined by similar memorials to Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth, which were erected upon their deaths.[3] 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.[4]

From 1936 through 1973, the distance from home plate to the center field fence was 461 feet (141 m).[3] 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!"[5]

Monument Park I[edit]

The original Monument Park consisted of a row of monuments with plaques lining the wall behind them

When Yankee Stadium was remodeled from 1974 to 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".[6]

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.[6] After the center field fence was moved in, the Yankees enabled fans to visit Monument Park prior to most games at Yankee Stadium.[6] Monument Park was also part of the public tour of the venue.

Monument Park II[edit]

The second Monument Park

When the Yankees moved to their new ballpark, the Yankees established a new Monument Park in the new stadium.[7] An area was built behind the fence in straightaway center field, below the Center Field Sports Bar that serves as the batter's eye. Built of pearl blue granite from Finland,[8] 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.[9][10]


Honored baseball members[edit]

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.[11] 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:

Plaques lined the rear wall of the original Monument Park
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 Hugginsdagger Manager 1918–1929 May 30, 1932 May 30, 1932 [12]
Lou Gehrigdagger First baseman 1923–1939 July 4, 1939 (#4) July 6, 1941 July 6, 1941 [13]
Jacob Ruppertdagger Owner 1915–1939 April 19, 1940 [14]
Babe Ruthdagger Outfielder 1920–1934 June 13, 1948 (#3) April 19, 1949 April 19, 1949 [15]
Ed Barrowdagger General manager 1921–1946 April 15, 1954 [16]
Joe DiMaggiodagger Outfielder 1936–1951 April 18, 1952 (#5) June 8, 1969 April 25, 1999 [17]
Mickey Mantledagger Outfielder 1951–1968 June 8, 1969 (#7) June 8, 1969 August 25, 1996 [18]
Joe McCarthydagger Manager 1931–1946 April 29, 1976 [19]
Casey Stengeldagger Manager 1949–1960 August 8, 1970 (#37) July 30, 1976 [20]
Thurman Munson Catcher 1969–1979 August 2, 1979 (#15) September 20, 1980 [21]
Elston Howard Catcher / Outfielder 1955–1967 July 21, 1984 (#32) July 21, 1984 [22]
Roger Maris Outfielder 1960–1966 July 21, 1984 (#9) July 21, 1984 [22]
Phil Rizzutodagger Shortstop / Broadcaster 1941–1956, 1957–96 August 4, 1985 (#10) August 4, 1985 [23]
Billy Martin Second baseman / Manager 1950–1957, 1975–1978,
1979, 1983, 1985, 1988
August 10, 1986 (#1) August 10, 1986 [24]
Lefty Gomezdagger Pitcher 1930–1942 August 1, 1987 [25]
Whitey Forddagger Pitcher 1950–1967 August 3, 1974 (#16) August 1, 1987 [25]
Bill Dickeydagger Catcher 1928–1946 July 22, 1972 (#8) August 21, 1988 [26]
Yogi Berradagger Catcher / Outfielder 1946–1963 July 22, 1972 (#8) August 21, 1988 [26]
Allie Reynolds Pitcher 1947–1954 August 27, 1989 [27]
Don Mattingly First baseman 1982–1995 August 31, 1997 (#23) August 31, 1997 [28]
Mel Allendouble-dagger Broadcaster 1939–1964, 1976–1989 July 25, 1998 [29]
Bob Sheppard Public address announcer 1951–2007 May 7, 2000 [30]
Reggie Jacksondagger Outfielder 1977–1981 August 14, 1993 (#44) July 6, 2002 [31]
Ron Guidry Pitcher 1975–1988 August 23, 2003 (#49) August 23, 2003 [32]
Red Ruffingdagger Pitcher 1930–1946 July 10, 2004 [1]
Jackie Robinsondagger Second baseman April 15, 1997 (#42) April 17, 2007[a] [33]
George Steinbrenner Owner 1973–2010 September 20, 2010 September 20, 2010 [34]
Mariano Riveradagger Pitcher 1995–2013 September 22, 2013 (#42) August 14, 2016 [35]
Tino Martinez First baseman 1996–2001, 2005 June 21, 2014 [36]
Goose Gossagedagger Pitcher 1978–1983, 1989 June 22, 2014 [36]
Paul O'Neill Outfielder 1993–2001 August 9, 2014 [36]
Joe Torredagger Manager 1996–2007 August 23, 2014 (#6) August 23, 2014 [36]
Bernie Williams Outfielder 1991–2006 May 24, 2015 (#51) May 24, 2015 [37]
Willie Randolph Second baseman / Coach 1975–1988, 1994–2004 June 20, 2015 [38]
Mel Stottlemyre Pitcher / Coach 1964–1974, 1996–2005 June 20, 2015 [39]
Jorge Posada Catcher 1995–2011 August 22, 2015 (#20) August 22, 2015 [40]
Andy Pettitte Pitcher 1995–2003, 2007–2010, 2012–2013 August 23, 2015 (#46) August 23, 2015 [41]
Derek Jeterdagger Shortstop 1995–2014 May 14, 2017 (#2) May 14, 2017 [42]

Although the Yankees adopted uniform numbers in 1929, McCarthy never wore a number with the Yankees.[43]

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.[44] 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.

The plaque in the first Monument Park in honor of Jackie Robinson

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[33] 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.[45]

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.[46] 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.[43] With Jeter's number being retired, no Yankee can wear a single-digit positive number.[43]

Other honorees[edit]

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.[47] 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.[48] The Yankees dedicated a plaque to Nelson Mandela on April 16, 2014, to commemorate his life and 1990 visit to Yankee Stadium.[49][50][51][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.[52]

Image gallery[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Rededicated September 22, 2013
  2. ^ The ceremony was scheduled for April 15, which is Jackie Robinson Day, but it was delayed by rain.[51]


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  15. ^ Roden, Ralph (April 20, 1949). "Six Home Teams Score Victories in Opener". St. Petersburg Times. p. 8. Retrieved September 18, 2009.
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  22. ^ a b "The Man Who Beat The Babe". Waycross Journal-Herald. July 24, 1984. p. 6. Retrieved April 18, 2012.
  23. ^ Kerber, Fred (August 14, 2007). "For 'dreamer' Scooter, a moo-ving day". New York Daily News. Retrieved August 28, 2010.
  24. ^ "Yanks Retire Martin's Number". Daytona Beach Morning Journal. August 11, 1986. p. 5C. Retrieved October 28, 2011.
  25. ^ a b Noble, Marty (August 3, 1987). "Well, 2 Out of 3 Ain't Bad: Yanks aren't overwhelmed by successful weekend". Newsday. Retrieved April 18, 2012. (subscription required)
  26. ^ a b Shaughnessy, Dan (August 21, 1988). "Is Balance Of Al Power Headed West?". Boston Globe. Retrieved April 18, 2012.
  27. ^ "Yankees Honor Allie Reynolds With Plaque". Deseret News. August 27, 1989. p. 36. Retrieved December 22, 2011.
  28. ^ Chass, Murray (September 1, 1997). "On Baseball — Mattingly's Monument To Effort". The New York Times. Retrieved August 28, 2010.
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  36. ^ a b c d "Yankees to honor Joe Torre, Rich "Goose" Gossage, Tino Martinez, and Paul O'Neill in 2014 with plaques in Monument Park; Torre's uniform no. 6 to also be retired: Ceremonies are part of a recognition series that will include Bernie Williams in 2015". (Press release). May 8, 2014. Retrieved June 23, 2014.[permanent dead link]
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  40. ^ McCarron, Anthony (August 22, 2015). "Jorge Posada has No. 20 retired by Yankees on 'one of the happiest days of my life'". New York Daily News. Retrieved August 23, 2015.
  41. ^ O'Brien, Charles (August 23, 2015). "Yankees honor Pettitte by retiring his No. 46". The Charlotte Observer. Associated Press. Retrieved August 23, 2015.[permanent dead link]
  42. ^ Hock, Bryan (December 6, 2016). "Yankees to retire Derek Jeter's number May 14". Retrieved December 9, 2016.
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  46. ^ Begley, Ian (September 22, 2013). "Yankees honor Mariano Rivera". Retrieved September 22, 2013.
  47. ^ Matuszewski, Erik (September 20, 2010). "George Steinbrenner Monument to Be Unveiled Today Before Yankees-Rays Game". Bloomberg. Retrieved April 22, 2013.
  48. ^ "Baseball plans tributes for 9/11 | News". Retrieved April 22, 2013.
  49. ^ Glasspiegel, Ryan (December 9, 2013). "The Yankees Will Honor Nelson Mandela with a Plaque in Monument Park | Extra Mustard –". Retrieved April 16, 2014.
  50. ^ "New York Yankees to honor Nelson Mandela in Monument Park – ESPN Chicago". December 9, 2013. Retrieved April 16, 2014.
  51. ^ a b "Rainout Postpones Yankee Stadium Ceremony Honoring Nelson Mandela – NY1". Archived from the original on April 16, 2014. Retrieved April 16, 2014.
  52. ^ "Yankees Unveil Monument Park Plaque Commemorating Stonewall Inn Uprising". June 25, 2019. Retrieved June 26, 2019.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°49′47.22″N 73°55′31.7″W / 40.8297833°N 73.925472°W / 40.8297833; -73.925472