(Long Island, N.Y.) Imposingly standing at five feet high, seven feet wide and weighing 760 pounds, the bronze plaque that was unveiled recently for George M. Steinbrenner in Monument Park at the New Yankee Stadium is literally a huge honor. It actually dwarfs the others present, including the plaques of all-time great Yankees Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle.
The Boss would have been honored. There had been only six monuments at the location – the four players, manager Miller Huggins and one to honor the victims of September 11, 2001. There are also 24 plaques on display honoring many, from players to papal visits.
“Our father always believed that this organization was an extension of his family and he felt our fans were the heartbeat and soul of this baseball team,” the Steinbrenner family said in a statement. “His unrelenting vision and passion for success was unmatched and we are humbled that his likeness will forever greet the people he cared so much about.”
It was only on July 13 that Steinbrenner passed away at the age of 80. The team is wearing commemorative patches for their former owner throughout the remainder of the season and now Steinbrenner has been given the ultimate compliment with the addition beyond the outfield fences in the Bronx.
Part of the plaque reads, “A true visionary who changed the game of baseball forever. He was considered the most influential owner in all of sports. In 37 years as principal owner, the Yankees posted a major league-best .566 winning percentage, while winning 11 American League pennants and seven World Series titles, becoming the most recognizable sports brand in the world.”
Any criticism pointed towards the immense size of Steinbrenner’s monument is way off base. When he purchased the Yankees in 1973, this was an organization in dire need of fierce leadership and a wake-up call. The Boss provided both and within three years the Bronx Bombers were again representing the ‘junior circuit’ in the Fall Classic.
He was also the owner when the original Yankee Stadium went under construction and was updated, and most important, built the new $1.6 billion stadium. To keep the Yankee tradition carrying on, Steinbrenner ensured that Monument Park would be even better once it was moved across the street. This is a man who always spoke of wearing the pinstripes with pride. Steinbrenner was and still is the Yankees. If there ever was someone deserving of such a monument, it is The Boss. The tabloids always said that Steinbrenner was larger than life. Nothing has changed in his death.