The late George Steinbrenner officially joined the ranks of Yankee immortals with the installation of a plaque honoring the former team owner in Yankee Stadium’s hallowed grounds, Monument Park.
The tribute to Steinbrenner — weighing more 760 pounds but, more importantly, larger than the tribute to Col. Jacob Ruppert — was unveiled last night in a pregame ceremony that saw the return of Joe Torre to Yankee Stadium and a gathering of all four Steinbrenner children at the ballpark since their father’s death.
The tribute is appropriate: after 37 seasons as owner of the Yankees, the team cemented its hold on the popular imagination, served as an important component for the post-9/11 healing of New York City, and returned the franchise to its winning ways. Really, there are only two great owners in Yankee history — Steinbrenner and the aforementioned Ruppert, the beer baron who built Yankee Stadium and brought Babe Ruth to the nation’s largest media market at a time when America was on a clear ascendancy — and the installation of the plaque in Monument Park cements Steinbrenner’s place in team history. Though Steinbrenner did some incredibly stupid things, like illegally contributing to an election campaign that caused him to be suspended from baseball, the next honor for him should be induction in the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Sadly, MLB.com doesn’t allow for the embedding of videos in other Web pages, but you can view their coverage of the ceremonies here.
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