NYC - Bronx - Yankee Stadium: Monument Park - Retired Numbers
Monument Park, created in 1974-75 during renovation of the original Yankee Stadium, housed the flag pole and a collection of monuments, plaques, and retired numbers honoring distinguished members of the New York Yankees. When the stadium was originally constructed, the flag pole was placed in play, over 450 feet from home plate to the left of straightaway center field. After manager Miller Huggins died suddenly of food poisoning, the Yankees erected a monument dedicated to him in front of the flag pole on May 30, 1982. The monument, a plaque mounted on an upright slab of red marble, was later joined by monuments dedicated to Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth upon their deaths, and a number of plaques were mounted behind them on the outside wall.
When the stadium was remodeled, the monuments were moved out of play to an enclosed area between the two bullpens. It wasn't until 1985 when the left field fence was moved in, though, that the park was opened to fans prior to games and during stadium tours. At that point, the rear fence lining the walkway from the grandstand seats to the monuments, which had been the actual outfield fence from 1976-1984, was adorned with the Yankees' retired numbers.
The ceremonial monuments are awarded posthumously and are the highest honor of all. The other two Yankees to receive the honor are Mickey Mantle and Joe DiMaggio. Another monument was erected to remember the attacks of September 11, 2001.
Plaques honor: Edward Barrow, Joe McCarthy, Phil Rizzuto, Bill Dickey, Thurman Munson, Jacob Ruppert, Mel Allen, Red Ruffing, Whitey Ford, Reggie Jackson, Lefty Gomez, Casey Stengel, Don Mattingly, Elston Howard, Billy Martin, Allie Reynolds, Roger Maris, Yogi Berra, Ron Guidry, Bob Sheppard, Pope Paul VI, and Pope John Paul II.
The following numbers are retired: 1 (Billy Martin), 3 (Babe Ruth), 4 (Lou Gehrig), 5 (Joe DiMaggio), 7 (Mickey Mantle), 8 (Bill Dickey and Yogi Berra), 9 (Roger Maris), 10 (Phil Rizzuto), 15 (Thurman Munson), 16 (Whitey Ford), 23 (Don Mattingly), 32 (Elston Howard), 37 (Casey Stengel), 42 (Jackie Robinson), 44 (Reggie Jackson), and 49 (Ron Guidry).
When the Yankees moved to the new new Yankee Stadium in 2009, a new Monument Park was built beyond the center-field fences, and everything was transported over.
The original Yankee Stadium, located at East 161st Street and River Avenue, served as the home baseball park of Major League Baseball's New York Yankees from 1923 to 1973 and, after extensive renovations, from 1976 to 2008. Nicknamed "The House that Ruth Built", it was the first three-tiered sports facility in the United States and one of the first baseball parks to be given the lasting title of stadium. Yankee Stadium hosted 6,581 Yankees regular season home games, and 37 World Series during its 85-year history. Yankee Stadium was the home of the National Football League's New York Giants from 1956-1973, before they relocated ultimately to Giants Stadium in the Meadowlands, including the 1958 NFL championship game, and other short-lived professional football franchises including the three incarnations of the AFL's New York Yankees (1926, 1936-37, 1941), the AAFC's New York Yankees (1946-49), the NFL's New York Yanks (1950-51). It hosted three papal masses--Pope Paul VI (1965), Pope John Paul II (1979), and Pope Benedict XVI (2008); thirty championship prizefights--including Joe Louis-Max Schmeling and Muhammad Ali-Ken Norton; two professional soccer franchies--the USA/NASL's New York Generals (1967-68) and the NASL's New York Cosmos (1971, 1976); and college football--including the annual Notre Dame-Army game from 1925 through 1947.
The Yankees had shared the Polo Grounds with the New York Giants since 1913, but strained relations between the two teams led owners Tillinghast L'Hommedieu Huston and Jacob Ruppert to build their own stadium on a 10-acre lumberyard within sight of Coogan's Bluff. Originally designed by Osborn Engineering and built by the White Construction Company at a cost of $2.5 million, the stadium opened on April 18, 1923, with the Yankees beating the Boston Red Sox 4-1. By the late 1960s, the stadium's condition had badly deteriorated. After the stadium was purchased by the City of New York in 1972, it closed for a two-year facelift following the 1973 season, with the Yankees taking up temporary residence at Shea Stadium in the interim. The renovations by Praeger-Kavanaugh-Waterbury significantly altered the appearance of the stadium. 118 columns reinforcing each tier of the grandstand were removed, the Stadium's roof, including its distinctive 15-foot copper frieze, was replaced by a new upper shell, and a white painted concrete replica of the frieze was added atop the wall encircling the bleachers. The Stadium's playing field was lowered and shortened and Monument Park was created.
In 2007, Yankee Stadium was ranked #84 on the AIA 150 America's Favorite Architecture list.