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Nelson Mandela to get a plaque in Yankee Stadium’s Monument Park

Dec 9, 2013, 7:40 AM EDT

Nelson Mandela

Munson. Martin. Mariano. Mattingly. Mandela.

Wait, what?

During a triumphant visit by Nelson Mandela to New York in June 1990, shortly after he had been released from a South African prison, one of his most memorable stops was a rally and concert at Yankee Stadium, where he put on a team cap and jacket and proclaimed, “I am a Yankee.”

To commemorate that moment and the life of Mandela, the South African leader who died last week at 95, the Yankees will place a plaque in Monument Park. It will be unveiled on Jackie Robinson Day, April 15, when the Yankees play the Chicago Cubs.

As David Waldstein’s story in the New York Times notes, Mandela will not be the first non-baseball figure to be honored in Monument Park. There are already plaques for masses celebrated in Yankee Stadium by  Pope Paul VI, Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI. There is also a monument in honor of victims of the September 11th attacks. Now Mandela, who was probably a bigger Yankees fan than Benedict is. Just guessing.

At any rate, the weirdest thing about that entire story is the part where it says the Cubs will be in Yankee Stadium. That just seems odd.

  1. stratomaticfan - Dec 9, 2013 at 8:03 AM

    That’s wrong. Let’s keep politics out of sports. Just because he used their building for a rally, doesn’t mean he belongs in there.

    • cur68 - Dec 9, 2013 at 8:09 AM

      Gonna boot all those Popes out, too?

      • Kevin S. - Dec 9, 2013 at 8:14 AM

        It’s funny, because George Steinbrenner and all those popes have done more to intervene in US politics than Nelson Mandela.

      • deadeyedesign23 - Dec 9, 2013 at 8:38 AM

        Not such a bad idea considering at least 2/3 of them willfully covered up sexual abuse.

      • historiophiliac - Dec 9, 2013 at 9:23 AM

        If I’d had more coffee by now, I’d post the video of Sinead. I’m a stinker!

      • Old Gator - Dec 9, 2013 at 10:04 AM

        Yes, boot the popes. If politics doesn’t belong there, superstition surely doesn’t either. Another benefit of this approach: guys on hitting streaks will start changing their underwear.

      • Old Gator - Dec 9, 2013 at 10:16 AM

        @histy: well, as long as we’re booting the popes anyway, howsabout posting a video of Sinead as the Virgin Mary from Butcher Boy? “Aw fer fook sake Francie, of kerse yer friends like ye!”

    • ivro89 - Dec 9, 2013 at 8:36 AM

      Keep the politics out of sports? Was there some sort of divisive political issue Mandela was on the wrong side of that I wasn’t aware of, or do you just not want to alienate people that have more a ‘meh’ stance on apartheid?

      • deadeyedesign23 - Dec 9, 2013 at 8:40 AM

        I think the controversial topic regarding Mandela is that he was a Socialist. Not that I give a damn about Socialism, but if people have a problem with him it’s more likely regarding that than apartheid.

      • mj2sexay - Dec 9, 2013 at 9:05 AM

        If by divisive political issues, you mean the acts that got him sent to jail then sure. I for one appreciate Newt Gingrich’s commentary on the subject, (to summarize, yes Nelson’s legacy does include violence, but if YOUR liberties were taken away, what would you have done?) Having said that, to ignore the fact that there’s blood on his hands (there’s blood on literally every leaders hands), is to ignore history.

        I have no problem with America and our elected leaders/sports teams remembering Mr. Mandela with reverence and respect. Where I have an issue is that he gained more respect from the White House in his death then another great leader in Margaret Thatcher or dying members of Seal Team 6 ever did. Whats up with that?

      • Old Gator - Dec 9, 2013 at 10:05 AM

        @deadeyedesign23: I think that your usual run of racists were probably grateful for his socialism. It made it possible for them to hide their racism behind a veneer of ideological antipathy.

      • asimonetti88 - Dec 9, 2013 at 11:22 AM

        Margaret Thatcher was a great leader, yes, but she was not instrumental in ending the oppression of an entire people for something as trivial as the color of their skin. There were appropriate tributes to her following her death, and there were appropriate tributes to Mandela when he passed as well.

    • koufaxmitzvah - Dec 9, 2013 at 10:14 AM

      How is the story of Nelson Mandela about politics?

      The human spirit is not political.

      Unfreakingbelievable.

      • mj2sexay - Dec 9, 2013 at 10:20 AM

        @OldGator

        Lol didn’t you get the memo? Calling people racists because they disagree is soooo 2009. Saul Alinsky must be proud!

      • koufaxmitzvah - Dec 9, 2013 at 10:25 AM

        Do you know what happens when you let Rush Limbaugh tell you what to think? You come off sounding like an ignorant dolt.

      • mj2sexay - Dec 9, 2013 at 10:58 AM

        @koufaxmitzvah Glad you took a break from blaming the nasal spray when it comes to Ryan Braun’s positive test. And I’M the ignorant dolt?!

        I don’t need any segment of the media to dictate my thought process. Don’t project your idiotic behavior onto me.

      • koufaxmitzvah - Dec 9, 2013 at 11:32 AM

        I don’t expect a hack like you to understand certain situations like drug tests that can be compromised by nasal spray. It’s like you throwing out the name Saul Alinksy as if you know what the fork you’re talking about.

        What makes you the biggest joke is that your allegations of real people come from a troll hidden by anonymity. If that’s the way you want to go through life, have at it. Be afraid… be very afraid… of other people and, of course, of you and your precious little mind being (gasp) wrong.

        Keep doing what the fat man on the radio tells you to, Champ.

      • mj2sexay - Dec 9, 2013 at 11:44 AM

        I’m sorry, I didn’t realize I was talking to an expert when it comes to forensics with respect to drug testing. What on earth are you doing commenting on here? Clearly you should have submitted your application to the Players Association about a year ago. Dope. Your stupidity is compounded by the fact that Braun has OPENLY ADMITTED using a cream and lozenge.
        But sure…it was the nasal spray.

        Tell me Doc, where DO YOU GET YOUR EXPERTISE?!?!?!

        “Be afraid…be very afraid of other people.” What?! What are you talking about? The only people I’m afraid of are clowns like you canceling out my vote because you’re knee deep in stupidity.

        I love how I’m called a troll because I’m commenting from behind the keyboard. Newsflash chief, so are you. You actually criticize me for behavior that was inherently perpetuated in your comment. I also notice how you haven’t once brought this up to OldGator for his continually hatred of religion. Hypocrite.

      • drelms - Dec 9, 2013 at 7:59 PM

        They are putting a guy who never played baseball in their baseball monument strictly because he was a black guy fighting white rule in South Africa, of course its political. The Yankees plain and simple $uck and they would do anything to get public opinion on their side.

    • jaiello53 - Dec 9, 2013 at 1:07 PM

      What why dies thus guy get a plaque in Yankee stadium? What a joke. He is a known communist and in the past had negative statement about the US. This is BS

  2. sdelmonte - Dec 9, 2013 at 8:45 AM

    This is one of those things that you feel bad looking askance at, since Mandela deserves the accolades and all. And since they have those other plaques. And since he did speak there.

    At this point, Monument Valley isn’t really about about baseball. It’s about how the Yankees perceive themselves and their place in the world. Granted, popes and politicians also speak at other ballparks, without there being plaques as far as I know. But just like the Yankees are, for good or for ill, THE baseball team, Yankee Stadium (all three of them) is, in the minds of its owners, the center of the world. In that worldview, when popes and politicians speak there, it matters more.

    I don’t think it’s what I would do with a place originally created to honor the greatest Yankee players, managers and owners. But it’s not my park or my team.

    Just tell me when they are putting the plaque in for Mariano, and then Jeter.

    Oh, and can we ask the Mets to do a plaque for the Beatles?

    • Kevin S. - Dec 9, 2013 at 8:51 AM

      No. The Beatles never played at Ebbets Field.

    • lardin - Dec 9, 2013 at 9:08 AM

      Mariano’s Plaque is already their. They unveiled on Mariano Day late last season…

      • sdelmonte - Dec 9, 2013 at 9:17 AM

        Missed it somehow in the flood of goodbyes.

  3. historiophiliac - Dec 9, 2013 at 9:11 AM

    Mandela is my second favorite terrorist.

    • paperlions - Dec 9, 2013 at 10:03 AM

      I presume that George Washington beat him out for the top spot.

      • historiophiliac - Dec 9, 2013 at 10:04 AM

        No, Mother Jones, duh.

      • paperlions - Dec 9, 2013 at 10:07 AM

        Where does George rank? He’s got to be top 5.

      • historiophiliac - Dec 9, 2013 at 10:15 AM

        Oh, please. Sam Adams made him look like a reactionary pansy and I don’t think he even had the nerve to throw a shoe at the English PM like Alice Paul — and let’s be honest, she broke windows herself, but he would’ve had a slave do it.

      • paperlions - Dec 9, 2013 at 1:23 PM

        True enough. I mean, if George was really that important, he’d have a beer named after him, about the highest honor one can receive.

      • historiophiliac - Dec 9, 2013 at 5:38 PM

        Not gonna lie, I would enjoy having a beer named after me. :)

  4. hcf95688 - Dec 9, 2013 at 9:23 AM

    Why not? As soon as Reggie Jackson – he of five Yankee seasons, a .280 BA and between 140-150 HRs – got a plaque out there it became obvious that anyone could get one.

    • historiophiliac - Dec 9, 2013 at 9:54 AM

      Oh, do you have one?

  5. wpjohnson - Dec 9, 2013 at 9:27 AM

    How ridiculous. But, then, he will be the first Communist so “honored”. Wonder if a real great, like Babe Ruth, will be so honored in South Africa?

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Dec 9, 2013 at 9:35 AM

      I forgot, what did Babe Ruth do that was so great for this country?

      • Old Gator - Dec 9, 2013 at 10:07 AM

        I forgot. What communist principles did Mandela force upon South Africa – equal rights? B-r-r-r-r-r-r-r. And to think people like that must still be hiding under the bed here too!

      • historiophiliac - Dec 9, 2013 at 10:17 AM

        Equal pay for women!

      • Old Gator - Dec 9, 2013 at 10:51 AM

        That’s not communism. That’s just the gratuitous destabilization of social hierarchies that have served us well.

      • historiophiliac - Dec 9, 2013 at 10:58 AM

        WHAT DO WE WANT?

        GRATUITOUS DESTABILIZATION OF SOCIAL HIERARCHIES!

        WHEN DO WE WANT IT?

        NOW!

      • spudchukar - Dec 9, 2013 at 12:39 PM

        Actually Babe Ruth did do something great for the U.S. It is outlined in detail in a great book, “Bonzai, Babe Ruth” released only a couple of years ago, and a great read. It is one of the works were you end up saying “no frickin’ way” about a dozen times. I highly recommend it.

    • koufaxmitzvah - Dec 9, 2013 at 10:20 AM

      Because Capitalism really loves people.

      People they can poop on.

  6. ctony1216 - Dec 9, 2013 at 9:58 AM

    It’ll be nice for the fans, sitting in their $100 seats and drinking $10 beers, to ponder Mandela’s lasting legacy at Yankee Stadium. I wonder if they’ll charge fans extra to look at the plaque.

  7. pjmitch - Dec 9, 2013 at 10:11 AM

    With this bit of lunacy, possibly that Snow Tire Day that George Costanza pitched will come to pass.

    • historiophiliac - Dec 9, 2013 at 10:18 AM

      It still won’t top the Indians’ Bil-Jac dog food night giveaway.

  8. seanobi - Dec 9, 2013 at 10:20 AM

    More shameless self promotion by the Yankees.So he had a rally there once.But the Yankees have to inject themselves into this great man’s legacy for no other reason than to promote themselves….

  9. jaker85 - Dec 9, 2013 at 10:28 AM

    The Yanks gotta lock him up to a 27 year contract and not let him out!

  10. aceshigh11 - Dec 9, 2013 at 11:27 AM

    So…calling Mandela a communist and a terrorist is a thing now, huh?

    I guess after hating Obama nonstop for five years, turning off the rage faucet long enough to recognize Mandela’s achievements is too much to hope for.

    • historiophiliac - Dec 9, 2013 at 11:42 AM

      You realize until 2008 he was on the US government’s list of terrorists and had to be waived into the country for visits? When the South African government offered him his freedom if he renounced violent tactics, he said no — even though it meant he stayed in jail. Calling him a terrorist isn’t a slur — it’s recognizing that simple labels don’t always apply in the real world. Frankly, I think it’s a badge of honor much like John Lewis is proud of his arrests as an activist during the 1960′s.

      • spudchukar - Dec 9, 2013 at 12:07 PM

        Generally I agree, but your earlier comment left a lot of room for misinterpretation.

      • historiophiliac - Dec 9, 2013 at 12:11 PM

        Only if you assume that being a terrorist is always a bad thing, which I do not.

      • spudchukar - Dec 9, 2013 at 12:16 PM

        No me either. No one was terrorized more than Native Americans. Your comment begged for controversy, which is fine, but clarification was needed, and could easily be taken the wrong way, and I don’t think that would be the outcome you desired.

      • historiophiliac - Dec 9, 2013 at 12:34 PM

        I said he was my second *favorite.*

    • nothanksimdriving123 - Dec 9, 2013 at 4:52 PM

      Communist and terrorist. And yet, as President and leader of the dominant party, Mandela did not try to turn South Africa into a communist dictatorship, and stepped down after one term. It remains a capitalist democracy. And instead of leading a campaign of vengeance against his Afrikaner oppressors, he instituted the Truth and Reconciliation panels in which both black and white perpetrators admitted their wrongdoings.

  11. rcali - Dec 9, 2013 at 10:03 PM

    Any truth to the rumor they tried to sign him to play 2b? He is about the age of their typical FA.

    • nothanksimdriving123 - Dec 10, 2013 at 2:44 AM

      They’ve always wanted Fidel Castro but he’s refused to shave.

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