Monument Park at Yankee Stadium honors legendary baseball players with stone monuments, plaques, and retired numbers. It also includes tributes to other figures, such as announcers and victims of the 9/11 attacks. Jackie Robinson is the only non-Yankee player honored.
It stands to reason that since the New York Yankees have been around for over a century and have generally been fairly successful, they have been the team of countless legendary baseball players. Some of these players are responsible for the rise in popularity of baseball in America, and others are notable not only for their achievements on the field but also for their accolades off the field. In Yankee Stadium’s left center field, Monument Park honors many of those historic players in an open-air museum of sorts, complete with commemorative plaques and the jersey numbers of retired players.
Monument Park is located between the home team’s bullpen and the visiting team’s bullpen and was originally in the game. The wingers would often have to go around the monuments to get to balls hit into left midfield, and on at least one occasion a ball got stuck in or around one of the monuments. Monument Park has since been separated from the playing field, thus eliminating the risk to both the players and the monuments themselves.
There are several types of player tributes within Monument Park. The greatest honor a player can receive is a real stone monument; these are awarded posthumously to the greatest Yankee players of all time. Players with real “monuments” include Joe Dimaggio, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle and Babe Ruth.
Other players are honored with plaques and retired numbers. Not all players with plates in Monument Park had their numbers retired as well, but most did. Nearly all of the players honored in Monument Park have played or coached for the New York Yankees with the exception of Jackie Robinson, whose number was retired during Major League Baseball in 2007. He was honored with a plaque commemorating him as the first African American to play in major league baseball. Others honored in Monument Park are the Popes, announcers and victims of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Players who have been honored include Thurman Munson, Elston Howard, Reggie Jackson, Don Mattingly, Roger Maris, Phil Rizzuto, Ron Guidry and many others.