Munson. Martin. Mariano. Mattingly. Mandela.
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.