Someone connected with the New York Yankees should explain. Why no statue of Babe Ruth at Yankee Stadium? For that matter, there is no statue of Babe Ruth anywhere in New York City. Period. I find it odd because if there is an athlete whose impact on a city was on a par with what Babe Ruth did for New York it escapes me.
There is a statue of Johnny Unitas outside the football stadium in Baltimore. Likewise, we have one of Jim Brown outside the stadium in Cleveland.
There is a statue of Magic Johnson outside the Staples Center in Los Angeles, not to mention Jerry West, and from hockey, Wayne Gretzky and Luc Robitaille. For his part, Gretzky is also immortalized with a statue outside the hockey arena in Edmonton, the city where he had his finest days. And one of sport’s most famous photos has been immortalized with a statue of Bobby Orr scoring his Stanley Cup-winning goal outside the arena where the NHL’s Boston Bruins play.
Alas, a statue of Michael Jordan is outside the United Center in Chicago.
In baseball statues of Henry Aaron adorn the ballparks of both cities he did proud – Milwaukee and Atlanta. Fenway Park in Boston has four Hall of Famers bronzed, including Ted Williams. And baseball has lots more, too.
Even Rocky Balboa – a fictional character immortalized by actor Sylvester Stallone in the Rocky movies – has been bronzed in a huge statue in Philadelphia. Because he did so much for that city.
I know about Babe Ruth Plaza at Yankee Stadium, effectively his name at a gate. And a granite monument commemorating Ruth, one of several, outside the home-run wall at the new Yankee Stadium. I say ‘new’ because the original Yankee Stadium is The House That Ruth Built.
But why no statue?
Is it because New York City and New Yorkers have a reputation of modesty when it comes to hero worship? Is it because they don’t do things in a big way in The Big Apple?
Statues of Babe Ruth do exist. They just don’t happen to be in that town. The biggest one is a 16-foot bronze sculpture at Camden Yards in Baltimore. Why Baltimore? He was born there. There is another one at the Sports Immortals Museum in Boca Raton, Florida, and in Japan commemorating two home runs he hit in a 1934 game when the American League All-Stars toured the country. You see, Mr. Ruth had an impact on Japan.
But he also had an impact on New York and such words don’t even do it justice, so I’ll go the distance.
Babe Ruth helped make New York City what it became.
Indeed, you had the perfect storm with Time – the dawn of the Roaring Twenties. Place – New York City. And the Person – Babe Ruth.
I have presentations and book signings coming up for my book BABE RUTH – A Superstar’s Legacy and maybe we should explore this question. The schedule to date …
July 24, 4 p.m. – Babe Ruth Birthplace & Museum in Baltimore
July 26, 1 p.m. – National Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum in Cooperstown, NY
July 28 9-11 a.m. – Willis Monie books, Cooperstown, NY (signing with Babe Ruth’s grandson Tom Stevens)
August 2, 10 a.m. – National Sports Collectors Convention in Cleveland.