Nelson Mandela to be honored with plaque in Monument Park
The New York Yankees today announced that they will honor Nelson Mandela with a plaque in Yankee Stadium's Monument Park. The dedication will take place as part of Jackie Robinson Day ceremonies on April 15, 2014, prior to the Yankees' game vs. the Chicago Cubs.
The plaque will celebrate the life of the former South African leader and commemorate his June 21, 1990, Yankee Stadium visit and address. On that historic day, Yankee Stadium was opened to fans, who enjoyed musical performances from Richie Havens, Tracy Chapman, Mighty Sparrow and Judy Collins.
Mandela arrived at Yankee Stadium at the end of the concert, following a day of meeting and addressing New Yorkers in various locations around the city. He spoke to the assembled crowd, then donned a Yankees cap and Yankees jacket and declared - "You know who I am. I am a Yankee."
At the time of his appearance, Mandela was just four months removed from having spent 27 years in prison.
"Nelson Mandela's visit was a transcendent moment in the history of the original Yankee Stadium," Yankees Managing General Partner Hal Steinbrenner said. "We want this plaque to be an everlasting tribute to his indomitable spirit and unfailing dignity."
The Yankees will work with a group of civic leaders and labor representatives to plan the events surrounding the ceremony.