After Derek Jeter retires, the Yankees will then have honored 33 players, managers and executives in their museum located passed the outfield of the stadium. Jackie Robinson never wore the Yankees uniform, but his number deserves to be retired in every stadium in MLB. A criticism of the Yankees has been the fact that so many numbers are retired. Though immortal players such as Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, Mantle and Berra could never be disputed, the Yankees have retired numbers of players who have not played more than 5-7 seasons with the Yankees. The point makes sense but the organization has the right to honor its players as they wish.
The Yankees, for years had three distinct monuments in the center field area honoring Miller Huggins, Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth. They were actually in the field of play until the Yankees remodeled their stadium after the 1973 season. Later on, after the deaths of Mickey Mantle (1994) and Joe DiMaggio (1999), their plaques were taken off the wall and mounted in their own granite- joining the likes of Huggins, Gehrig and Ruth. After George Steinbrenner's death in 2011, a monument was erected in his honor making it 6 monuments that stand in the Yankee Stadium CF. Of course, a monument is only created after a Yankee dies. You can compare the Yankee Stadium Monuments to statues erected in front of many ballparks throughout baseball. Currently, only the statues of Don Larsen throwing to Yogi Berra exist in Yankee Stadium.
The Yankees have retired 16 numbers; two of them have been retired twice- Bill Dickey and Yogi Berra-8 and Jackie Robinson and Mariano Rivera- 42. Likely within the next couple years, a Yankees player or coach will not be able to be issued a number 1 through 10. Derek Jeter's number 2 will never be reissued and HOF manager Joe Torre will likely have his number retired in addition to his plaque. For the record, the Yankees retired numbers are: 1 (Billy Martin), 3 (Babe Ruth), 4 (Lou Gehrig), 5 (Joe DiMaggio), 7 (Mickey Mantle), 8 (Berra and Dickey), 9 (Roger Maris), 10 (Phil Rizzuto), 15 (Thurman Munson), 16 (Whitey Ford), 23 (Don Mattingly), 32 (Elston Howard), 37 (Casey Stengel), 42 (Robinson and Rivera), 44 (Reggie Jackson) and 49 (Ron Guidry).
In addition to all the retired numbers, the Yankees have honored many players, managers and executives with plaques, including Paul O'Neill, Joe Torre and Goose Gossage this year alone. Though he is due a plaque of his own, Mariano Rivera has yet to have one dedicated to him though his number is already retired. All players with their numbers retired have a plaque. In addition to the before mentioned and the players with retired numbers (not including Rivera), plaques were put in Monument Park for former owner Jacob Ruppert, GM Ed Barrow, manager Joe McCarthy, broadcaster Mel Allen, public address announcer Bob Sheppard, pitchers Lefty Gomez, Red Ruffing and Allie Reynolds and 1B Tino Martinez.
Overall, including those that have more than one, the Yankees have 6 monuments, 17 retired numbers, 32 plaques and 2 statues to honor the greats to have represented the organization. Among them are two owners, 1 GM, 5 managers, 1 public address announcer and two broadcasters. (Of course, there are a couple others who have managed (Berra and Dickey) and others who have done broadcasting work for the Yankees (Jackson and O'Neill). Many have also represented the Yankees as coaches.
As a fan of baseball history, not a Yankees fan, I appreciate the history of the organization as well as the history of all teams that date back to the turn of the 20th century. Contrary to the view of those who think it is overdone, I feel that when celebrating what it means to be a member of a team can never be overdone. Looking at the way the organization has honored its players and those who represent the Yankees, it is no surprise that the goal of many athletic kids and professional athletes is to be a New York Yankee.