When baseball’s biggest stage was being prepared to meet the wrecking ball in 2008, Reggie Jackson bought the 13 letters that spelled out the words “Yankee Stadium” in blue lights. Now, the Hall of Famer is opting to sell the monumental signage that welcomed visitors to the ballpark from 1976 to 2008.
He’s consigned the 10-foot tall letters to Sotheby’s, which will offer them at its April 1 ‘New York Sale’, featuring various items associated with the city. Made of Plexiglass with aluminum casing, the letters will remain as a singular package with the pre-sale estimate at $300,000-$600,000.
The Yankees have played in the Bronx since the building of their original stadium in 1923. The look of Yankee Stadium remained largely the same until its 50th Anniversary season in 1973, when the team moved to Shea Stadium for two seasons while it was modernized and renovated. In April of ’76, Yankee Stadium reopened with a new façade that featured the present 13 letters, which remained in place until the stadium was demolished and the new ballpark opened 32 years later.
During that time, the sign presided over: six of the Yankees’ record-setting 27 World Series Championships; nine consecutive AL East titles; 13 consecutive seasons with a playoff appearance; the only two ‘Perfect Games’ thrown by Yankees pitchers to-date; and their historic 1998 season when they recorded 125 wins.
After the lights were shut off at the stadium for the final time, Jackson purchased the lettering. Yankee Stadium was the stage for some of Jackson’s most iconic moments, including his three home runs in Game Six of the 1977 World Series.
“I see this auction as an opportunity for a new generation to own and enjoy this icon of the Yankees and of New York City,” Jackson said. “There were a few items I wanted to purchase before the old Yankee Stadium was torn down, including my old locker and a section of the black bleachers off of centerfield. But I kept thinking about the stadium lettering, and if there was any way for me to own it. I ended up making an offer, and was thrilled when it was accepted – it’s been a privilege to own such a recognizable piece of baseball history.”
According to the auction house, the ‘New York Sale’ will offer” 85 items from, inspired by and celebrating New York City. The works have been selected from across the fields of Prints, Photographs, Paintings, Sculpture, Silver, Books and Jewelry as well as iconic New York memorabilia.”