Sotheby’s is delighted to be offering the sign from the old Yankee Stadium. It is not only a monumental item of sporting memorabilia, but also an immediately recognizable icon of one of New York’s most storied landmarks, and one of the world’s most renowned franchises.
The Yankees have played in the Bronx since the building of the original stadium in 1923, when Babe Ruth christened his new home with a three-run homer to best the Boston Red Sox in a 4-1 win. Except for the addition of lights in 1946 and paint in the mid-1960s, the look of Yankee Stadium would remain relatively the same until the Stadium's 50th-Anniversary season in 1973, when the Yankees moved to Shea Stadium for two seasons while their stadium was modernized and renovated.
On April 15, 1976 Yankee Stadium reopened having undergone two years of renovation. The new façade of the building featured the thirteen 10-foot letters in this lot; whether lit or unlit, this sign ensured Yankee Stadium was seen by the millions of fans who travelled by bus, car or subway to the stadium. These lights lit the way for 32 years, until the stadium’s closure in 2008.
The present lot presided over nine consecutive AL East titles; thirteen consecutive seasons with a playoff appearance, six of the Yankees record breaking 27 World Series Championships; the only two Perfect Games thrown by New York Yankees pitchers to date, as well as their historic 1998 season when they recorded 125 wins.
After the lights were shut off at the stadium for the final time Reggie Jackson, one of the most iconic New York Yankees, purchased the sign in order to preserve this rare piece of New York and baseball history. Yankee Stadium was the stage for some of Jackson’s most iconic moments, none more so than on October 18, 1977 when he hit three home runs in Game Six of the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, leading to the Yankees 21st World Series Championship, earning Jackson his second World Series MVP title and immortalizing his well-known moniker “Mr. October”.
Jackson played 21 seasons and reached the post-season in 11 of them, winning six pennants and five World Series. He was named to 14 All-Star teams and was the first major leaguer to hit one hundred home runs for three different clubs, having hit over 100 for the Athletics, Yankees, and Angels. It was under these lights that his number, 44, was retired on “Reggie Jackson Day”, August 14, 1993.