The New York Sale on 1 April 2015 will offer an icon not only of sports memorabilia, but of New York City history and one of the world’s most renowned sports franchises: the monumental sign that welcomed visitors to the old Yankee Stadium from 1976 to 2008. Comprising 13 letters that each stand 10-feet tall, the sign is on offer from the collection of Reggie “Mr. October” Jackson, who cemented his legend as a New York Yankee and sports icon while the sign was installed at the famed Bronx arena. The New York Sale will be on public view in Sotheby’s New York City headquarters beginning 26 March.

RJ3_b“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. 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.”
–REGGIE JACKSON

When did you move to New York City?
I came to NY in November of '76. I lived up on 5th Avenue. I played for the Yankees for 5 years and had a place here for 8 years.

What are some of your favorite memories of New York City?
Yankees Stadium. The Right Field Bleachers. The Center Field Bleachers. Being part of arguably the greatest sports franchise in the world and being part of its history. Scrambled eggs and toast with bacon and coffee with orange within about three minutes after you sit down. Pastrami sandwich with melted cheese on rye and sauerkraut. I’ve never had a bad meal in New York. Walking outside and getting a cab when you want. Learning how to whistle. The best clothing stores in the world. The best people in the world, the friendliest place for me. If you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere, as Frank Sinatra said.

What do you miss when you are not in New York City?
I miss New York the way it was. When I played I had the keys. Also I think the good food and the restaurants. My favorite restaurant here is Viand, it’s a deli. Even if it’s 5 degrees I’ll walk there and eat.

How would you describe New York City?
I don’t know if you can describe New York City, but you just say, “Oh boy, it’s the place.” I haven’t been to Shanghai or places like that where they have 14 million people in the city. But the action here is like no where else. I sure love coming back because I love the action and I love being at the table where there is action. It’s quick and fast and exciting. All the money is here. All the opportunity is here. The people are smart and fast and quick.

It’s a wonderful place for me. I’m glad it’s like a second home for me here. I feel fortunate to have been with the Yankees and part of this city. It’s a wonderful feeling. I’m very proud of my New York roots.

Are you excited to see where the Yankees sign ends up?
I hope the letters go to a place where I can see them. I was lucky I got them. If I could have put them somewhere, I would have kept them. The thing we tried to do with Sotheby’s is do a preservation, not a restoration. Preserve the rust and the tin and the plastic inside. A little needs to be replaced, but some of it we just cleaned it up. We wanted to maintain its authenticity, that’s what most important. I’ve got stuff from Gehrig, Mantle, Whitey Ford, Yogi. I’m known to collect. I have a Ruth bat now and one I just traded. I enjoy the stuff. I missed some of the greats though. I missed the Bob Gibson auction. But bought a Frank Robbins bat.

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01 April 2015 | New York