You Can See the George Steinbrenner Monument From Space

The Boss was larger than life; So is his monument

By Josh Alper
|  Tuesday, Sep 21, 2010  |  Updated 8:50 AM EDT
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George Steinbrenner Monument Unveiled

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George Steinbrenner Monument Unveiled

Two months after his passing, the Yankees will honor long time team owner George Steinbrenner with his own monument in Monument Park. The Boss will now sit alongside such Yankee legends as Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig in The House That George Built. Yankees captain Derek Jeter and manager Joe Girardi weigh in on a fitting tribute for The Boss.
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Is there any chance that the people who came up with the language for the plaque on the monument honoring George Steinbrenner did it with a thought about making people laugh for decades to come?

Given the rather joyless way the Yankees present their history under most circumstances, that seems unlikely. That's too bad because there will be generations of Yankee fans who get a good belly laugh from reading the last line of Steinbrenner's plaque. It tells us that the longtime Yankee owner "followed a personal motto of the greatest form of charity is anonymity" and the laugh comes when you realize that the monument to Steinbrenner is more than twice the size of any of the other tributes in center field.

Yes, twice the size of Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, Berra and Mantle. Those are just five of the guys who created what Steinbrenner's plaque calls "the most recognizable sports brand in the world," a brand that Steinbrenner bought in 1973. Contrary to the legend they're selling, he didn't create it nor did he surpass any of the other men honored at the Stadium.

Speaking of the Stadium, we should probably be happy that they didn't just rename the entire thing after the late owner. The building really is a monument to him and his ability to leverage Rudy Giuliani's love for the Yankees and long simmering fear stoked by Big Stein that they'd move to Jersey into a grand new temple for baseball. Faced with that prospect, a garishly huge monument really is the lesser of two evils.

No one is arguing that Steinbrenner doesn't deserve his spot in Monument Park. He belongs there as surely as any of the five men mentioned above because he's an integral part of Yankee history. Anyone who knows that part of history knows that Steinbrenner doesn't do humility, regardless of what the plaque might say, so you can't be surprised by what resulted. That doesn't mean you have to like it, however.

There should have been a bit more forethought involved in the planning process so that Monday night's ceremony didn't wind up taking a museum devoted to Yankee history and turning it into a Steinbrenner family mausoleum.   

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse.com and ProFootballTalk.com in addition to his duties for NBCNewYork.com. You can follow him on Twitter.

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