Bidding farewell to old Yankee Stadium

September 19, 2008 3:20:47 PM PDT
As the Yankees prepare to play their last game in the House that Ruth built, Bobby Murcer and George Steinbrenner are added to the Yankees mural and a sign is hoisted into place at the new Yankees stadium.The New York Yankees plan to unveil and lift into place massive "Yankee Stadium" lettering over the entrance to its new ball field in the Bronx.

The blue letters are slated to be hoisted into place by a crane beginning early Friday morning at Gate 4 at 161st Street and Jerome Avenue.

The team's new stadium is going up across the street from its 85-year-old venue, where the Yankees will play for the last time on Sunday. The new ballpark will open in 2009.

The original Yankees Stadium opened April 18, 1923.

Bobby Murcer Added to Yankees Mural

On Thursday, Ray Negron, George Steinbrenner's special assistant, was back in the Bronx to help put finishing touches on likenesses of Steinbrenner and player and broadcaster Bobby Murcer on a mural next to the stadium. The two Yankee greats were added to a wall that already includes images of Mickey Mantle, Thurman Munson, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and other stars who played in pinstripes.

Negron said he felt he had come full circle by working on the mural, and he wanted to send a message to Steinbrenner and the Yankees in the historic ballpark's final week.

"This is a way of being able to say thank you," he said, moments after helping complete the Steinbrenner image. Fans heading to the stadium stopped by and snapped pictures as the mural was finished.

It shows Steinbrenner looking at the Yankee players with his arm around a little boy, representing the many children he has helped over the years.

Murcer died of brain cancer in July at 62. The only Yankee to play with both Mantle and Don Mattingly, he had a distinguished career on the field before moving to the broadcast booth.

New York plays its final game in Yankee Stadium on Sunday before the park is torn down. The team is building a new stadium across the street.

But the mural will last.

"This wall isn't going anywhere anytime soon," Negron said.