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Yankee Stadium opens its arms to a World Icon late President Mandela
Apr. 24, 2014
New York Yankees a household name in world baseball and the most successful franchise in MLB history, showed its strength by bridging the divide and associating itself with a world leader who famously declared, " You know who I am, I am a Yankee" These words were immortalized in Monument Park and stands as a reinforcement and reminder that greatness is a product of humility, commitment to justice and respect for all mankind.
Mandela's place in the hallowed baseball park is more than just an acknowledgement for his efforts to bring about change through peace. Its more than the reward of the Nobel Prize. His plaque is a huge challenge to baseball in South Africa and the rest of Africa to strive endlessly to produce a Yankee that will grace the field as an MLB player.
The Yankee honoring "Madiba” is visionary but not without responsibility. As long as the plague shines on the stadium his voice rings out loud through the corridors and board rooms. His final peace and rest will only be attained when he hears the words "I am a Yankee" uttered from the mouth of one of his sons of Africa who one day wears the beloved Yankee uniform as a player. His life sought not honor and accolades, rather the advancement of his nation’s people. This dream will haunt the stadium till the goal is realized. Every African baseball player is faced with responsibility to take up the challenge of the leader has thrown down. His dreams can only be fulfilled in us.
It’s ironic that the initiator of the idea of the plaque was the labor union Hector Figueroa- President of the 32BJ Service Employees Union, an admirer and believer in the principles Mandela strongly represented. Figueroa approached the Steinbrenner family and the idea was borne to honor his icon.
The emotional unveiling was witnessed by Chatterbox as a guest and part of the delegation invited to the ceremony. The challenge is inspirational and will form the focus of Chatterbox's commitment to South African baseball and to be part of the collective effort through partnerships to achieve the end goal.
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