Yankees celebrate career of six black legends with Bronx outdoor murals

Aaron Judge and CC Sabathia are in front of the Yankees' Bronx outdoor mural on April 24, 2024.
Michael Bennington
Thursday April 25, 2024

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Yankee Stadium has witnessed countless baseball icons throughout its illustrious history. Now, six of these legends – Willie Randolph, Reggie Jackson, Dave Winfield, Derek Jeter, CC Sabathia, and Aaron Judge – have been immortalized just outside its gates on the streets of the Bronx.

A collaborative effort between the Bronx Children’s Museum, The Players Alliance, the New York Yankees, and Bronx Terminal Market resulted in the unveiling of a new outdoor mural titled “Exhibiting Possibilities: Legendary Yankees.” This permanent installation celebrates the enduring legacy of these living Black baseball stars, each a giant in their own right and a significant contributor to the Yankees’ storied past.

The unveiling ceremony saw the presence of several key figures. Curtis Granderson, former Yankee and current president of The Players Alliance, emphasized the profound impact these murals could have on young visitors to the children’s museum. He specifically highlighted the importance of representation, stating how seeing individuals who resemble them achieving greatness can fuel a child’s own aspirations. Granderson further stressed the significance of honoring these players while they’re still actively contributing to the sport, allowing them to witness the appreciation firsthand and fostering a more tangible connection for future generations.

Joining Judge, Randolph, Winfield, and Sabathia at the ceremony were Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, Deputy Bronx Borough President Janet Peguero, and Bronx Children’s Museum executive director Denise Rosario Adusei.

Commissioner Manfred expressed hope that the murals would serve as a universal source of inspiration, encouraging every child who sees them to chase their dreams, both within the realm of baseball and beyond. He reiterated MLB’s unwavering commitment to showcasing the excellence of Black players and recognizing their invaluable contributions to the sport’s rich history.

Addressing the young audience present, Cashman emphasized the importance of inspiration. He spoke about the aim of the initiative – to serve as a daily motivator for these youngsters as they encounter the murals. He stressed the power of showcasing greatness as a means of igniting passion in future generations and expressed pride in being a part of this initiative that honors these legendary players.

“Today is about inspiring you as you walk down the streets or drive by these murals to see what greatness is, to inspire, to motivate, to set the stage for the future, to know that you can walk in the same path that they’ve walked,” Cashman said. “We’re really proud to be a part of it.”

Bronx Children’s Museum unveils Yankees legends’ mural

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The unveiling ceremony for the “Exhibiting Possibilities: Legendary Yankees” mural wasn’t just about the art itself. Several prominent figures from the baseball world joined the celebration.

Edwin Jackson, co-founder of The Players Alliance, was present alongside former MLB player Mike Cameron. MLB Network personalities Harold Reynolds and Chris Young also added their star power to the event.

Jackson highlighted the mural’s significance, stating it represented a permanent and powerful testament to the achievements of these legendary players. He emphasized the murals’ role in inspiring future generations and stressed the importance of players feeling valued and recognized for their contributions to the game.

The artwork itself features pairs of Yankees greats. The first mural depicts Willie Randolph alongside the legendary Reggie Jackson. The middle panel showcases Derek Jeter paired with Dave Winfield, whose career significantly inspired Jeter to establish his Turn 2 Foundation. The final mural features the dynamic duo of CC Sabathia and Aaron Judge, both of whom were clearly thrilled posing in front of their respective portraits.

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Sabathia expressed his heartfelt gratitude for the mural tribute, describing it as a surreal and humbling experience. He spoke about the immense honor of being showcased alongside iconic figures like Judge, Jeter, and Reggie Jackson, highlighting the lasting impact such a recognition has on players.

Winfield echoed Sabathia’s sentiment, expressing his deep appreciation for this special recognition. He acknowledged the mural’s significance in solidifying his legacy, his connection to the Bronx community, and his profound impact on baseball history. Winfield shared that simply being informed of his inclusion in the exhibit was a profoundly meaningful moment for him.

“It’s a special honor,” Winfield said. “I have a legacy, a history, a relationship with the Bronx, New York and baseball. When they told me that they wanted to do this exhibit and that I would be a part of it, it’s very special.”

The artistic talent behind the murals belongs to Bronx-born artist André Trenier. Trenier described the opportunity as an incredible honor. He expressed his gratitude for the chance to contribute to the visual landscape of his hometown and praised the initiative for its positive influence in encouraging Black youth to embrace baseball.

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These murals represent the first phase of a planned series by the Bronx Children’s Museum. Museum director Denise Rosario Adusei eagerly anticipated the unveiling, emphasizing The Players Alliance’s dedication to ensuring Black children see themselves reflected in the world of baseball.

Rosario Adusei stressed the importance of inspiring children to dream big and witness real-time examples of their aspirations being celebrated. She underscored the significance of featuring living legends on the murals – a powerful reminder to young people that with dedication and perseverance, their baseball dreams can become reality.

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