Report: Yanks greats on field at finale
NY Times says team legends to take field at former positions
NEW YORK -- Everyone involved agrees that Sunday's sendoff celebration for Yankee Stadium will be something special to behold, an event -- and an evening -- befitting the building's grandeur and place in the history of American sports.
But there have been precious few officially released details of the ceremonies to precede Yankee Stadium's final game, an 8:05 p.m. ET matchup between the Yankees and Orioles to be televised nationally on ESPN.
The Yankees plan to unveil further details later in the week, but The New York Times reported Tuesday that one planned part of the ceremony will be the introduction of Yankees greats who will go to their former position, a gesture largely similar to the grand opportunity that preceded the July 15 All-Star Game.
Instead of sending the greatest living Hall of Famers out to each position on the field, however, the lineup will be completely -- and appropriately -- filled by Yankees, lending a touch of the annual Old-Timers Day festivities, except under a prime-time spotlight.
"I'm going to second base," longtime Yankees infielder Bobby Richardson told The Times. "I've been told there will be fewer of us than there were at Old-Timers' Day and there might be more than one of us at each position."
Those Yankees greats who have died will be represented by their family members, according to the newspaper, which suggested that one of Mickey Mantle's sons, Danny or David, could be in center field, while one of Roger Maris' sons could go to right field.
The widow of Thurman Munson, Diane Munson, said that her son, Michael, would join Yogi Berra at home plate. Arlene Howard is also expected to be there, representing her husband, Elston Howard.
Bernie Williams, a four-time World Series winner with the club, has also confirmed his attendance.
"I'm sure it's going to be pretty special," Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter said. "I don't know what they have planned -- I haven't heard anything, so I don't know what to expect. But I know they're going to do it right."
The Yankees would not discuss elements of the celebration. With the entire homestand expected to be played before sellout crowds, the final game will have a sentimental choice for the starting pitcher, as manager Joe Girardi has tabbed left-hander Andy Pettitte to take the ball.
Of the members of New York's starting rotation, Pettitte has arguably the strongest attachment to Yankee Stadium -- his 94 victories at home are the most of any Yankees pitcher since Ron Guidry (99), since the building was remodeled for the 1976 season.
The Yankees have played half of their 10-game homestand to close out Yankee Stadium and will move into a new stadium across 161st Street for the 2009 season.
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.