View Mobile Site

Yankees honor Nelson Mandela

Delayed ceremony commemorates his speech from 1990

Text Size: Small Large Medium
POSTED April 17, 2014 12:48 a.m.

NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Yankees honored Nelson Mandela on Wednesday night during their rain-delayed celebration of the legacy of Jackie Robinson, another icon of social change.

The grandson of South Africa’s first black president, Zondwa Mandela, and Robinson’s widow, Rachel, helped unveil a plaque commemorating Mandela’s 1990 speech at the old Yankee Stadium. It hangs next to the tribute to Jackie Robinson in Monument Park beyond center field at the current ballpark.

Robinson broke the color barrier in the major leagues in 1947 with the Brooklyn Dodgers.

The ceremony was pushed back a day to Wednesday because the game between New York and the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday — Jackie Robinson Day around baseball — was postponed by rain.

The plaque features a portrait of Mandela and a dedication.

“Able to fill the shoes of our grandfather. That is not why we are here. It’s simply symbolic to the fact that we all make up a piece of his magnificent work. I and family, just like all of you who are here, are just a custodian of his legacy,” Zondwa Mandela said before the ceremony.

“The efforts of the Robinson family, the efforts of our grandfather, should continue to give us a sense that the efforts of today are not supposed to reflect on our experience today,” he continued, “but rather that they are for the lives to follow, the generations to come.”

Yankee captain Derek Jeter presented the Mandela family and Rachel Robinson with a replica of the plaque at home plate prior to the game.

It reads: “Nelson Mandela 1918-2013. Nobel Peace Prize winner and global leader whose timeless efforts dismantled apartheid in South Africa. As President of his country, he would use South Africa’s enthusiasm for sports as a unifying force for reconciliation. On June 21, 1990, he made a memorable visit to the original Yankee Stadium and proclaimed, “You know who I am. I am a Yankee.”

Astros’ George
Springer to make debut

HOUSTON (AP) — Highly touted prospect George Springer made his major league debut on Wednesday night, batting second and playing right field for the Houston Astros.

He’s the first of a group of top prospects expected to help the Astros back to respectability after three straight 100-loss seasons. But he’s trying not to put too much pressure on himself.

“I have to understand who I am as a player and I understand what I can do, and just go out there and treat this like it’s any other game ... and try to help the Houston Astros win,” he said.

The 24-year-old outfielder had 37 homers and 108 RBIs with 45 stolen bases combined in Double-A and Triple-A last year. He was off to a strong start in Triple-A this season, too, hitting .353 with three homers and nine RBIs.

There was a buzz around the ballpark on Wednesday with Springer’s arrival. The hashtag ‘SpringerDay’ was trending on Twitter in Houston and fans were excitedly tweeting all day about his debut.

General manager Jeff Luhnow was a little giddy about Springer’s call-up, too.

“We don’t want to rest all our hopes on one player, but he’s a pretty good player and there’s more behind him,” Luhnow said.

“If he does well, I think it will lift our team (which) is now struggling a little bit and lift our city’s spirits and give us hope that there’s more like him coming. That’s exciting. That’s what we’ve been working for.”

Springer was selected 11th overall by the Astros out of UConn in the 2011 amateur draft. Manager Bo Porter said he will be Houston’s everyday right fielder.

Boesch called up by
Angels, Calhoun on DL

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — The Los Angeles Angels have placed outfielder Kole Calhoun on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday because of a sprained ligament in his right ankle and selected outfielder Brennan Boesch to the major league roster.

Calhoun is batting .250 with three homers and six RBIs in 14 games. He had been playing right field in place of injured slugger Josh Hamilton. Calhoun is expected to miss 4-6 weeks after rolling in his ankle in the 11th inning of the Angels’ 10-9 loss to Oakland on Tuesday night.

Boesch, who signed with the Angels in January as a free agent, began the season with Triple-A Salt Lake. He played in 23 games last year with Yankees after spending his first three big league seasons with Detroit.

Padres 3B Headley sidelined with strained biceps

SAN DIEGO (AP) — San Diego Padres third baseman Chase Headley was out of Wednesday night’s starting lineup against Colorado because of a strained right biceps.

Headley was injured in the batting cage before Tuesday night’s game against the Rockies, according to Padres manager Bud Black. Headley went 0 for 4, dropping his average to .160 with one homer and four RBIs.

Headley was slowed by a strained right calf during spring training and missed the first 14 games last season because of a fractured left thumb. He led the NL with 115 RBIs in 2012.

Alexi Amarista started at third base in place of Headley. San Diego’s Yonder Alonso, usually a first baseman. took ground balls at third base before the game.

Commenting is not available.

Commenting not available.

Please wait ...