NEW YORK — Some very big, familiar pieces of New York City sports history are going on the auction block — courtesy of a baseball star.
The 10-foot high letters that spelled “Yankee Stadium” atop the original Bronx ballpark are being offered for sale at Sotheby's on April 1. The auction house has estimated that the letters will sell for $300,000 to $600,000.
The owner is Yankee legend Reggie Jackson.
Mr. October bought the letters after the Yankees' last game at the stadium in 2008. They had adorned the ballpark, which was built in 1923, since 1976, so they were there when Jackson hit three consecutive home runs in the sixth game of the 1977 World Series.
The 68-year-old Hall of Famer, at spring training with the Yankees in Tampa, Florida, said through Sotheby's that he wanted “a new generation to own and enjoy this icon of the Yankees and of New York City.”
“There were a few items I wanted to purchase before the old Yankee Stadium was torn down, including my old locker and a section of the black bleachers off of centerfield,” he added. “But I kept thinking about the stadium lettering, and if there was any way for me to own it. I ended up making an offer and was thrilled when it was accepted. It's been a privilege to own such a recognizable piece of baseball history.”
Sotheby's would not say how much Jackson paid for the letters.
Potential buyers will have to think about where to put the monumental letters. They range from 2 to 10 feet in width. They light up electric blue and are constructed of aluminum casing with Plexiglas inserts.
The “N'' and “Y'' will be displayed on the seventh floor of Sotheby's Manhattan galleries beginning March 26.
They will be part of Sotheby's “New York Sale” auction of photos, prints, jewelry and other city-related material.