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Thursday, September 8, 2011

WHEN HONORING BASEBALL HEROES GOES REALLY WRONG

Can someone explain to me why the worst, ugliest highway, the West Side Highway in New York City is named after one of the greatest New York Yankees that has ever lived? Yes, it’s true, Joe DiMaggio Highway, also known as the West Side Highway may have a beautiful view of the mucky Hudson river and New Jersey, but the road itself is a potholed, abandoned-car death trap and I’m sorry, that’s not how Joe DiMaggio needs to be remembered. Then mayor Rudy Giuliani changed it's name in 1999, read about it HERE. I have never agreed with the idea.

Joe DiMaggio to this day still holds the longest hitting streak record in Major League history, 56 games and to me, we need to come up with a gorgeous statue and unveil it next to one of Derek Jeter in front of the new Yankee Stadium or something...again, the West Side Highway?? Or, how’s this? a gorgeous ball field in Central park for kids to play baseball, or a school or baseball academy. Something, anything is better than the West Side highway.

Similarly, in the back roads of Rutherford, New Jersey there are some real shitty roads surrounded by hotels and Meadowlands weeds and suddenly, on the side of a potholed blacktop slab of street is another sign that reads, Larry Doby Highway. OK, are you kidding? Larry Doby was not only the first African American the play baseball is the American League, he was the second African American behind Jackie Robinson to break the color barrier and this is how we honor him? A street dedication and you just happen to stumble by the sign on the side of the street? It’s disgraceful. Read about that HERE.

Look, Bleeding Yankee Blue isn’t powerful enough to have these signs removed and new landmarks replace them in a better, more memorable location like parks, or stadiums, but we can make a stink. At Target Field, there is a statue of the great Rod Carew, it's in the right place, in front of a stadium where his former team plays. It's viewed by millions who take pictures of it and honor a great ballplayer, why can't we do the same for Joe DiMaggio and Larry Doby?

(Rod Carew Statue at Target Field in Minneapolis-Getty)

Yes, it’s true, the highway dedications were good intentioned, but in this "hustle and bustle" of the world these days, the infrastructure breaks down and with it, memories are forgotten. Bottom line, our Joe DiMaggio and Larry Doby dedications are part of the infrastructure and they've broken down too. If there is a staff dedicated to preserving these landmarks, they’ve failed. If there isn’t, there needs to be.

Bottom line, Joe DiMaggio and Larry Doby deserve something better, don't they?

Please comment and let me know what you think and follow me on Twitter @BleednYankeeBlu and join the group Bleeding Yankee Blue on Facebook, just type it in.

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