According to the New York Daily News, the Yankees were one of a “handful” of MLB teams that hadn’t had an event celebrating the LGBTQ community before Tuesday’s ceremony. But they marked the anniversary of the Stonewall uprising before Tuesday’s game against the Blue Jays, with players CC Sabathia and Dellin Betances and GM Brian Cashman posing for photos with the Stonewall Inn’s co-owners and a witness to the 1969 uprising.
The team also established a scholarship benefiting LGBTQ public school students in New York, with one winner from each borough.
“It’s incredible. It means everything. It really symbolizes human rights,” Stacy Lentz, the co-owner of the Stonewall Inn who attended the event, told the Associated Press. “Stonewall Inn is part of that human rights story, but it is overwhelming to see it next to Jackie Robinson and Nelson Mandela.”
The Yankees had worked with Lentz and fellow Stonewall owner Kurt Kelly on the event, but the plaque — sitting in the same area as monuments to Yankees greats such as Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle, MLB trailblazer Jackie Robinson and world figures such as Mandela, who visited the stadium in 1990 after his release from a South African prison — was not something they anticipated.
“We were surprised. It was a total and complete shock,” Lentz said. “They said it was hard for them to keep a secret from us because we’ve worked with them for a while.”
Said Yankees Manager Aaron Boone: “You wear this uniform, you work for this organization, it carries a lot of weight and I think it’s important that as an organization we welcome everyone not only to work for this franchise, but from a fan base. We want people from all walks of life to feel like this is a place that they can come and feel comfortable, feel safe, feel good about Yankee Stadium and the Yankees as an organization.”