Baseball history on display for fans at the new Yankee Stadium

In a previous article, analyzed one of the most glaring negatives of the new Yankee Stadium, autograph accessibility to both Yankee and visiting players. Today's piece will focus on how effectively the two-year old ballpark showcases the great history of our nation's most famous sports franchise.

The most noticeable and glaring homage to the team's history can be found when viewing the exterior facade of the building (pictured upper right and below). The limestone material and architectural design bear an uncanny resemblance to the original park's 1923 grand opening appearance. The main entrance gates to the stadium are situated via Babe Ruth Plaza, located alongside 161 Street.

Upon entering the ballpark via Gates 4 and 6, baseball fans find themselves inside what is known as the Great Hall. The centerpiece of this area is the Yankee player banners lined up and down its exterior wall. One side of each banner possesses black and white photography of players from earlier generations, while the opposite side of each banner highlights players of a more recent era through the use of color photography (both pictured below).

A brief walk up a ramp adjacent to the Great Hall leads fans towards the New York Yankees Museum Presented by Bank of America. This room features historic artifacts including World Series trophies (2009 trophy pictured below), as well as uniform displays commemorating New York City and Subway Series baseball and the life and career of the legendary Lou Gehrig.

The crown jewel of this museum is the collection of autograph baseballs from players and other prominent contributors to Yankee history. The team's goal is to garner a signature from every player who has ever donned the pinstripe uniform. Currently, the tally stands at 60 percent and climbing.  The coolest autographs are those of Ruth and Gehrig (both pictured below).

No trip to Yankee Stadium is complete without a tour of Monument Park. The Yankees did an excellent job of relocating this feature from the old stadium located across 161 Street. Highlights include the team's retired numbers and the monuments and plaques of these all-time great ballplayers (pictured below). Tuesday, the Yankees announced that recently deceased owner George M. Steinbrenner will be honored with a monument of his own prior to the September 20 game vs. the Tampa Bay Rays.

Love them or hate them, there is no questioning the Yankees significance in both sports history and American history. While the new stadium's energy and player accessibility does not come close to matching that of the old venue, the access to baseball lore is truly outstanding for a ballpark opened so recently in history.