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Storefronts by Yankee Stadium Now Boast All-Star Lineup of Baseball Murals

By Eddie Small | November 13, 2014 12:23pm
 Murals of baseball legends now adorn the storefronts surrounding Yankee Stadium.
Baseball Murals
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CONCOURSE — It started with just Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, but now a full lineup of baseball legends adorns the walls of local businesses surrounding Yankee Stadium.

Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Reggie Jackson, Yogi Berra, Elston Howard — all painted by Lexi Bella and Danielle Mastrion — and even non-Yankees, like Roberto Clemente and Satchel Paige, have now joined Ruth and Gehrig with the support of the 161st Street Business Improvement District.

A mural of Mickey Mantle should be arriving shortly as well, according to the BID's executive director Cary Goodman.

The BID originally thought they would just get to do murals of Ruth, Gehrig and Jeter, but once local businesses saw the first three, they got excited about the idea and wanted more, said Goodman.

“It shows that there is a spirit in the neighborhood that is embracing the idea of having public art,” he said.

The Jeter mural went up near Stan's Bar shortly after the murals of Ruth and Gehrig in July, while the murals of Jackson and Rivera went up in August by 161st Street and River Avenue.

Berra and Howard got their mural in October at 161st Street and Gerard Avenue, and Clemente and Paige just went up across the street on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively.

Clemente, who was born in Puerto Rico and played for the Pittsburgh Pirates, had won a survey for people's favorite non-Yankee to get a mural, while Paige won a survey for people's favorite Negro League player, according to Goodman.

The Clemente mural is right next to the Crown Diner, and owner Peter Katsihtis said he appreciated that it gave the building some flair.

"It gives the neighborhood some kind of prestige, baseball prestige," he said.

Berra and Howard are right by the Yankee Tavern, and people have stopped to take pictures on an almost daily basis, according to owner Joe Bastone.

The murals may be helping to improve sales at local shops as well, he said.

"Any time you draw traffic, you have the potential to increase business for any of the stores here," said Bastone.

Bronx artist André Trainer painted the murals of Clemente and Paige and said he was grateful for the chance to do so.

"I was born and raised in The Bronx," he said, "so any opportunity to paint in my borough is great."

Trainer's work caused many passersby to pause their walks and express their approval.

Jose Oropeza, 68, cheerfully shouted "Clemente! Clemente!" as soon as he spotted the mural on Tuesday, and he predicted others would be happy to see it as well.

"He's got a special place in our hearts, in every Puerto Rican's heart," he said.

Ellis Rodriguez, 58, said he felt the same way.

"Clemente is the best because he represented the Latino community," he said, "Everybody wants to be like him."