Wednesday, May 11, 2011

End of an era as Monahan calls it quits

The New York Yankees will lose one of their most beloved members when Gene Monahan calls it quits.

Monahan, who will retire at the end of this baseball season, has been the one constant in the Yankees universe over the last five decades, even through the George Steinbrenner era when no one was safe. How Monahan managed to survive the Boss I’ll never know. Perhaps it has to do with the steadiness and selflessness that has earned him the respect and love of most of the hundreds of baseball players that have walked into the Yankees clubhouse during his tenure.

I’ll never forget Opening Day 2010 at Yankee Stadium. That game was memorable for me for a number of reasons: it was the first game I was attending with my brother John since we were kids; the Yankees were raising the World Series championship banner. A number of great on-the-field moments happened even before the baseball game, including the loud thank you and good-bye greeting Hideki Matsui received as a member of the visiting Los Angeles Angels.

But my favorite moment of the pre-game ceremony was Monahan walking out to receive his ring from Joe Girardi, Yogi Berra and Whitey Ford and receiving a thunderous, extended standing ovation from the Yankees’ faithful, a moment that reduced Monahan to tears. The thunderous applause was given to a great man battling cancer, but was really about the nearly 50 years of devoted service Monahan has given to the Yankees, and by extension, their fans.

After giving so much, Monahan has decided it’s time to go home. It's truly the end of an era.

Godspeed, Geno!

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