Yanks Are a Monopoly
By Steve Zipay. STAFF WRITER
Gimme the ball, kid. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200 from The Boss.
Guess it was only a matter of time. A designer of specialty games has merged two American institutions: Monopoly and the Bronx Bombers.
In the New York Yankees Collector's Edition, which goes on sale this week, Babe Ruth replaces Park Place, and 12 other legends are represented on the board. Instead of the four railroads, there are three bases and home plate. The old-line utilities have transformed into MSG Network and WABC Radio. Three minor-league franchises, including Staten Island, have spots. Three of the pewter playing pieces are pinstriped-flavored: a pennant, a cap and a Yankee Frank. And naturally, the dice are midnight blue with white dots.
Although the real-estate costs in the original Monopoly sought to portray the differences in value, this is a more fanciful venture. Acquiring the Sultan of Swat will put you out $350; buying Yogi Berra costs only $50 less.
There's more for the Hall of Fame catcher to brag about, too. He'll introduce the game, which retails for $35, at the Yogi Berra Museum & Learning Center in Little Falls, N.J., on Tuesday, when he challenges members of his family. Proceeds from on-line sales of the game through yogiberramuseum.org will be donated to the museum's educational programs.
The Yankees edition, the latest of about 100 versions, was designed by USAopoly, a family-run Southern California company, and evolved from sports-themed editions linked to major events. The return of the Browns to Cleveland triggered an edition. So did the Super Bowl victories by the Broncos and Rams.
"Why the Yankees?" said Dane Chapin, the company president who grew up a Padres fan. "They're the most storied franchise; there are Yankee fans everywhere." The company also has other licenses, and is rolling out both Dodgers and Red Sox editions. However, there's no Mets game on deck. "Right now, we feel those three have a national following," he said. He did concede, however, that when his favorite team moves to a new ballpark in San Diego, there just might be an exception to that rule.
Besides Berra and Ruth, the other former Yankees around the board are Lou Gehrig, Don Larsen, Casey Stengel, Billy Martin, Tony Lazzeri, Roger Maris, Don Mattingly, Thurman Munson, Whitey Ford, Reggie Jackson and Phil Rizzuto.
Notable by their absence are Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle. Their families would not grant permission to use the players' likenesses, Chapin said.
One other famous likeness is missing: principal owner George Steinbrenner.
Why wasn't he pictured on the five-hundred-dollar bills? "He owns all the money," Chapin said.
26 in '00