In Bizarre Baseball Culture, I take a look at some of the more unusual places where baseball has reared it’s head in pop culture and fiction.
Sometimes, baseball plays a role in a piece of fiction, but not really a big enough one where I can do a full piece on it. Take Marvel, for example. The fact that 95% of their heroes are in New York City means that there are plenty of stories where heroes or villains visit Yankee Stadium but where their visit isn’t long enough or baseball-focused enough to really justify giving them the full Bizarre Baseball Culture treatment.
So, this time, I’m killing many birds with one stone and showcasing some of Yankee Stadium’s appearances in Marvel comics. Go below the jump to see some of them:
Incredible Hulk #103 trashes Yankee Stadium
Unlike some of the later things here, the fight between Hulk and the Space Parasite at Yankee Stadium actually is fairly long and is more than a mere cameo. However, the most baseball-related of the panels is this first one when they land at Yankee Stadium, if only because Stan Lee (who was now a editor instead of a writer) goes out of his way to explain where the 1968 Yankees are at the time (playing a exhibition against the Mets).
Tales To Astonish #18 also trashes Yankee Stadium
Waaay back in 1961, before Marvel’s “Silver Age” got going, the two things that Marvel printed were romance comics and monster-on-the-loose sci-fi comics. This is from one of the Sci-Fi Comics, Tales to Astonish (which would later be turned into a superhero comic that would introduce Ant-Man), and it features “Gorgilla” (drawn by Jack Kirby) totally ruining the Yankee Stadium playing surface:
Amazing Spider-Man #564 has a car chase go by Yankee Stadium
Amazing Spider-Man #594 ruins Legends Day
As I’ve said in other Bizarre Baseball Culture installments, Spider-Man is a Mets fan, fitting with the fact that Spidey is basically the Marvel Universe’s punching-bag, much like how the Mets are the punching bag for every baseball fan on the internet looking for a easy joke (guilty).
So, not surprisingly, his relationship with the Yankees and their fans in the Marvel Universe is… less than positive. Like after he saves them from a Vulture-wannabe, this happens:
Fantastic Four (V.3) #6 has a spread in which Mr. Fantastic and his son go to a game
You probably can’t read much, but from this Chris Claremont/Salvador LaRocca spread basically shows Reed Richards and his son Franklin attend a game in a 1997 issue of FF. Notice how Reed uses his stretching ability to help Franklin grab a ball, something Reed would later do something very similar to in one of the Marvel/AAA Baseball crossovers.
Captain America #377 comes from arguably the Yankees’ worst era
The very early 1990s and very late 1980s were the lowest point of the New York Yankees. For example, in 1990 they finished 67-95! No doubt this futility was what this little panel from a Captain America comic from that year was referencing.
New Yankee Stadium went overbudget because Nick Fury built a giant secret base underneath
During a multi-series plotline during the later part of the first decade this century, it was revealed that Nick Fury had a secret base, code name “Home Run”, underneath the New Yankee Stadium. And we learned the horrible truth as to why the stadium was so damn expensive to build in 2009’s Thunderbolts #135:
Miguel Angel Sepulveda did 135, while Carlos Rodriguez did the art in 136. Notice how despite explicitly being the new Yankee Stadium, it still looks like the old stadium, at least in Rodriguez’s exterior in 136.
This is likely because of the long lead-time it takes to make comic books. Since this book came out in 2009, it’s entirely possible that when this art was first drawn the new stadium hadn’t been fully built yet. Or maybe Rodriguez was just using the wrong reference photos.
To be fair to Rodriguez, though, Yankee Stadium was looking a bit anachronistic in Secret Warriors #8 and #9, which tied in with the Thunderbolts series:
And, finally, a 2003 Weapon X (V.2) #9 panel has the best location note ever:
NEXT TIME ON BIZARRE BASEBALL CULTURE: Uhhh… I’m not sure yet. I’ll think of something though.
Previously on BIzarre Baseball Culture:
Prologue: “Rockets on the Mound” (short story)
20. Shortstop Squad
21. Cosmic Slam
23. Mariners Mojo
32. Mr. Go
36. Dick Cole
45. Yankee Stadium in Marvel Comics (you are here)