The actor will sign a one-day, minor league contract with the New York Yankees and play in Thursday’s exhibition game against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Crystal, an avid Yankees fan, will work out with the team on Wednesday and will wear uniform No. 60 for the game—to be played one day before his 60th birthday. The Yankees said Monday they have the approval of baseball commissioner Bud Selig.
“I’ve been waiting 50 years for this call,” Crystal said in a statement released by the team. “I’m overwhelmed by the generosity of the Yankees and commissioner Selig. I know this’ll be tougher than the Broadway Softball League, but I’m looking forward to helping the younger players, which by the way is all of them. Oops, I have to go, Scott Boras is on the phone.”
Crystal, according to the Yankees hit .348 and was captain during his senior year at Long Beach High School in New York. He directed and produced “61*,” a move about Roger Maris, Mickey Mantle and the 1961 Yankees.
“The Yankees are excited to welcome the newest member of our team known for his humor and wit as well as his undying love for the Yankees,” chief operating officer Lonn Trost said.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi, after Monday night’s 4-0 win over Cincinnati, said he hasn’t determined what position Crystal will play.
“That remains to be seen,” Girardi said. “Obviously, it’s kind of exciting. Billy Crystal has done a lot for this organization. He’s always been a big part of it. Our way of rewarding him, saying thanks for everything that you’ve done.”
Country singer Garth Brooks has played in spring training games, helping raise money for his Touch ‘em All Foundation. He was 1-for-22 (.045) in 1999 with the San Diego Padres, 0-for-17 the following year with the New York Mets and 1-for-8 (.125) in 2004 with the Kansas City Royals.
He definitely deserves this after committing one of the greatest sins in professional sports: Becoming a Los Angeles Clippers fan.