Stan Lee, the legendary writer, editor and co-founder of Marvel Comics, died at 95 on Monday in Los Angeles. The "real-life superhero" had a key hand in creating one of the most impressive comic-book universes ever, and his cameos in Marvel films only added to his legacy. Lee was born in New York City in 1922, so naturally, he grew up a fan of the Yankees.
Lee liked talking Yankees, and he also liked sneaking Yankee Stadium into his comics.
Meetings all follow the same routine. Gotta begin with "How about them Yankees?" Then some business. Then you look at your watch. G'bye.— stan lee (@TheRealStanLee) November 9, 2009
Of course, based on Yankee Stadium's appearances, you'd think he hated it. The Incredible Hulk and Gorgilla both destroyed the stadium, a car chase led Spider-Man by it, Spider-Man ruined Legends Day and got a game cancelled (much to the pleasure of J. Jonah Jameson) and the Yankees got smoked in their own stadium by the Red Sox.
Then again, the new Yankee Stadium was a secret base, which kind of makes up for it.
Lee threw out the first pitch at a Rangers game in 2016, and it was shockingly not bad for someone throwing at 93 years old.
As always, however, Lee's words were the real inspiration of the night.
"I wish it was better, I couldn't quite reach the plate," he said. "But my heart was in it, and that's all that matters -- I had the right intention."
Lee went as far as to change his allegiance for the Rangers, and he said The Hulk could take Rougned Odor. Jose Bautista may think otherwise.
Lee's positivity was absolutely palpable.
The Oakland Athletics also offered a small tribute for the legendary creator.
Lee clearly had an impact on sports, and they had an impact on him. There have been tons of references to Marvel's characters in the past, including Victor Oladipo's "Black Panther" dunk last year:
Marvel has also looked to sports for inspiration. It once created "The Brooklyn Knight" for the Nets. While the knight didn't live long, it was an effort to cross two giant subcultures.
The influence that sports had on Lee's life was clear, and Lee and Marvel's influence on sports expanded as the universe got larger. Seeing all of these characters come into the mainstream and become such a mainstay in popular culture has been incredible. Lee always loved what he did, and he was always incredibly excited to be the face of it.
When the second part of "Avengers: Infinity War" comes out, expect a crazy tribute to Lee and his brand's influence on modern movie-making. And expect plenty of tributes to Lee from teams that like to claim their own players are superheroes in their own right, something Marvel made cooler than ever.