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Everything you ever wanted to know about ballplayer statues

Sep 21, 2011, 1:30 PM EDT

Kirby Puckett statue

Statues of baseball players: they’re not just the place where you meet your buddy who has the extra ticket or a convenient location for the pigeons to poop. They’re actually becoming an increasingly popular fixture in ballparks, and the New York Times is on it.  (They’re always ON IT, actually).

For reasons that I can’t quite explain, but likely having to do with a fear of mortality and all of that, I have never been able to avoid thinking of Percy Bysshe Shelley’s “Ozymandias” whenever I see a statue of some historical figure. I realize that the idea is to immortalize these men and women and serve as a reminder of their feats, but I always get an image of Earth in the post-Martian invasion, with these statutes consisting of two vast and trunkless legs of stone. Or bronze. Or whatever. It feels like we’re trying too hard to fight against time and deep in my heart, I know we’ll never win.

Sorry. I’ll admit that this is my particular neurosis, so I’ll just move along now.

Less morosely, I found the description of how some of the artists make these ballplayer statues to be quite neat. The examples of those crafted with reference to live models, as opposed to photos, are pretty cool:

Cella supplied a plastic bat for Thomas (White Sox) so he could hold his position, with arms extended. Robin Roberts (Phillies) had turned 80 when he mimicked his pitching style for Frudakis, and Harmon Killebrew (Twins) posed in his 70s for Mack. The son of Richie Ashburn (Phillies) stood in for his deceased father. Mack was driving when he spotted a man with a body shape similar to that of the deceased Kirby Puckett. The stranger became the model for Puckett.

I wonder if the stranger was flattered or insulted. Great ballplayer. Not the best body shape ever, though his statue is rather flattering.

Anyway, neat read.

  1. halladaysbiceps - Sep 21, 2011 at 1:34 PM

    30 years from now, there will be a statue of Ryan Howard along the 1st base side at CBP. I will tell all that I saw the greatest 1st baseman in Phillies history play.

    • bennoj - Sep 21, 2011 at 1:46 PM

      I have a feeling you’re trolling for a response saying that the statue is there at first base right now. But I won’t indulge you.

      • halladaysbiceps - Sep 21, 2011 at 1:50 PM

        Your feeling is incorrect. The Ryan Howard statue idea was the first thing that came to my mind while reading this article. As far as the Ryan Howard is a statue remark, I’ll let that slide and let Ryan’s improved defense at 1st speak for itself.

    • 12strikes - Sep 21, 2011 at 2:02 PM

      30 year from now would mean CBP is is 37 years old. Shelf Life is about 20-25 years for a ball park.
      By then you’ll be looking at the statue at Google Park, on the site of the old Link.

      • halladaysbiceps - Sep 21, 2011 at 2:05 PM

        Actually, I think CBP can last 60-70 years. It’s not a maintenance nightmare like the old “cookie cutter” stadiums built in the 70’s. Hell, Fenway and Wrigley have been around for a 100 years. I don’t think 60-70 years is far fetched.

      • clydeserra - Sep 21, 2011 at 3:16 PM

        Why would Kodos allow CBP and the false Howard idol occupy prime factory space?

      • schmedley69 - Sep 21, 2011 at 9:52 PM

        20-25 years? That would mean that Baltimore should start breaking ground on the replacement for Camden Yards? I doubt that will be happening anytime soon.

    • jwbiii - Sep 21, 2011 at 3:32 PM

      No love for Fred Luderus?

    • tomemos - Sep 21, 2011 at 4:40 PM

      It’s kind of pathetic that the greatest first baseman in Phillies history wasn’t one of the three best first basemen during his own era.

      • SocraticGadfly - Jul 24, 2014 at 9:48 PM

        It’s also kind of pathetic that Pete Rose had better defense at first, as a Phillies 1B.

  2. illcomm - Sep 21, 2011 at 1:40 PM

    Hi Craig. Could you please find a way to highlight your articles, so that I don’t waste my time clicking into them. They are, for the most part, utterly boring and pointless.

    • halladaysbiceps - Sep 21, 2011 at 1:43 PM

      I guess you don’t like articles about statues.

    • Jonny 5 - Sep 21, 2011 at 1:46 PM

      pssst. Just read the name under the title, nit wit.

    • nategearhart - Sep 21, 2011 at 1:48 PM

      Such valuable time you have; much too precious to waste commenting on a worthless article by a writer you don’t like….
      ….wait….

  3. Jonny 5 - Sep 21, 2011 at 1:54 PM

    Philly has them all over the place.

    http://t.co/id5oFvPp

    • halladaysbiceps - Sep 21, 2011 at 2:00 PM

      Did you take that picture when you were at the game yesterday?

      • Jonny 5 - Sep 21, 2011 at 2:17 PM

        Yeah, the boy likes those nasty things. Always climbing on them.

  4. acheron2112 - Sep 21, 2011 at 2:26 PM

    Ok, that went to a weird place.

    The article doesn’t mention Nationals Park, with its Hindu-deity-style multi-armed statues.

    • nolanwiffle - Sep 21, 2011 at 2:40 PM

      I was very much looking forward to seeing the statue of Hondo when the Park opened. Needless to say, I was somewhat disappointed. What was supposed to convey movement………..doesn’t.

      • natstowngreg - Sep 21, 2011 at 10:16 PM

        Agreed. They are good for breaking up the space of Centerfield Plaza though. It was great for the Nats to honor Josh Gibson with a statue, part of the team embracing Washington’s Negro Leagues past.

  5. drewmunny - Sep 21, 2011 at 2:27 PM

    And here I always thought Oxymandias was just that rich pretty-boy from Watchmen (the graphic novel, never watched the movie). I’m impressed. Best I can come up with for any kind of reference is old song lyrics. Usually early 80’s punk. That might have some bearing on why I have so few friends, either that or its because I’m a Yankees fan. Hmm.

  6. thefalcon123 - Sep 21, 2011 at 4:15 PM

    True story:

    After he retired in 2001, the Cardinals had a statue of Mark McGwire made, to be put up and unveiled upon his election to the hall of fame. It still in storage…

    …this is one of those cases were it was a bad idea to count your chickens.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/04/sports/baseball/04statue.html

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