Reporting Kai Jackson
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — One artist’s love of sports and history combine in a chance to cast O’s players in bronze.
As Kai Jackson explains, his work is at the center of a new tribute to honor the Orioles’ six Hall of Famers.
A courtyard at Camden Yards used to be part of a picnic area. This weekend, it will morph into a garden of greats, when the Orioles honor its six Hall of Fame players with six bronze statues.
The Orioles commissioned sculptor Toby Mendez to create the bronze statues. It took him more than a year to sculpt and cast the sports figures. The Orioles will unveil Frank Robinson’s image first on Saturday.
“We’re creating something that will last for generations so it’s very important to me that it’s very faithful and honors the person in the proper way,” said Mendez.
Mendez isn’t saying much about what the statues look like. As a matter of fact, he can’t. The Orioles want to keep that a secret. Once a month, they’ll unveil a Hall of Famer on one of these slabs. The last one will be Cal Ripken Jr. That happens on Sept. 6, the anniversary that he passed Lou Gehrig’s record.
“A lot of movement out here and it’s going to be exciting on all six of them,” said Mendez.
After Frank Robinson, Brooks Robinson’s statue is next month. Then Earl Weaver and Jim Palmer. By August, Eddie Murray’s statue will be unveiled.
Mendez says he worked with each Hall of Famer to decide what the final bronze statue would look like, but he’s looking forward to what fans think of the legends.
“This is the right time to do it and I think that will bring more fans to Baltimore and to see that we really take care of our players,” said Orioles fan Anthony Dangerfield.
Mendez has created more than 30 other bronze sculptures of sports and historic figures, including Thurgood Marshall and Nolan Ryan.