The Cincinnati Reds have selected Joe Morgan as the subject for the second in a series of four bronze sculptures paying tribute to the players of the Big Red Machine that will be permanently installed around the perimeter of Great American Ball Park.
Johnny Bench’s bronze sculpture, dedicated in 2011, is the first in the series, and sits at the entrance to the Reds Hall of Fame & Museum. Joe Morgan’s sculpture will be installed during the 2013 season. Two additional sculptures are scheduled for 2015 and 2017 respectively, whose subjects will be named at a later date.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to play on such great teams with the Big Red Machine and the sculpture is something that will be out there for generations of Reds fans to see,” said Morgan. “The sculpture is part of a lasting tribute to all the members of the Big Red Machine.”
Cincinnati-based artist Tom Tsuchiya, whose been contracted to create all four sculptures, began meeting in May with Joe to begin work on the piece. (See attached photos)
The pose of the bronze sculpture will capture Joe at the explosive moment of stealing a base. (Joe is the modern-day stolen bases leader for the Reds)
“I was inspired to create the sculpture after watching a DVD of the 1975 World Series and was amazed at how far of a lead he took from first base,” said Tsuchiya. “Not eight or nine feet like most players, he routinely took a 12-foot lead.”
The Reds Hall of Fame & Museum will embark on a fundraising campaign that will offer Reds fans multiple levels of giving to support the statue.
“The pose selected shows one of the tools that Morgan brought to the table that was so important to the success of the Big Red Machine teams of the 70’s,” said Rick Walls, executive director of the Reds Hall of Fame & Museum. “We are committed to this project and we’ll soon be launching a campaign that will allow fans the opportunity to contribute be part of the Morgan Legacy Project.”
In addition to the Bench statue, Tsuchiya created the four bronze sculptures featured in Crosley Terrace at the entrance to Great American Ball Park depicting Joe Nuxhall, Frank Robinson, Ernie Lombardi and Ted Kluszewski.