Reds to erect Morgan's bronze statue in 2013

Reds to erect Morgan's bronze statue in 2013

Reds to erect Morgan's bronze statue in 2013
CINCINNATI -- Legendary Reds second baseman Joe Morgan is securing his legacy with Cincinnati even further, as the club selected Morgan to be the second in a series of four bronze sculptures to be permanently installed on the perimeter of Great American Ball Park.

Morgan's statue will go alongside fellow Big Red Machine teammate Johnny Bench, whose bronze sculpture was dedicated in 2011. Morgan's sculpture is set to be installed during the 2013 season.

"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," Morgan said in a news release. "The sculpture is part of a lasting tribute to all the members of the Big Red Machine."

Two additional sculptures, whose subjects will be announced at a later date, are scheduled to be erected in 2015 and 2017, respectively.

Tom Tsuchiya, a Cincinnati-based artist, has been contracted to create all four sculptures. Tsuchiya began meeting with Morgan in May to work on the piece.

The statue will display Morgan, the modern-day stolen-base leader for the Reds, taking off to steal a base.

"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," Tsuchiya said in a news release. "Not eight or nine feet like most players, he routinely took a 12-foot lead."

The Reds Hall of Fame & Museum will begin a fundraising campaign to offer Reds fans multiple levels of donations 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 '70s," Rick Walls, executive director of the Reds Hall of Fame & Museum said in a news release. "We are committed to this project, and we'll soon be launching a campaign that will allow fans the opportunity to contribute and be part of the Morgan Legacy Project."

Tsuchiya has already left his mark on Great American Ball Park, creating the four bronze sculptures featured in Crosley Terrace at the entrance depicting Joe Nuxhall, Frank Robinson, Ernie Lombardi and Ted Kluszewski.

Mark Clements is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.