CINCINNATI - The Reds have chosen the second subject of four bronze statues to decorate the perimeter of Great American Ball Park.
Joe Morgan, who is Cincinnati’s modern-day stolen-bases leader, will be immortalized with a statue to be unveiled and dedicated sometime in 2013. Legendary Cincinnati catcher Johnny Bench was the first Reds player to have a statue in his likeness outside the ballpark.
Cincinnati-based sculptor Tom Tsuchiya has been commissioned to create the statue of Morgan. Tsuchiya also has sculpted bronze statues of Joe Nuxhall, Frank Robinson, Ernie Lombardi and Ted Kluszewski that are at the entrance to Great American Ball Park.
Tsuchiya currently is working on a huge statue of Jesus for Solid Rock Church that will replace the widely visible statue that overlooked I-75 until it burned down in 2010.
“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 press release. “Not eight or nine feet like most players; he routinely took a 12-foot lead.”
Morgan played for the Reds from 1972 to 1979 and made an impact on the base paths immediately after his arrival. He stole at least 58 bases in each of his first five seasons in Cincinnati. He won back-to-back National League MVP awards in 1975 and 1976.
“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 press release. “The sculpture is part of a lasting tribute to all the members of the Big Red Machine.”
The Reds Hall of Fame & Museum will help to raise funds for the statue. The other two bronze statues are scheduled for completion in 2015 and 2017, and the subjects of those statues will be announced at a later date.
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