Dodgers don’t have statues -- yet
Just being great and retired doesn’t guarantee a baseball player has the mettle for metal.
Cal Ripken Jr. played in 2,632 consecutive games for the Baltimore Orioles, yet baseball’s ironman has never been cast in bronze. Nor has legendary Dodgers left-hander Sandy Koufax, and that rankles San Diego freelance writer Howard Cole, whose edgy Dodgers-focused website, baseballsavvy.com, has been agitating for a Koufax statue for years.
“To me, he’s Los Angeles’ sports hero. The greatest sports hero,” Cole said.
The Dodgers aren’t saying whether a statue -- of Koufax or anyone else -- will be included in their five-year, half-billion-dollar stadium expansion. But marketing vice president Charles Steinberg, who came to the Dodgers after stints with three teams whose ballparks feature prominent statues, is a fan of the idea.
“[Statues] have been terrific sources of intergenerational conversation, no doubt about that,” said Steinberg, who previously worked in San Diego, Boston and Baltimore. “When you go to Camden Yards, the statue of Babe Ruth promotes the retelling of the story of how he was from Baltimore and then you chronicle the rest of the story. That’s a parent or a grandparent teaching their 8-year-old.
“It touches fans so deeply. It becomes a symbol of that era of a city’s life. So it’s not fleeting, it’s not in and out, it’s not five years, it’s not even 10 years. It is a testament to how profound the impact [of a player] was not on wins, not on the teams. But on the culture of a city.”
-- Kevin Baxter