World’s first database of baseball’s statues compiled by UK researchers
- Updated: March 9, 2013
**Images available at their website (link below)**
The first ever database of statues commemorating baseball’s biggest stars has been compiled by researchers from the University of Sheffield, UK.
From ballparks to sports bars, museums to city squares and schools to cemeteries, life-size bronze depictions of men, women and children enjoying the national pastime can be found all across the US and Canada.
The striking database, at www.sportingstatues.com, records over 200 baseball statues currently across the continent, featuring information on when the statues were unveiled, who sculpted them and the inscriptions on plinths or plaques, as well as images of each statue and links to location maps. 35 US states feature a baseball statue, with 70 per cent of statues located at or close to a major or minor league ballpark.
Home-run heroes, pitching aces and less obvious subjects such as managers, executives, broadcasters and fans are amongst the 164 distinct individuals depicted. The most frequently portrayed player, with seven statues, is barrier-breaker Jackie Robinson, although strangely none of his statues are sited at a current MLB ballpark. 52 per cent of statue subjects are National Baseball Hall of Famers. In addition, more than 50 statues of anonymous figures have been identified.
Dr Chris Stride, a statistician from the Institute of Work Psychology, University of Sheffield and Ffion Thomas, a graduate student from the University of Central Lancashire, have worked on the project for the past 18 months.
Dr Stride notes “The earliest baseball statue identified, which depicts former St. Louis Cardinals’ owner Chris Von Der Ahe, dates from the 1880s; it was commissioned by Von Der Ahe himself, and can be seen today at his grave in Bellefontaine Cemetery, St. Louis.
“However, 90 per cent of baseball statues have been erected since 1990, and over half in the last decade, showing it to be primarily a recent phenomenon. Innovative marketing strategies of baseball franchises based around branding through nostalgia and reflected glory are the primary reason for this increase.
“The fashion for baseball statues coincides with the birth of retro-themed ballparks such as Camden Yards and AT&T Park, which use nods to the past in construction and decoration to give the stadium environment a sense of authenticity and identity that appeals to fans. Statues are also being used by towns, cities and commercial organisations seeking reflected glory and identity from their sporting heritage.
The database goes live to the public at www.sportingstatues.com on Tuesday 5th March, but advance access is available to media organisations from Sunday 3rd March at www.offbeat.group.shef.ac.uk/statues/database_usx.htm
For further information please contact:
Dr Chris Stride, Sporting Statues Project, on 0044 795 2210227 or email email@example.com
Ffion Thomas, Sporting Statues Project, on 0044 787 5833217 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Paul Mannion, University of Sheffield Media Relations Officer, on 0044 114 2229851 or email P.F.Mannion@sheffield.ac.uk
To view this news release and images online (from 5th March), visit:
To read other news releases about the University of Sheffield, visit: http://www.shef.ac.uk/mediacentre
Notes to editors:
The Sporting Statues Project
The Sporting Statues Project, based at the University of Sheffield, UK is a cross-disciplinary research study that records and researches figurative statues and other forms of commemoration of sportsmen and women around the world. Since 2010 we have published a series of academic papers and magazine articles, spoken at sport history, visual art, and sports marketing conferences, and collected information on over 600 statues.
At present the project website www.sportingstatues.com displays databases for all UK-sited sporting statues, and US baseball statues. For news on forthcoming project publications and website updates, follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/sportingstatues
The University of Sheffield
Each year nearly 25,000 of the brightest students from 125 countries come to the University of Sheffield to learn alongside 1,181 of the world’s best academics at one of the UK’s leading universities. Staff and students at Sheffield are committed to helping discover and understand the causes of things – and propose solutions that have the power to transform the world we live in.
A member of the Russell Group, the University of Sheffield has a reputation for world-class teaching and research excellence across a wide range of disciplines. The University of Sheffield has been named University of the Year in the Times Higher Education Awards 2011 for its exceptional performance in research, teaching, access and business performance. In addition, the University has won four Queen’s Anniversary Prizes (1998, 2000, 2002, 2007), recognising the outstanding contribution by universities and colleges to the United Kingdom’s intellectual, economic, cultural and social life.
One of the markers of a leading university is the quality of its alumni and Sheffield boasts five Nobel Prize winners among former staff and students. Its alumni have gone on to hold positions of great responsibility and influence all over the world, making significant contributions in their chosen fields.
Research partners and clients include Boeing, Rolls-Royce, Unilever, Boots, AstraZeneca, GSK, ICI, Slazenger, and many more household names, as well as UK and overseas government agencies and charitable foundations.
The University has well-established partnerships with a number of universities and major corporations, both in the UK and abroad. Its partnership with Leeds and York Universities in the White Rose Consortium has a combined research power greater than that of either Oxford or Cambridge.
For further information, please visit www.sheffield.ac.uk