Boston Herald Inside Track — A group of Big Papi fans and a Sox website are launching a campaign today to get David Ortiz his own statue — by no later than next Opening Day — to celebrate the Sox slugger’s retirement and to bronze his place in Boston sports history.
The #BronzePapi effort is collecting signatures to present to the Sox, the city, the State House and MLB, asking them to commission a statue immediately, “not 20 years from now.” …
“Boston has not really led the way on statues,” Kevin Phelan of SoxLunch.com. … “We think that based on what Papi means to the city and the game, he should get a statue ASAP.”
Phelan said there are 250 statues of ball players in and around stadiums around the country and that “you would not put some of those players on the same level as David Ortiz.” …
The #BronzePapi peeps are holding an event at 5:30 [Wednesday] at the Baseball Tavern to unveil their concept for the statue and to collect signatures.
To review the Thornton Levels of Athletic Greatness:
- 7. All-Star/Pro Bowl
- 6. First-team all-league/All-Pro
- 5. League MVP
- 4. Team Hall of Fame/Ring of Honor
- 3. League Hall of Fame
- 2. Number retired
- 1. Statue-worthy
Now, some might flip 2 and 3 and argue that there are players whose numbers are retired but aren’t in the Hall of Fame like the Patriots with Gino Cappelletti and the Celtics with Reggie Lewis, for example. But to me, the standard of retiring a number should be higher.
What cannot be disputed is that there is no greater honor than a statue. Which is why we as a society need to be judicious in giving out so great a tribute, in all walks of life. You build statues to giants like Ben Franklin, not Bill Weld. Which is why I find it shocking that there are 250 athlete statues in the United States. Guys like Paul Konerko and Jeff Bawell barely merit a plaque, let alone a life-sized, fully-rendered bronze piece of immortality worthy of a Michael Jordan or a Stan Musial.
That said, Kevin Phelan, SoxLunch.com and the other good people behind #BronzePapi are on the side of the angels on this one. David Ortiz most definitely qualifies as statue-worthy. For being a transformative figure on the field, in the city and on the facade that holds the championship banners, there’s no debate about it. So why make him wait 20 years the way Bill Russell had to. It’s like that old saying about how you shouldn’t wait until someone is dead to give them their flowers. If the city of Baltimore can waste no time casting a graven image of a lunatic who was involved in covering up a double homicide, we should do likewise for the man without whom we’d be two seasons away from the 100th anniversary of the last Red Sox championship.
Let’s get this thing done, and let’s do it five minutes ago.
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