On the third-base line, batting left-handed: Mickey Mantle.
The RedHawks announced plans Tuesday to unveil a Mantle statue April 16, when Oklahoma City's Triple-A baseball team opens its first season at Southwestern Bell Bricktown Ballpark.
The bronze statue of a lefty-hitting Mantle will stand 7 feet, 6 inches, in a 3-foot granite base. The statue, in a circular plaza area near the third-base entrance, will be displayed in the Third Base Pavilion area of the new ballpark, beside Mickey Mantle Drive (formerly Walnut Street).
"The statue depicts the heroic strength and abilities of Mickey Mantle," RedHawks general manager Tim O'Toole said.
"This is a great moment for Oklahoma City," former New York Yankee outfielder Bobby Murcer said, "not only for the statue that will be unveiled in the memory of the greatest ballplayer to ever play out of the state of Oklahoma, but the fact that we have a state-of-the-art stadium."
The statue will be unveiled at noon April 16. Among those scheduled to attend are Mantle's widow, Merlyn; their sons, David, Danny and Mick, Jr.; and several celebrities and former baseball players. The ballpark's seat endcaps also will include Mantle artwork.
"It will be the first time in my memory that we are going to have such a distinguished gathering of former New York Yankee players here in Oklahoma City," said Murcer, a former owner and president of the Oklahoma City 89ers.
"When you mention Mickey Mantle to a former teammate and you ask them to come, the first thing they say is 'When do you want me there?' It is a distinguished list of guys who are going to be here."
Those scheduled to be here for the statue unveiling include:
Former ballplayers from Oklahoma: Cot Deal, Dom Demeter, Eddie Fisher, Jim Gentile, Ferguson Jenkins, Cal McLish, Bobby Morgan, Bob Shirley, Warren Spahn, Gene Stephens and Mickey Tettleton.
Celebrities: entertainer Roy Clark, artist Leroy Neiman, governor Frank Keating, mayor Ron Norick, former Oklahoma football star Billy Vessels, former OU football coach Barry Switzer, OU baseball coach Larry Cochell and basketball coaches Kelvin Sampson of OU and Eddie Sutton of OSU.
Mantle's former teammates: Hank Bauer, Yogi Berra, John Blanchard, Bobby Brown, Tommy Byrne, Andy Carey, Ryne Duren, Ralph Houk, Tony Kubek, Jerry Lumpe, Gil McDougald, Bobby Murcer, Bobby Richardson, Moose Skowron, Country Slaughter, Tom Sturdivant, Ralph Terry, Norm Siebern and Tom Tresh.
"I hope Oklahoma City comes out and welcomes these guys," Murcer said, "because it will be a great moment for the state of Oklahoma but even a greater moment for Oklahoma City. We're all going to be very, very proud of it."
Mantle's teammates will place their handprints in concrete. The prints will later be placed around the base of the statue.
"We believe that this statue will become a destination point for tourists in its own right, not only during the season, but in the offseason," O'Toole said.
The statue was sculpted by Blair Buswell, nationally renowned artist who has sculpted the busts for the Pro Football Hall of Fame since 1983. He also has designed statues of Oscar Robertson and Jack Nicklaus.
The statue unveiling ceremonies, and several other stadium-opening festivities, will be orchestrated by Lee Allan Smith and his staff at Oklahoma Events, Inc.
"When you have Oklahoma Events and Lee Allan in charge of putting on a show, you don't want to miss this," Murcer said. "This will absolutely be one of those Lee Allan events that will be one of the spectacular shows of all time. You are absolutely going to love the statue itself."
Oklahoma City's new stadium will be "something that the fans will be proud of. It's something we all should be proud of, this spectacular facility," said O'Toole.
"We should be proud of the people of Oklahoma City, who with their tax dollars have put forth this effort," Murcer said. "I have really got to applaud that, because it will mean a lot to us."
Statue sponsors include: Express Personnel Services; Southwestern Bell; Angus and Revan McQueen; Bill, Debra, Ryan and Brandon Winkler; the Kerr-McGee Corp.; the Clayton Bennett family; Carla and Richard Ellis; the Gene Torbett family; and the Lee Allan Smith family. BIOG: NAME: UPD:Archive ID: 716624