Baseball Sculptor Lou Cella Takes Few Bows

This striking Associated Press photo by Elaine Thompson
shows long-time broadcast partner Rick Rizzs congratulating
Marilyn Niehaus at the 2011 Safeco Field unveiling of the
statue of late husband Dave Niehaus. I like the picture for
what it DOES NOT show. The beard and patterned tie
in the photo’s upper right belong to sculptor Lou Cella.
The artist is a humble hero!

This Week in Baseball introduced me to sculptor Lou Cella.

Getting Cella and artistic co-creator Oscar Leon on camera was no easy feat. Seeing them both present for the Cellular Field installation of the Frank Thomas sculpture was a treat. Seeing the gratitude and admiration of “Big Hurt” made the feature even more meaningful.

The TWIB segment showed only a glimpse of Cella’s back. His White Sox jersey read Sculptor 35. Cella explained:

“The ’35 Sculptor’ jersey. Originally, the thought was that my sculpting partner Oscar Leon and I would both wear one of those to the unveiling of the Frank Thomas sculpture. I bought a game-used jersey at Sox Fest and had the lettering added later. But the idea lost steam when Oscar never had one made.


I felt like it would have been too self-serving and detract from both Frank Thomas and Oscar if I wore it by myself to the unveiling. So I wore it for the installation instead, and This Week in Baseball showed me in it. I was considering having a cubs version made for the Ron Santo piece, but I already have about 10 Cubs jerseys as it is. Maybe down the road.”

During the dedication of the Ron Santo statue, it seemed the Santo family posed for a picture holding a mini version of the statue. That made me wonder if Cella knows of collectible-sized baseball figurines.

Does he ever!

“I love both the Hartlands and the MacFarlane pieces. In my world, I make collectibles so much, that buying them is just not logistically feasible. In other words, I have no room. But I do admire them, and am always tempted to purchase them.”

Collectors may own a Cella creation without knowing. He adds…

“I have done numerous miniatures for Romito Inc. I do not know exactly how many off hand, but there are about a dozen large ones which have my name on them. You will see others on the site which I did not sign on, but likely helped a little or a lot with.


The full body of my monument level work is visible at http://www.rotblattamrany.com/.”

Here’s an impressive New York Times roundup feature, surveying the variety of baseball statues outside ballparks. Of course, Cella’s included in this all-star lineup.

Coming for Thanksgiving: Thankful Bobby Winkles remembers his Arkansas childhood, complete with memories of George and Skeeter Kell.

 

Team Organists, Yankees Fans And More: Previewing Tom’s Latest “10 Most Wanted” List

Once, Mark Cresse
made and sold lamps
made out of Dodger
broken bats!

I decided to go off the field in search of 10 more eyewitnesses to baseball history.

Topping the list is Christian Lopez, the fan who caught (and gave back) Derek Jeter’s 3,000th hit. I’m hoping I’m not too late. I see that Steiner Sports has offered signed LOPEZ baseballs. Does this mean that answering fan mail is taboo?

Two other Yankee-related names intrigue me, retiring trainer Gene Monahan and the first Christian Lopez, best known as Sal Durante. Durante caught the 61st home run ball hit by Roger Maris.

Other non-player notables on my list include:

Lon Simmons, Frick Award-winning announcer
Mark Cresse, long-time Dodgers bullpen coach
Terry “Talkin’ Baseball” Cashman
Oscar Leon, Artist
Lou Cella, Sculptor
(collaborators on Frank Thomas statue — loved their This Week in Baseball appearance!)
Gary Pressey, Cubs organist
Nancy Bea Hefley, Dodgers organist

Stay tuned. Meanwhile, check out this impressive feature about MLB team organists!

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