Of all of the ways baseball in Washington has gone off the rails since its return, perhaps none sadder has been the manner in which Nationals’ management has failed to embrace the history of both their franchise, and that of baseball in the city at large. That there is scant if any evidence that this team was once the Montreal Expos is an utter atrocity, but ownership’s failure to showcase Washington Senators’ history, such as it is, is pretty bad too. Thankfully, at least the latter is starting to be adressed:
Big Frank Howard gazed at the even bigger sculpture of himself in the center field plaza at Nationals Park and whistled softly.
“Beautiful, just great,” the former Capital Clouter said softly. “I feel like I just got my college degree today.”
Howard, who stood 6-foot-7 and weighed nearly 300 pounds when he was bashing home runs for the Senators in the late 1960s and early 1970s, hasn’t had to look up at many things during a 50-year career in baseball. In this case, however, he had no choice. Omri Amrany, who operates a fine arts studio outside Chicago with his wife, Julie Rotblatt-Amrany, has sculpted dozens of sports figures over several decades. His white bronze statue of Howard looms 10 feet 8 inches high and weighs 1,200 pounds, which is enough to make even Hondo feel insignificant by comparison.
Walter Johnson and Josh Gibson are getting statues as well.
Now, how about honoring Rusty Staub, Gary Carter, Tim Raines Andre Dawson? Sure, maybe they never played in Washington, but unlike Johnson and Gibson, at least there are some people alive who remember seeing them play.
UPDATE: Apparently these statues are hideous, so maybe we should just retire the old Expos’ numbers rather than cast them in bronze, umm-kay?