29 Aug Sky Clears for Unveiling of New Bases Loaded Statues
Williamsport, Pa. — The weather threatened to put a damper on the unveiling of three new statues at the corner of Market and Third Streets in the City on Sunday evening, but as guests and the honorees arrived, the rain stopped and the skies cleared.
With the clearing came President George W. Bush, 100-year-old Rachel Robinson, the widow of Jackie Robinson, Baseball Commissioner Robert D. Manfred Jr., and “better late than never,” Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, who arrived late and received a little friendly ribbing from President George W. Bush, who took the podium to say a few words.
In attendance was also Matt Glenn of Provo, Utah, who’s team designed and created the three new sculptures in the likeness of Cy Young, Jackie Robinson, and President George W. Bush.
The final statues in the “Bases Loaded” installation have been in development since 2014, according to Glenn. “A lot of blood, sweat, and tears–literally–going into this, and just to have this be the culmination, and to have the president here, it’s been just magical,” he said.
Kobe Johnson was one of three youth players to pull the black coverings from the statues. Johnson, 12, of Williamsport plays for West End Little League and was excited to be a part of the reveal. (See photo gallery below)
The public art project was led by the Chamber’s tourist promotion arm, the Lycoming County Visitors Bureau, and started in 2014 to mark the 75th anniversary of Little League Baseball.
While this initiative was led by the Chamber and its Visitors Bureau, the funding for the statues was provided by local community businesses. The donors for this year’s set of statues was provided by Lycoming Engines, Wegmans and Famvest Partners.
A thunderstorm in the hours before the statue reveal likely kept some spectators away, but a nice crowd was on hand to cheer on the appearance of President George W. Bush and Rachel Robinson.
“Welcoming Ms. Robinson was surreal for sure,” commented Williamsport Mayor Derek Slaughter, who said the event was a highlight of his time as Mayor thus far.
The 75th Little League Baseball World Series continues through August 28. Six games are scheduled for Monday, as games had to be canceled due to thunderstorms on Sunday afternoon.
Enjoy a photo gallery of Sunday’s event.