Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark
Statue of pitcher Warren Spahn outside of Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark.
Statue of Mickey Mantle outside of Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark.
Left field at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark.
Statue of catcher Johnny Bench outside of the ballparks front entrance .
Downtown Oklahoma City before the MAPS project.
Backstory and Context
Outside of the stadium are three statues, which commemorate three legendary baseball players with ties to the state of Oklahoma. The first is a 7'6 statue of Mickey Mantle, the legendary New York Yankees' hitter. Mantle was born in Spavinaw, Oklahoma, and grew up in Commerce, Oklahoma. Mickey Mantle's statue was revealed on the ballparks opening day of April 16, 1998.
The second statue is of Johnny Bench. Johnny Bench grew up in Binger, Oklahoma, and had a hall of fame career with the Cincinnati Reds. Bench is considered the best catcher of all time, and is well-deserved of being considered for the honor. With a career that included a Rookie of the Year Award, 10 Gold Gloves, 14-time All-Star, 2-time MVP, and a World Series MVP. Bench's statue is nine feet tall and greets fans at the ballpark's home plate gate.
The third statue is of Warren Spahn. Spahn hailed from Buffalo, New York, but his ties to the State of Oklahoma come from his time managing the Tulsa Drillers (1967-1971). Spahn was a Hall of Fame Pitcher, and won the Cy Young award.
Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark was built as a part of the MAPS project that got its start in 1993 as a way to improve the downtown Oklahoma City area. MAPS, or Metropolitan Area Projects Plan was a redevelopment project funded by a five year, voter approved increased sales tax. The main goal of MAPS was to make downtown Oklahoma City a more entertaining area and improve the economy of the city. Along with Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark there were eight other projects included in MAPS, these include: a trolley system, a library, a riverfront used for USRowing, Bricktown Canal, Chesapeake Energy Arena, renovations to The Myriad, Oklahoma State Fairgrounds, and Civic Center Music Hall. There have been two additional MAPS projects for Oklahoma City since the first project. The second MAPS program aimed to improve schools in the Oklahoma City area, and with another sales tax, $700 million worth of improvement to schools within the city limits of Oklahoma City has been done. The third MAPS project, approved in 2009, was aimed at improving the quality of life in Oklahoma City. Projects included in the third maps project include: expansion of parks and trails, improvements to neighborhood sidewalks, the Oklahoma River, and Oklahoma State Fair Grounds, and construction of a new downtown convention center, downtown public parking areas, and a streetcar transport system. Since the MAPS projects inception in the early 90s a $5 billion economic impact is estimated to have been generated.
1) Aiken, Charolette (October 11, 1995). "Bricktown Ballpark Leads Off with a Hit". The Oklahoman. Oklahoma City.
2) Hersom, Bob (July 26, 2001). "Cast in Greatness". The Oklahoman. Oklahoma City. p. 1D
3) Hersom, Bob (July 2, 2005). "The Greatest Lefty of All". The Oklahoman. Oklahoma City. p. 1C
4) Hersom, Bob (March 25, 1998). "Mantle Honored". The Oklahoman. Oklahoma City. p. 23.
5) “Chamber History.” Greater Oklahoma City Chamber - Chamber History, www.okcchamber.com/index.php?submenu=ChamberHistory&src=gendocs&ref=ChamberHistory&category=About&link=ChamberHistory.
6) Parker, John (Dec 15, 1993). "Voters OK Tax, Downtown Projects". Daily Oklahoman. p. 1.