Aaay! Statue inflation spikes

The Brewers get set to honor the Fonz, and that Harold Baines monument is looking better by the minute.


King Kaufman
August 5, 2008 12:00AM (UTC)

I take back everything I said about the Harold Baines statue in Chicago. Statue inflation has gone way beyond that sweet-swinging, unassuming longtime designated hitter. The Milwaukee Brewers are going to be a big part of a daylong celebration Aug. 19 accompanying the unveiling of a statue of Arthur Fonzarelli.

Fonzie. From "Happy Days."

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The statue will stand on the Riverwalk on the Milwaukee River, and Henry Winkler and other cast members will be in town for a whole day of wingdingery that includes ceremonies at the Brewers game against the Houston Astros. Anson Williams -- he played Potsie! -- will sing the national anthem.

Fonzie, proclaims the project's Web site, bronzethefonz.com, "was recently selected number 32 on Entertainment Weekly and TV Land's list of the top TV icons of all time."

Number 32! Wow!

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That means there could be as many as 31 statues of TV icons that have yet to be celebrated at baseball stadiums. What are we waiting for?

Right there at No. 31 is Sarah Jessica Parker as Carrie Bradshaw, who could share space at the new Yankee Stadium not just with the Babe and the Mick and that crowd but also with Jerry Seinfeld (No. 8) and Bill Cosby as Cliff Huxtable (No. 5), though Cosby's statue would be more appropriate in Philadelphia.

Right next to the Dick Clark (No. 10) figure, which would be moved to Times Square every New Year's Eve.

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Lucille Ball (No. 2) might need a statue in New York too, though she was often seen at Dodger Stadium after her Lucy Ricardo days, so maybe she could have one there, alongside Heather Locklear (No. 25) and the only icon more iconic than Lucy, No. 1 Johnny Carson, whose monument would go in Chavez Ravine only because there's no team in Burbank.

A statue of Jackie Gleason's Ralph Kramden (No. 13), a Brooklynite, could go to the Mets' new Citi Field in Queens, or it could stand outside Keyspan Park in Coney Island, where the Brooklyn Cyclones, a Mets farm team, play. Maybe the Brooklyn-bred Howard Cosell (No. 28) should go there too. A Gleason statue would also work in Miami.

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Queens resident Archie Bunker (No. 20) is a natural for Citi Field, though. And should Regis Philbin's (No. 27) statue go in the Big Apple or closer to Notre Dame? There's a Single-A team in South Bend.

Baines could find himself in quite a crowd in Chicago. A statue of Roseanne (No. 11), whose Connor family lived in a fictional Chicago suburb and rooted for Chicago teams, would be more appropriate on the blue-collar south side than outside of Wrigley Field, although it would be cheeky to put her statue in San Diego, where she once butchered the national anthem.

Should the bronze Oprah (No. 3) go on the south side too or should it stand outside Wrigley? She seems more Cubs than White Sox to me, but I wouldn't call myself an Oprah expert. Bob Newhart's (No. 17) statue has to go outside U.S. Cellular Field, and if you don't know why, you never heard a Bob Newhart album.

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Walter Cronkite (No. 5) makes more sense in Washington than anywhere else, although you could make an argument for commemorating his most famous moment, mentioned in the Entertainment Weekly feature, when he announced John F. Kennedy's death, by placing a statue of Cronkite dabbing at his eyes outside the Ballpark at Arlington, which is near Dallas. You make that argument, I'm not going to.

I will argue for more sitcom statues, though. Homer Simpson (No. 9) could get two, one in the only Springfield that has an affiliated team -- the Double-A Cardinals in Missouri -- and another in Albuquerque, where the local Triple-A team, the Isotopes, took its name from the hometown team on "The Simpsons."

There's no such place as Crabapple Cove, Maine, hometown of Hawkeye Pierce, but an Alan Alda (No. 30, two spots more iconic than the Fonz) statue could go up in the state's only town with a minor-league team, Portland. Of course, the Sea Dogs have an iconic statue already.

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The job's also done in the Twin Cities, where Mary Tyler Moore as Mary Richards (No. 7) throws her hat in the air for all eternity. It won't be long till the Dan Gladden statue steals the spotlight from her, so enjoy it while you can.


King Kaufman

King Kaufman is a senior writer for Salon. You can e-mail him at king at salon dot com. Facebook / Twitter / Tumblr

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