Sculptor Toby Mendez says to meet him at the New Arts Foundry in Hampden.
The very word seems of another century in an age where everything is of molded plastic and made in China.
It's a hot, dirty, and noisy place where 15 skilled workers cast and assemble statuary.
There are sand blasters, grinders, and pots of molten bronze at more than 2,000 degrees.
, bespectacled and in a bright polo shirt just this side of peach, emerges from the din to suggest we talk at a coffee shop-not so much because of the noise level in the modern-day Vulcan's forge, but out of fear that a reporter might get a sneak peek at the poses.
You see, Eddie Murray and Cal Ripken Jr. lie dismembered within, the last of six statues of Hall of Fame Orioles that the team commissioned Mendez
to create in celebration of the 20th anniversary of Camden Yards.
It takes some shoehorning to get Mendez into this City Folk column, as he was born in Denver and has lived most of his life near Frederick.
is a homer in one crucial sense.
In his 25-year sculpting career, he has been called on to capture many an epic figure, including Thurgood Marshall and Mahatma Gandhi.
But while he
never got to hear Marshall argue before the Supreme Court or see Gandhi stare down the British Empire, he
has been an O's fan since the mid-1970s.
Periodic family ballpark outings to Baltimore allowed him to see five of his
six subjects in the flesh and on the field. (Only Frank Robinson's playing days were missed.)
"As a kid, watching Murray come up in the clutch situation, I remember it was like the cavalry arriving," Mendez
Working with the Orioles' exhaustive photo archives, Mendez's
mission was to fashion iconic poses for each player.
then fine-tunes the foam model by hand before handing it over to folks at New Art for the hot and noisy business of making molds, pouring in the molten bronze, and building and buffing the finished piece.
artistic abilities first emerged in boyhood.
high school years, he
came to Baltimore each summer to participate in an arts program for gifted and talented kids held at Goucher College