Numerous statues of catcher Joe Mauer will soon be scattered around downtown Minneapolis as part of a fundraising effort for the Minnesota Twins Community Fund and to celebrate the team's 50 seasons.
The unveiling of the first "Twins Around Town" statue is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Friday outside Target's store at 9th Street and Nicollet Mall. Attending will be Mauer and Mayor R.T. Rybak.
Team spokesman Kevin Smith said the project, being led by the Minneapolis Downtown Council, is similar to the "Peanuts on Parade" figures that are around the Twin Cities in tribute to St. Paul native and "Peanuts" creator Charles Schulz.
The Mauer statues will stay downtown all baseball season, then the sponsors are free to move them inside or donate them, Smith said. The cost for each statue is about $13,000, he added.
The polyurethane statues have an 850-pound, 9-inch base under a 125-pound figure of Mauer that stands another 5 feet, 11 inches tall, said Hart Johnson, vice president of Tivoli Too, the Mendota Heights design and sculpture firm producing the statues. Tivoli Too also had a hand in the "Peanuts" figures.
Each Mauer statue is being designed to commemorate a particular Twins season and will include a collage from that year of painted images, photographs, headlines and text that captures the history of the year chosen.
Target selected 1962, said company spokeswoman Lena Michaud. That was the year that the first Target store, in Roseville, opened.
While there potentially will be 50 statues placed, Smith said, they will only be made as sponsor agreements are reached.
At least 14 have been ordered so far, Johnson said. The Star Tribune has joined the project, he added, ordering one commemorating 1987, the year the Twins won their first World Series.
Not only are the statues latching onto the buzz surrounding Target Field's inaugural season, but they are a way "to infuse public art in the downtown area," Michaud said.