Thursday, August 28, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Phillies mural to splash icons above Walnut Street Bridge

The image of Tug McGraw jumping for joy could be even more lasting by late September.

A long-awaited Phillies mural, celebrating great figures in the baseball club's history, is expected to be fully installed by early this fall on a building rising above the Walnut Street Bridge, according to team official Michael Harris.

"The public will definitely be invited" to dedication ceremonies, said Cari Feiler Bender, spokeswoman for the Mural Arts Program, which has overseen the project.

In coming weeks, passersby will see little besides mesh-covered scaffolding, as, weather permitting, the wall is cleaned, patched, and sealed, and the sealant is given time to cure.

Finally, 143 five-foot squares of cloth, painted with fans' help in fall 2011 and spring 2012, will emerge from storage in the studio of David McShane, the artist who designed the mural.

The plan to complete the mural that summer ran into delays, partly because of rail corporation CSX's concerns about having the scaffolding put up and the mural work done near its tracks.

Last year, the company said it was "reviewing the plans to ensure they do not compromise safety for the mural creators or the railroad or interfere with rail operations." CSX says those concerns have since been resolved.

The painted panels will be coated with an acrylic gel glue and squeegeed to the wall, with McShane doing whatever touch-ups are needed to blend across the seams, Feiler Bender said.

McGraw's leap of victory after the 1980 World Series will top the six-story artwork, which is bound to become a familiar landmark to drivers on the Schuylkill Expressway between Center City and West Philadelphia, as well as to users of the Schuylkill River Trail, which passes the base of the building.

Also looming high and large will be pitcher Brad Lidge, who got the final out in the 2008 World Series, and sluggers Mike Schmidt and Ryan Howard, crossing their bats behind their backs with their follow-throughs.

Besides Schmidt, Hall of Famers depicted will include pitchers Grover Cleveland Alexander, Robin Roberts, Jim Bunning, and Steve Carlton; outfielders Ed Delahanty and Chuck Klein; outfielder/broadcaster Richie Ashburn; and broadcaster Harry Kalas.

The rest of the mural's roster: pitchers Mitch Williams, Cole Hamels, and Roy Halladay; shortstops Larry Bowa and Jimmy Rollins; catchers Darren Daulton and Carlos Ruiz; first baseman Dick Allen; second basemen Tony Taylor and Chase Utley; and outfielder Greg Luzinski.

World Series-winning managers Dallas Green and Charlie Manuel will be on the mural, too, along with the Phillie Phanatic, fans, and three stadiums: Shibe Park, later known as Connie Mack Stadium; Veterans Stadium; and Citizens Bank Park.


Peter Mucha PHILLY.COM
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