Baseball Hall of Fame’s ‘Anonymous’ MVP Plays Essential Role at Museum
There's an amazing individual responsible for what visitors at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum see in the plaque gallery.
Tom Tsuchiya is the sculptor who creates the hall of famers' images that appear on each plaque.
From his studio located on Essex Place in Cincinnati, Tsuchiya begins with an ample amount of clay to mold an individual hall of famer's likeness. He has been doing so since 2016 when creating his first two plaques - Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza. Prior to Tsuchiya's commission with the Hall of Fame, the previous twenty years worth of plaques were sulptored by Mindy Ellis of Pittsburgh.
Tom Tsuchiya is the sculptor who creates the hall of famers' images that appear on each plaque
Tsuchiya works along with Matthews International Corporation based in Pittsburgh who have manufactured the plaques for the Cooperstown museum since the mid-1980s. Upon his clay images are approved, the process begins at Matthews' bronze foundry to produce the final product that will ultimately be displayed in the plaque gallery.
A number of images supplied by the Hall of Fame are what Tsuchiya includes in his creative process.
A lifelong fan of the Cincinnati Reds, Tsuchiya, aside from clay, works with bronze, plaster, and digital media.
Tsuchiya's baseball works expand beyond plaques housed in the Home of Baseball. He has created bronze, life-size statues of Reds Hall of Famers Johnny Bench and Joe Morgan that are displayed on the grounds of the Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, among other greats from his hometown club.
The plaque process, from start to finish, can take up to six months.
Don Laible is a freelance sportswriter from the Mohawk Valley, now living in Florida. He has reported on professional baseball and hockey for print, radio, and on the web since the 1980's. His columns are featured weekly at WIBX950.com. Don can be contacted via email at Don@icechipsdiamonddust.com.
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