The Atlanta Braves are certainly making the move to Cobb County in 2017, but there’s some doubt as to whether an iconic statue of Henry Aaron at Turner Field will accompany the team.
The statue, first installed at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, shows Aaron after blasting a home run. It was created eight years after Aaron broke Babe Ruth’s career home-run record by Colorado-based artist Ed Dwight, with donations solicited by a nonprofit and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. When Turner Field opened, the statue was moved along with the team.
Which, logically, means the statue should move with the team to SunTrust Park — the argument laid out by the Braves. But the Atlanta Fulton County Recreation Authority, which runs Turner Field, says the statue was donated to the authority and will remain property of the authority.
Of course, there’s an issue of what the authority will do with the statue: with the Turner Field area likely to be redeveloped either in 2017 or 2018, it’s not likely the statue would have a home at the site (though you never know; a developer may want it as a reminder of the past). And fans will certainly expect the statue to accompany the team. Even Aaron himself can’t quite figure out what should be done. From AJC.com:
In an interview this week, the baseball great says he’s conflicted.
“On one hand, I think the statue should be wherever the baseball park is, wherever the Braves are playing,” Aaron says. “After all, I played with the Braves.”
But on the other, he continues, the statue was paid for by fans — not the team. “So if you had to think about it, it all belongs to Atlanta, to the people of Atlanta.”
The Braves say they’re planning more statues and memorials to Braves greats at the new Cobb County facility. And the Braves have been pretty good stewards of team legacy: the museum at Turner Field is the best ballpark museum we’ve ever seen. But the debate will continue until someone can locate any records about exactly who owns the statue.