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Little Italy hosts groundbreaking ceremony for statue honoring Cleveland Indians legend Rocky Colavito

Published: Jun. 1, 2021 at 7:55 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Cleveland Indians fans laid the groundwork to honor Rocky Colavito, one of the team’s most popular players, Tuesday in Little Italy’s Tony Brush Park.

“Putting it next to the birth of my children, it’s going to become a close second,” Matthew Gambatese, chairman of the Rocky Colavito Committee, said.

The 9-time all-star played for the Indians in the 50s and 60s and became a staple with local fans for his powerful swing and strong arm. While he did not spend his entire career in Cleveland, Colavito stands as one of the most impactful and memorable players, especially for children raised in Little Italy.

“He [was on] one knee when he was in the on deck, every little-leaguer did that in the entire Northeast Ohio area,” Bob Dibiasio, a staff member with the Cleveland Indians, recounted.

The statue will be built by David Deming, who has previously designed other memorable statues in the city, including Jim Brown’s sculpture, which stands outside of First Energy Stadium.

“This project started out to be an idea, but then blossomed into this full event,” Gambatese said.

The Colavito Committee plans for the statue to be completed by Aug. 10—the former baseball player’s 88th birthday. It also hopes the slugger will be in attendance for it’s unveiling.

Deming is excited to see Colavito’s reaction to the statue as he will be immortalized in the hearts and minds of Cleveland baseball fans: “He knows that this is being done because of the fans, so he’s going to be very proud of it.”

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