The American Baseball Family Group is a gift to the City of Portland from Daniel Burke, the Owner of the Portland Sea Dogs, to thank the community for its outstanding support through the years. Burke, the former President & CEO of Capital Cities, ABC, Inc., worked diligently to bring the Sea Dogs to Portland in 1994, returning professional baseball to Maine's largest city for the first time since the 1940's. In 13 years of play in Portland, the Sea Dogs have welcomed more than five million fans.
Mr. Burke commissioned nationally known artist Rhoda Sherbell in 1997 to create the monument. Ms. Sherbell has had 22 solo museum and gallery exhibitions. She has received 45 awards including those from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, the Ford Foundation, the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation, and the National Sculpture Society. Her work is in the permanent collections of 25 museums throughout the country, including the National Baseball Hall of Fame, the National Art Museum of Sports, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, and the National Academy of Design. Some of her best known works are Yogi Berra, Casey Stengel, Aaron Copeland, Raphael and Moses Soyer, and Marquerite and William Zorach. Ms. Sherbell is a member of the National Academy of Design in New York.
The monument, which stands nine feet high and measures 11 feet long by four feet wide, depicts a family attending a baseball game including a father figure holding tickets to the game, a male child dressed ready to cheer for the Sea Dogs, and a mother figure carrying a small female child. The monument will be located on the front plaza at Hadlock Field by the Sea Dogs Ticket Office. A maquette of the American Baseball Family Group recently won an award from the National Academy of Design and the sculpture went to the Czech Republic for "The Art in Embassies Program" where it was displayed at the residence of the U.S. Ambassador in Prague.
Both Mr. Burke and Ms. Sherbell will be in attendance at the unveiling as well as Portland City Manager Joe Gray, Mayor Nicholas Mavodones, Jr., and members of the Portland City Council, who voted unanimously to accept the gift on March 20, 2006. Additionally, the public is invited to attend the unveiling.
The Portland Sea Dogs will open the 2007 season on Thursday, April 5th at 6:00 PM at Hadlock Field against the Connecticut Defenders (Giants). Among the Opening Day ceremonies will be the first ever Championship Ring Ceremony and the unveiling of the 2006 Eastern League Championship Banner. Tickets for Opening Day and all Portland Sea Dogs home games are available and can be purchased by calling the Sea Dogs Ticket Office at 207-879-9500 or online at www.seadogs.com.