Diane Bell column (San Diego Union-Tribune, December 17, 2011)

Claus for a cause: Bill Swank, a local baseball historian who doubles as Santa Claus during the holidays, took his campaign to get a statue of Ted Williams erected at downtown’s former Lane Field to the S.D. Port Commission board meeting Tuesday. Guards allowed the red-suited “Baseball Santa” to enter, but minus his candy cane-striped baseball bat and his “Occupy Lane Field” protest sign.

Swank delivered his plea Santa-style:

“T’was the night before baseball

and all through the town

Not a creature was stirring

when Santa took the mound.

He told the board members

I have a goal,

a statue of Ted Williams…

or I’ll give you all coal!”

Swank elicited a few chuckles but no comment on the statue. Given the current cold snap, coal might actually be much appreciated.

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2 Responses to Diane Bell column (San Diego Union-Tribune, December 17, 2011)

  1. Dex says:

    This is a great idea. What can we do to help make it a reality?

  2. Hi Dex, Thanks for your kind words.

    I’m a political neophyte, unaccustomed to art commissions, board meetings and the “occupy public property” movement. For the past 15 years, I have peacefully attended many meetings in an effort to preserve the historic importance of Lane Field, the original home of the San Diego Padres. For five years, I have campaigned on behalf of a statue of native son Ted Williams to represent all the men who played for the Padres. Ted really was a kid when he played for the brand new Padres in 1936 and 1937. At the end of the ’36 season, he returned to Hoover High school to complete his senior year. I am very encouraged by recent developments in the design of the bayfront park at the Lane Field site. The Port Commission has asked the developer to incorporate baseball in the design. It is my understanding that a portion of the money used to develop the site must be used for public art. Hopefully this means a statue of Ted Williams in Padres pinstripes will be erected at the corner of Broadway and Harbor Drive. Public support is appreciated. Art committees do not understand the importance of Ted Williams. When I appeared before the Port’s art committee in 2008, I thought I was talking to a room full of stuffed owls. I believe the Port Commissioners do have an appreciation for San Diego’s “Kid” and the significance of Lane Field. Yours in baseball, Bill “Baseball Santa” Swank

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