April 5, 2023
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Houston resident Duncan Corbett poses with a granite base where a bronze sculpture will soon be installed. The sculpture, entitled "The Pioneer," will be a unique part of the Corbett Park baseball facility, located on Wharton County Junior College's Wharton campus. The statue will be officially unveiled at 1 p.m. Thursday, April 13, at the facility. The event is free and open to the public.
WHARTON, TEXAS – Wharton County Junior College’s Corbett Park is known throughout the region as one of the most beautiful, modern baseball parks around. This month, the facility will become an even more unique attraction with the installation of a six-foot, five-inch bronze statue of a baseball player.
The statue will be unveiled at 1 p.m. Thursday, April 13, at Corbett Park on the WCJC campus in Wharton. A brief ceremony will be held. The event is free and open to the public. The Pioneers will play Blinn College later that day at the park. Game time is 6 p.m.
Sculpted by renowned Texas artist Ed Hankey, the statue – deemed “The Pioneer” – will be made out of bronze and created in the image of a player, bat on shoulder and glove in hand. Houston resident Duncan Corbett commissioned the statue and covered the roughly $90,000 price tag. Corbett several years ago provided a generous gift to WCJC to construct the ballpark itself, which was completed in the spring of 2020 at a cost of more than $1.7 million. Corbett said the idea came from looking at similar statues at professional ballparks. His own personal fondness for art – especially bronze sculptures – was the driving force behind the project.
“I wanted something real high quality,” he said. “This is really going to set this field off.”
Corbett has remained in close contact with the sculptor since the beginning of the project. It has taken more than one year to create, with the artist working with foam, clay, and then bronze.
“It’s not a real simple process,” Corbett noted.
Corbett chose Hankey after searching for a south Texas artist. Hankey is originally from Ohio but moved to Texas in the 1970s, attending the University of Houston before embarking on his career. He has several notable pieces in his repertoire, including a 24-carat gold covered King Tutankhamun mask which was part of a National Geographic exposition as well as a Korean War monument that graces the state capital in Austin.
Once completed, “The Pioneer” will weigh approximately 450 pounds and be installed on a granite block at the Wharton ballpark’s front gate. A placard beneath the statue will include details of the project.
“I think this will look really nice out here,” Corbett said.