Big Statues Creates Life-size Bronze Statue to Memorialize Pinch Hitter Forrest Harrill “Smoky” Burgess

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Big Statues is working in collaboration with the town of Forest City, North Carolina, to erect a life-size statue in honor of the record-setting baseball catcher and pinch hitter.

Smokey Burgess

“It’s a really great experience being able to be a part of something like this. My grandpa has nothing but respect and great things to say about their time together,” Adam said.

The bronze sculptors at Big Statues in Provo, Utah are honored to announce their collaboration with the Town of Forest City, North Carolina in erecting a life-size bronze sculpture of professional baseball catcher and pinch hitter, Forrest Harrill “Smoky” Burgess.

The town of Forest City contacted Big Statues in July of 2012 to begin moving forward with the project. They plan to unveil and dedicate the statue on November 9, 2013.

M.A. Andrews, a Journalist for the Rutherford Weekly, said, “The purpose of the sculpture is to forever project the acknowledgement and pride Rutherford County has for the native son.”

The statue will be placed on West Main Street at the Cool Springs Gymnasium Park in Forest City, North Carolina.

Burgess was a unique player, batting left-handed and throwing right-handed. He later became known for his skills as a pinch hitter, setting a major league career record with 145 pinch hits.

After he retired in 1967 at the age of 40, Burgess was the very first player signed by the infamous Ted Turner for the Atlanta Braves, serving as a scout as well as a batting and catching coach. He was elected to the Reds Hall of Fame in 1975.

Burgess passed away from cancer in 1991 in North Carolina.

Margaret Burgess, the wife of Harrill, said, “He was always a good person, a good husband, and a good provider. His favorite roommate in baseball was Vernon Law, the Pittsburgh Pirate pitcher.”

Vernon Law of Orem, Utah and former team mate of Harrill, assisted in the creative process by giving his input to the swing and likeness of Smokey. Vernon’s grandson Adam Law is now a professional player for the Dodgers Corporation. Adam visited Big Statues to see the sculpture, and to verify the accuracy of the statue's swing.

Adam said, “It’s a really great experience being able to be a part of something like this. My grandpa has nothing but respect and great things to say about their time together.”

The bronze statue created by Matt Glenn stands at the exact height of Burgess, 5’8, and depicts Burgess in the follow-through motion of him swinging a baseball bat.

Big Statues, a custom bronze sculpting company based out of Provo, Utah, has been sculpting commission bronze pieces for over ten years.

For more information about Big Statues, and the custom bronze sculptures of Matt Glenn, visit


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Matt Glenn
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