#ILoveSafecoField – Giant Umpire
One of the many details of Safeco Field that visitors might never notice is the huge statue of an umpire presiding over the Wells Fargo Terrace Club lounge on the first base side.
The sculpture was commissioned by Safeco in 2001 from Seattle artist Scott Fife. The idea was to celebrate baseball and the basic values of sportsmanship and fair play.
Fife studied vintage photos of umpires from the old Pacific Coast League including a 1955 image of Emmett Ashford, the first African American umpire in the PCL.
The umpire is in the act of calling a runner “safe.” Even in a crouch, he still stands 6’5”and his wingspan is 7’6” from fingertip to fingertip. His hands are the size of dinner plate, his waste is 50” around and to support the huge frame, he’s got 21” long shoes.
Fife managed to get an amazing level of detail out of his medium – archival cardboard, drywall screws, glue and acrylic paint. As big as the sculpture is, because it’s made of cardboard, it only weighs 120 pounds.
Fife favors cardboard as his medium. He uses the common and basic material to recreate everyday objects, portraits and in the case of “safe,” a full figure. His sculptures evoke memories of earlier times (especially of the ‘50s when he came of age) and are deeply grounded in Americana and the American West where he was born and raised. Fife is a lifelong baseball fan.