OKLAHOMA CITY — “The Commerce Comet” has a big presence around Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, home of the Oklahoma City Dodgers.
There’s a towering statue of Mickey Mantle on the third-base side of the ballpark, which is located on Mickey Mantle Drive, and then there’s Mickey Mantle’s Steakhouse a Mantlesque home run away in the Bricktown.
The 7-foot-6 bronze statue, designed by Blair Buswell of Pleasant Grove, Utah, is mounted on a 3-foot granite base at the third base pavilion of “The Brick.”
It was unveiled at the park’s dedication on April 16, 1998.
Mantle, who grew up in Commerce, is one of three Oklahoma Baseball Hall of Famers honored with larger-than-life statues.
A 9-foot statue of catcher Johnny Bench, who grew up in Binger, is located at the home plate gate.
An 8-foot-8 statue of pitcher Warren Spahn, who was born in Buffalo, New York, but lived in Broken Arrow and Hartshorne after a five-year stint as manager of the Tulsa Oilers, is located outside the right field gate.
This is the third season for Oklahoma City to be the Triple-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Dodgers, known as the Redhawks and 89ers down through the years, have been marking the 20th anniversary of the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, which replaced All-Sports Stadium.
It was the first major Metropolitan Area Projects Plan (MAPS) to be completed and — like many of the parks and arenas around the country — helped spark a revitalization of downtown Oklahoma City.
Formerly a warehouse district, it includes the baseball stadium, the navigable Bricktown Canal, bars and restaurants and other attractions.
Another key component of the district is Chesapeake Arena, home of the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder.
“The Brick” was named one of the top 10 minor league stadium in the 2013 10 Best Readers’ Choice Awards, presented by USA Today, and the No. 2 minor league ballpark by Baseball America.
Approximately 480,000 bricks make up the exterior of the ballpark, which mixes retro charm with modern accommodations. A 10-foot tall, 185-foot long LED video board in left field was added in 2011.
In addition to the Dodgers, Oklahoma City has been an affiliate of the Houston Colt .45s (1962-72), Cleveland Indians (1973-75), Philadelphia Phillies (1976-82), Texas Rangers (1983-2010) and Houston Astros (2011-14).
Shortstop Corey Seager, who was ranked as the Dodgers top prospect in 2015, split the season between Tulsa and Oklahoma City before being called up to the Dodgers on Sept. 1.
He was the 2016 National League Rookie of the Year and was named to the NL All-Star team in 2016 and 2017.
Among the other former OKC players who have gone on to the major leagues are Cody Bellinger, Nelson Cruz, Dallas Keuchel, R.A. Dickey, Ryne Sandberg, Sammy Sosa and Juan González.
And current St. Louis Cardinals broadcaster John Rooney called 89ers games from 1980 to 1982.
Curt Gowdy also called games on KOMA (now KOKC) in the 1940s.