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Mural: A real crowd pleaser
For $25 get a face in baseball mural
Holding up the baseball mural design are, from left, Tom Wilson, Gayl Wilson, Charlene Carroll, Terri Paquini, and Dave Gordon. - photo by DENNIS WYATT

Want to be part of the crowd at the old ball game?

It’ll cost you $25 unless, of course, you want preferred seating. Then it’s $50.

The Manteca Mural Society is making the offer to anyone who’d like their face - or that of a friend of loved one - in a mural commemorating Manteca baseball that will be unveiled in the spring at Library Park.

The 138-foot by 7-foot-8 mural has room for 92 spectators. Each face on the mural will be painted with each person depicted being about two feet from the waist to the top of their head.

Photographs - past or present - can be used. The charge is $25 to $50 depending upon the placement of the person in the stands. The deadline for photos is Jan. 31. The donations are tax deductible. For more information, contact Tom Wilson at 988-1971.

The mural is being done by Dave Gordon. He’s responsible for a number of other murals in the downtown area including the popular “Cruising” mural in the 100 block of North Main Street. That mural has recognizable faces of Manteca residents as does the “Manteca Snow” mural directly across from Library Park.

The likeness of one person will definitely appear in the mural at no charge. That person is William Perry - the Post Office worker who took a sabbatical from working in 1935 to build Manteca’s version of the Field of Dreams on a vacant downtown lot where Library Park is today.

Perry financed and built the bleachers and field as a way to provide a place of entertainment, recreation, and pride for the community that was reeling in the depths of the Great Depression.

Wilson noted it is not the Bill Perry who served as mayor in the late 1990s. Growing up there was confusion between the two as they went to school at the same time prompting the man who helped rally the community around baseball to have people call him “the other” Bill Perry.

The mural depicts the final inning of a girls’ game. Lined up alongside the third base fence line are the boys who are waiting to take the field next. On the other opposite fence line are more spectators as well as a passing engine of a Tidewater Southern Railway train.

A runner is positioned to score from third while a right-handed batter is awaiting a pitch. There will be a dog that chases down balls and retrieves them depicted in the mural. Gordon said it was a touch that reflected the fact there were no outfield fences.

Altogether, five murals are being added to Library Park along a path dubbed “the history walk.”

The other four murals are:

• “The Yokuts Indians” by Terri Pasquini. The mural will show a family of Native Americans whose ancestral lands are in and around Manteca gathered around the evening campfire listening to the story of creation.

• “The Pioneers” by Jessie Marinas. The mural depicts the hard struggle to make a living and provide for the family that was faced by farmers that settled the Manteca area before irrigation was developed.

• “Agriculture” by Colleen Mitchell-Veyna. The mural portrays the bountiful harvests once Manteca farming came into its own with irrigation.

•”Industry” by Brian Romagnoli. The mural will depict images of industry from Manteca.

The other four murals will be 32 feet wide by 8 feet high.

The murals are being painted off site on weather-resistant ply-canvas. When completed they will be installed on the walls.

All the murals except the baseball mural are targeted to be dedicated the second week of April during the Crossroads Street Fair.

The Library Park expansion was designed to have murals be an integral part of the experience of using the park.

The city will pay the society $59,950 to cover the cost of the artists’ work and materials plus ongoing maintenance. The money will come from development agreement fees - the so-called bonus bucks paid by developers to assure sewer allocation certainty for housing.