DENVER (CBS4) – The MLB All-Star Game exhibits some of the best players in the game, but an artist assured baseball legends will be honored long after the 9th inning. A stunning mural celebrating the Black trailblazers of America’s pastime was unveiled in Denver’s Five Points neighborhood Tuesday.
In just four days, Dallas-based artist Jeremy Biggers used paint to bring three legends back to life: Jackie Robinson, Willie Mays and Hank Aaron.
“I want people to be proud of the neighborhood and the history that Five Points has. I want people to see these legacies in themselves,” said Biggers.
Bigger’s work was recently featured in Denver’s Black Love Mural Festival. Festival founder and art curator, Robert Gray, later reached out to him about an MLB mural opportunity.
Bigger didn’t hesitate to say “yes.”
“I wanted to make sure I absolutely got this right,” said Biggers. “I haven’t had this experience before, where the loved ones of the person I’m painting sees it. Not in person anyway.”
The family of Hank Aaron attended the unveiling of the mural.
Aaron finished his career with 755 home runs, more than any player in baseball history at the time of his retirement. Barry Bonds broke his record in 2007, scoring 762 home runs.
Aaron passed away earlier this year at the age of 86.
“I’m speechless,” said Ceci Aaron. “It’s difficult because this is still so raw for me. This mural really encompasses him. It looks like him, but it doesn’t just capture his face. You can see his soul and his heart. He had a very good heart.”
Ceci says her father’s grin was as infectious as his energy. His heart is what Aaron’s wife, Billye, loved most.
“He wasn’t as concerned about what people thought about him as a baseball player, as he was concerned about how they saw him as a human being,” said Billye.
At the time of Aaron’s death, he and his wife were focused on his Chasing the Dream foundation. Aaron wanted to help underprivileged children chase their own dreams. Aaron hit 755 career home runs and set out to help 755 children.
That goal has long been surpassed.
“He always told them to give it their best and take no shortcuts, in their work or in this life, because you’re assured to fail. He said be good to yourself, be careful with what you align yourself with, and be careful with who you align yourself with,” said Billye.
When people stop by the mural to admire their faces, Billye hopes they see the men – not just the players.
“He left so much to be admired. I’m delighted to be in Denver at the All-Star game where he’s being honored,” said Billye. “This is quite a tribute. It’s more than I can say.”
The mural is located in Denver’s Five Points neighborhood on North Clarkson Street behind Five Points Plaza.