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The Boston Globe

Theater & art


The new ‘Yaz’ statue and its ‘Argo’ connection

Being unveiled outside Fenway Park on Sunday is a statue of Red Sox Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski, by sculptor Antonio Tobias “Toby” Mendez. The bronze likeness depicts Yaz tipping his hat prior to his last big league at-bat, on Oct. 2, 1983. Mendez, 49, who lives in Maryland, is already known locally for his Fenway statuary of Sox teammates Ted Williams, Johnny Pesky, Bobby Doerr, and Dom DiMaggio. Other subjects of his include Thurgood Marshall and Mohandas Gandhi; sports legends Nolan Ryan, Don Shula, Brooks Robinson, and Cal Ripken Jr.; and Worcester native Major Taylor, champion bicycle racer and pioneering African-American sports star.

Impressive as Mendez’s portfolio is, his family story is even more compelling. His father, Antonio Joseph “Tony” Mendez, is an accomplished oil painter whose exploits as a CIA operative became the basis for the Oscar-winning film “Argo.” Played onscreen by Ben Affleck, the elder Mendez starred in the 1980 real-life Iranian rescue operation that no screenwriter could have invented.

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