Colts Hall of Fame running back Lenny Moore's name is synonymous with Baltimore's football tradition. Now he could have his image immortalized.
A $750,000 fund-raising drive in conjunction with the Ed Block Courage Award Foundation was announced Monday to create a statue to honor Moore.
"We know without a doubt that Lenny not only has excelled in the area of football," said Marvin "Doc" Cheatham, the founder of the Lenny Moore Statue and Wax Figurine Committee, "but has also significantly contributed to many, many organizations."
The do-it-all player was known for his equally varied nicknames, ranging from "Sputnik" to "Lightning Lenny." But to many who followed his career, he was simply known as "Spats."
"Well, I'm honored, you know, it's quite natural. I've heard about it for a while through different areas and it's very exciting," said Moore, who did not attend Monday's news conference, which coincided with his 80th birthday.
Committee members said they hope to place the statue near the Johnny Unitas statue outside M&T Bank Stadium. They also plan to create a wax likeness, which would be housed at the National Great Blacks in Wax Museum on North Avenue.
"You know what, I had made mention a while back, that I want to be right on his hip. I made that statement. Where Johnny U. is, I want to be right on his hip, somewhere around him," Moore said. "Well, that would be right where I should be."
The committee has narrowed the potential contractors down to four, including sculptors who created figures of Unitas, Billie Holiday and Brooks Robinson. A Randallstown road was named after Moore in October.
In a record-setting career that spanned 12 seasons, Moore amassed 12,451 combined yards and scored 113 touchdowns. He was named Rookie of the Year in 1956, after being drafted in the first round out of Penn State, and would play in seven Pro Bowls.
Moore is also the only player to have scored more than 40 rushing and receiving touchdowns.
"There was no doubt in our mind that this had to be done and we wanted to be part of it," said William Pateris, director of operations for the Ed Block Courage Award Foundation. "Not only was Lenny a past president of the foundation, but he was also one of our biggest supporters."
Former linebacker Stan White, who played with the Colts from 1972-79, met Moore while he was still working in the Baltimore front office. The two felt a similar pain when they watched the Colts relocated to Indianapolis in 1984.
"We knew that it was taking part of the heart of Baltimore away," White said. "Lenny being one of the icons of the Baltimore Colts, it was very sad for him."
White said that players like Moore were more rooted in the local community, partly because they lived in Baltimore and didn't have to worry as much about the celebrity glare around athletes today.
"I don't think as many players live here and it's harder for them to go out," White said. "It was part of the fabric of the community, the Colts were. They went to eat here, they interacted with people all the time and they lived here full time."
Contributions can be made to the Ed Block Courage Foundation, 8800 Orchard Tree Lane, Towson, MD 21286 or online at http://www.edblock.org. All donations will go to a specified account with M&T Bank.