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How Giants Catcher Buster Posey Was Immortalized in LEGO

To call San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey’s trophy case impressive is an understatement: 2010 National League Rookie of the Year. 2012 NL Comeback Player of the Year. Two-time Silver Slugger. 2012 NL MVP. And of course there are the three World Series rings. But the honor that confirms Posey’s superstar status? Being immortalized in LEGO, of course.

On Saturday, the Giants hosted LEGO Day at AT&T Park and the centerpiece was the unveiling of the life-size Buster Posey built with LEGO pieces. “It’s really neat,” Posey told Sports Illustrated Kids in August. “I had LEGOs as a kid. It’s humbling to have a statue made out of such an iconic toy, and I’m excited to see what my twin 4 year olds think about it.” (For more from Posey, check out our profile of the catcher in the November 2015 issue of SI Kids, on sale September 26!)

The statue features Posey crouching behind home plate in full catcher’s gear. He is 193 bricks tall, weighs 85 pounds, and constructed out of 15,022 white, black, and orange LEGO bricks. About 98 percent of those are basic bricks, while the rest are specialty pieces from sets like Technics. “If you had enough at home, you could build it yourself,” said Master Builder and lead model designer Mark Roe. 

But don’t get too excited. You need more than LEGO to build your own Buster Posey at home. You’ll also need lots and lots of time. It took Roe 60 hours to design the statue using both a computer program and old-fashioned drawing. It took another 150 hours to actually build it using an interlocking method to keep it together. The first layer is constructed top to bottom, the next right to left, then top to bottom, and so on. Models like this one are “usually only built three to four studs thick,” Roe said. “So it’s usually pretty hollow on the inside.”

That posed a challenge in this case because of this statue’s pose. Normally, a life-size player would be standing, which makes it easier to find its center of gravity and keep it from falling over. But with Posey, he’s crouching and his left arm is extended, causing him to be a little “tippy-forward,” according to Roe. To help balance LEGO Posey, the build team created the statue around a steel skeleton. Welded steel rods run throughout LEGO Posey, from the feet up to the head and out through that left arm. That helped balance it out.

But there was another factor to keep in mind when building LEGO Posey. This is a “full-contact model,” according to Master Builder Chris Steininger. He helped build the statue and unveil it in San Francisco. When it’s installed at AT&T Park, it will be part of a LEGO diorama that encourages fan interaction. So it needed a little something extra to protect it from the wear and tear of years of long baseball seasons (and ticket holders who get a little too interactive). The solution was a special glue applied to each piece to ensure everything stays together. “It’s actually a solvent that melts the LEGO brick and creates a welded bond,” Steininger said. “So it’ll last as long as the brick lasts.”

All the work and effort that went into LEGO Posey resulted in a eye-catching, unique brick statue — one the build team believes will connect with both the real Posey and all of his fans.

“I hope [Posey] likes it when he sees it,” Roe said before it was unveiled. But Steininger has no doubts. “I think they’re going to love it,” he said. “It looks like him. The pose is awesome. The colors are vibrant. If you step back from him 10 or 15 feet, you can hardly even tell it’s not a real person sitting there posing.”

Photos: Jed Jacobsohn/ AP Images for LEGO

buster posey lego
buster posey lego
buster posey lego
buster posey lego