A mysterious baseball monument which appeared overnight in Richmond Baseball Club’s home playing field inspired a flurry of conspiracy theories.

The sudden appearance of the 1.75 metres tall sculpture constructed of 162 baseballs and weighing over 35kg induced a flood of wild speculation between team mates as to how it ended up there.

“I reckon it’s a Trojan horse offering [from the adjacent gun club]. Booby trapped!” said one club member, and “Is Banksy a Richmond Baseball fan?” asked another.

The origin of the statue is far more sedate, but no less interesting.

Richmond and Twickenham Times: The baseball monumentThe baseball monument

Chris Goldsmith, a resident of Kingston, built the sculpture as an ode to the game he first fell in love with 30 years ago.

“I watched Game 7 of the World Series (a major baseball event in the USA) between the [Atlanta] Braves and [Minnesota] Twins, John Smoltz pitching against Jack Morris, and became fascinated by it. I read books, studied the game, the history, the legends, the ball parks, all the curses and incidents”.

One Sunday afternoon whilst out walking, Goldsmith spotted the Richmond Baseball team in action.

As he stood watching he noticed baseballs being hit over the fences into the surrounding woodland seemingly never to be found again.

“I don’t know why I did it, but I decided to go in and try to find these balls. I really enjoyed doing that, it gave me a stress release – [it was] almost cathartic - and it became a hobby like hunting mushrooms”, he said.

Richmond and Twickenham Times: Chris Goldsmith built the sculpture as an ode to the game he first fell in love with 30 years agoChris Goldsmith built the sculpture as an ode to the game he first fell in love with 30 years ago

Some of the baseballs he found were in such poor condition they had to be discarded but the majority just needed some good old fashioned elbow grease.

Cleaning, drying, polishing with bike shoe polish or toothpaste, before finally using a leather preserver, he painstakingly and lovingly restored each one.

Having amassed a collection of more than 180 baseballs over a seven year period, Goldsmith decided he wanted to build a sculpture out of them saying, “I just thought it would make a really cool art piece and no one had really done it before.

"I love the feel of a baseball and the colour, and I wanted to show off every single baseball because it took a lot of time and effort to find these balls and bring them back to life”.

He considered different ideas for the art piece including a pyramid design, but none truly piqued his attention.

His inspiration eventually came from another dramatic and perplexing sculpture, the Utah monolith.

Going through several design ideas for the tower, which included building a scale model using ping pong balls and a broomstick, Goldsmith settled on a design made up of multiple modules of 12 baseballs totalling 162 altogether.

It took three months from idea conception to final installation and the result is a fascinating, fun and mesmerising piece of modern art.

Goldsmith has donated the sculpture, titled “2021 A Baseball Oddity”, to Richmond Baseball club.

Although he is extremely proud of it, Goldsmith does not consider himself an artist or sculptor, but more of a keen hobbyist building scale model cars.