Sports Artist John Robertson's most recent commercial project (upcoming Milwaukee Bucks 2018) the remodel of the NFL Green Bay Packers football stadium suites area that opened in July 2017 – (8 paintings) and three (8 feet by 15 feet) baseball paintings for the new MLB Atlanta Braves stadium that opened in April 2017. Click on the “About” link for more commercial sports stadiums and arenas work.
May 6th wis Willie Mays birthday. Born in 1931. Back in 2007 I was hired by by Fox Sport to create three large-scale paintings baseball images of Willie Mays for an interview shown during the pregame show for the (MLB) All-Star Game in San Francisco. Two of the paintings were 4 ½ feet by 6 feet and the other baseball art was 4 feet by 8 feet, acrylic on unstretched canvas. The interview was with Derek Jeter and Ken Griffey Jr.
How I started Painting Sports Images
I get asked regularly how did I get started painting sports figures for commercial and private clients. I have created a number of sports images for sports stadiums and arenas, Minnesota Vikings, San Francisco Forty Niners, Atlanta Braves, Milwaukee Bucks, etc. (see bio) a short time before creating this work for Fox Sports, Fox had hired me to create six paintings for a NBA (National Basketball Association) commercial that ran nationally in the major regional basketball markets. Here is a link to that video. That NBA commercial was the first major sports project I did.
I apologize for the poor quality of the video but it is all that is available. It was a fun project painting “The Say Hey Kid” and it certainly was instrumental in my becoming a sports artist.
The new year is not in January it is the MLB opening day in spring bringing all the cheers of a great baseball year. It should be a national holiday, this year it is March 29 when five hundred red, white and blue balloons are released over every baseball stadium in the country. White doves should be released by the hundreds. The blue Angels should be flying over the stadiums as fireworks explode in the sky. For this is to be the first day we get to see the potential fairy tail team that will go on to win the World Series – or it will be our first sight of a future Hall of Famer. Every player is nervous with either butterflies in their stomach or a monkey on their back. It all depends on how their last season ended. But it is a special day, a birthday for everyone. Something, somewhere in some stadium something great will happen.
It is a new day with a game opening in a fifty degree refrigerator of a stadium or another stadium opening in a sunny surfing climate of 80 degrees . Will you be there to see it? Will you see the first pitch, the first throwing of the hotdog or bag of peanuts? Are we going to see an opening day shutout? A no-hitter? Only happened once. A walk-off home run? Why not? It is the ceremonial beginning of spring.
Me? What will I do? I will probably create a new baseball painting – something that will remind me of that opening day in late March. That is what painting is for me – a way of recalling a day or experiencing it again through the act of painting. It is a part of life that I can’t let go but need to remind myself of the joys of spring. Opening day does that for me. The new year is not in January it is the opening day of spring bringing all the hopes of a great year.
The baseball painting by sports artist John Robertson is 60 inches by 72 inches, acrylic on unstretched canvas.
Chipper Jones made it! Chipper Jones MLB baseball Hall of Fame Class of 2018. Well done on making it into the Hall of Fame on your first year of eligibility. This baseball painting of Chipper Jones for the SunTrust Stadium, Delta Sky Club in the new in Atlanta Braves stadium in 2017. The sports art painting is 15 feet by 8 feet in acrylic paint.
Chipper Jones data
Third baseman Chipper Jones played his whole career with Atlanta Braves for 19 years. Jones had a relatively easy time getting into baseball’s Hall of Fame as he got named on 97.2% of the ballots. His statistics shows his record of eight-time All-Star and the 1999 National League MVP, Jones had a career batting average of .303 with 468 home runs. Any baseball fan can see why Chipper was selected with numbers that show a combination batting average of over .300 %, .400 on-base average, 500 slugging average and 400 home runs. Those number show why Chipper Jones on his first year of eligibility jumped into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Chipper Jones Thoughts
Here is a few thoughts Chipper Jones has said about playing baseball that sums up his statistics and how he played the game. Jones said, “We can bunt guys over. But we’re built on power. That’s American baseball.” But in contrast to that statement he also said that he felt his proudest accomplishments was that he had more walks than strikeouts. About his percentage numbers? “I was always of the belief that if you go up there and you’re the toughest out possible every single time you walk up to the plate, the numbers are going to take care of themselves,’’ he said. About entering the MLB Baseball Hall of Fame? “This is day that’s going to change my life forever. We have a handful of those during our lifetime, transcendent moments that just change your life forever. Today was certainly one of them.’’
The painting you see is of David Justice a former outfielder and designated hitter in Major League Baseball who played for the Atlanta Braves (1989–1996). The painting I created is Atlanta Braves art from their new SunTrust baseball stadium in Atlanta, Ga. The painting of David Justice is 8 feet by 15
MLB baseball player David Justice right field sliding into home plate with catcher and umpire
feet, acrylic on unstretched canvas. I created three pieces this size and will see other post of the other paintings on this blog. Although I have created sports art for a number of other stadiums the three MLB baseball pieces I painted of Atlanta Braves players are the largest. The other two pieces are of Chipper Jones and the other is of Dale Murphy. All three of the pieces are on display in the Delta Sky Club area of the SunTrust Park stadium.
About David Justice
Three-time MLB All-Star who played right field and hit over 300 home runs in his 14-year career. He was also on a winning World Series with the Atlanta Braves in 1995. And here is a little bit of Trivia. He was married to actress Halle Berry from 1992 to 1996.
I am always curious about some of the things athletes say. Here is an odd one attributed to David Justice. “I mulled over what he had told me as I savored the Scotch. Not bad, really — like a beer that’s been in a brawl.” The real question about this quote is who was David Justice drinking Scotch with that made that statement to him. I have no idea.
It is always interesting to read odd things about athletes. Here is another odd one from the movie “Moneyball” about Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane’s attempt to put together a baseball club cheaply using a computer-generated analysis to draft his players.
David Justice (at the time) is on the Oakland Athletics and he is talking with Scott Hatteberg who has moved from catcher to a first baseman.
David Justice: “Scotty H.”
Scott Hatteberg: “Yo, what’s up, D.J.?”
David Justice: “Pickin’ machine.”
David Justice: “How you likin’ first base, man?”
Scott Hatteberg: “It’s, uh… it’s coming along. Picking it up. You know, tough transition, but I’m starting to feel better with it.”
David Justice: “Yeah?”
Scott Hatteberg: “Yeah.”
David Justice: “What’s your biggest fear?”
Scott Hatteberg: “A baseball being hit in my general direction” [Hatteberg and Justice share a laugh]
David Justice: “That’s funny. Seriously, what is it?”
ATLANTA BRAVES BASEBALL ART DALE MURPHY SUNTRUST PARK STADIUM PAINTING
The painting you see is Atlanta Braves art from their new SunTrust baseball stadium in Atlanta, Ga. The painting of Dale Murphy is 8 feet by 15 feet, acrylic on unstretched canvas. I created three pieces this size and will see other post of the other paintings on this blog. Although I have created sports
Painting art of Atlanta Brave outfielder Dale Murphy making a leaping catch againg the outfield wall
art for a number of other stadiums the three MLB baseball pieces I painted of Atlanta Braves players are the largest. The other two pieces are of Chipper Jones and the other is of David Justice. All three of the pieces are on display in the Delta Sky Club area of the SunTrust Park stadium.
About Dale Murphy
For all of the Atlanta Braves fans I am sure you know a lot about Dale Murphy as he is one of their best players ever. For a complete history of him the best thing to do is to visit his own Dale Murphy web site that has more facts than you will ever want to know.
For those of you that just want a little information here is a few basics (from his website) Dale Murphy was chosen by the Atlanta Braves in the first round of the 1974 Major League Draft. Over the next few years, he worked his way through the Braves minor league system and made his major league debut in 1976.
Although he began his career as a catcher, he spent a short time at first base and finally ended up in the outfield where he became the youngest player in history to win back-to-back MVP awards (1982 and 1983), was named to the National League All-Star team seven times, earned four Silver Slugger awards and five Gold Gloves.
Dale Murphy Quotes
What always interests me is what either the actual player has said or what others have said about him. In the case of Dale Murphy he Sid something very basic about being an athlete and nothing particularly profound but true: “I miss baseball.” Most people can relate to that after they retire. His wife certainly has as it has been reported that after he retired he became her full-time job. Yes, she “missed” baseball too. And one of my favorite quotes is when Dale Murphy said, “Whether I am hitting .100 or .300 I am resolved to, at least, enjoy every game.” That has meaning far beyond baseball. Try to find out what you like to do, then do it even if you have no real success at it. No matter how it may be measured, we need to enjoy what we do. Read more
The painting you see above is Atlanta Braves art from their new SunTrust baseball stadium in Atlanta, Ga. The painting of Chipper Jones is 8 feet by 15 feet, acrylic on unstretched canvas. I created three pieces this size and will post them as I gather the photos. Although I have created SunTrust Park stadium.
Painting art of MLB Atlanta Braves Chipper Jones at bat with the catcher and umpire standing behind him at home plate
sports art for a number of other stadiums the three MLB baseball pieces I painted of Atlanta Braves players are the largest. The other two pieces are of Dale Murphy and the other is of David Justice. All three of the pieces are on display in the Delta Sky Club area of the arena.
How the Project Develops
Like all the other stadium projects I have worked on it takes about a year from start to finish. First there is the original call asking me if I am interested in creating paintings (in this case) for the Atlanta Braves new stadium. Then the process begins with determining what is to be painted, what sizes and what medium to be used. This is all determined by the consultants and the teams deciding where the paintings will eventually hang in the stadium. Once that is decided then sketches are drawn and they go through a process of approval, from design aspects to color choices. Images are chosen from their archives of photographs and at some point I will then create the paintings. Again, they are evaluated and changes are invariably made. I may have painted the wrong era of uniform on a player, or the stripes on the uniform or the lettering may be incorrect. One of the biggest challenges is getting the life-size figure to look like it is in action. An athlete has to look like they are athletic.
Eventually all is settled and the paintings are shipped off to be framed and then delivered to the stadium for installation. From my perspective the stadium does not take on a life until the art from all the artist’s is hung. The art adds a personality an warmth and life to the bare stadium that makes it inviting to the patrons of the sport.
Chicago Cubs, Murphy ‘s bleachers wanting and waiting – to see their faces now. Do you believe in miracles delivered in style? – a night of baseball you will never forget. History in Cleveland Ohio. Not World Series Champions since 1908. They got together and rallied in a rain-delayed game full
of heart attack moments. Bringing the title back to Chicago. It did happen coming back from being down 3 to 1 in the series. Loud crowd – high emotions. The Cubs don’t need a plane to fly home.
About the Chicago Cubs Baseball Painting
The baseball painting you see in the post is of Vintage Chicago Cubs player wearing a uniform from the last time the Cubs played in the World Series. 4 ft by 8 ft. Acrylic on unstretched canvas
Some Tweets I liked during World Series Game
World Series Game 7: Will the Chicago Cubs or Indians break their curse? 1908. 1948. A drought will end If you’re not watching baseball tonight …. something is wrong with you!! Just feels like this is going to be an epic ending. Nobody has a good reason to not watch this game!!! Things to remember: The pitcher throws the ball to the catcher. The catcher is the one without the bat.
I have not yet decided whether I will accept the result of tonight’s game. I want to keep you in suspense.
@DexterFowler launches the first leadoff homer in a winner-take-all
Tremendous sportsmanship being shown tonight. Really refreshing with all of the craziness going on in this world.
Not even a baseball fan, but @Cubs vs @Indians Game 7 is the stuff of HISTORY! Eyes glued to the TV!!!
The announcer described Anthony Rizzo as “the most polite man in major league baseball” this is utterly delightful
@RaeBeta I don’t believe politeness is an official statistic.
@RaeBeta Baseball is lots more fun the players are humanized as characters.
THIS is why baseball can be great!
Can I just say: Regardless of the result of the play, I love Lindor helping Rizzo up after the hard slide. @c_albertdeitch and the “nice play” tap, after the play on top of it @c_albertdeitch yeah the play was clean too
(This is the kind of stunning Internet content only twitter writers can provide.)
Yasiel Puig – mega-talented right fielder of the Los Angeles Dodgers – and as of this writing and finishing of this painting may be destined to leave the Dodgers in s trade. Here are a couple of links to other sites that write about the rumors more clearly than I ever could – as I am a sports artist and not a writer. I only try to provide a little background to the paintings I paint. So if you are interested in what may happen or want to see what people were guessing before whatever happen, did happen, then check out these two links:
As most of you who are reading this know that Yasiel Puig left the island of Cuba and was smuggled into the United States with the help of people with special interests in Miami and Cancun. Even with outside help, by anyone’s imagination, it must have been a trip and risk that few would be willing to take. People make the trip for a variety of reasons – but most do so for economic or political motives. And, apparently there is a lot of crazy stories surrounding Yasiel Puig’s migration to the United States. If you are at all interested in what Yasiel Puig faced in his travels to the United States, you might wish to read the article attached to the following link. http://espn.go.com/espn/feature/story/_/id/10781144/no-one-walks-island-los-angeles-dodgers-yasiel-puig-journey-cuba
Short Bio of Yasiel Puig
He grew up in Cienfuegos, and played for the Cuban national team in the 2008 World Junior Championship, where they won a bronze medal. He then played in the Cuban National Series, but a failed attempt at defecting to the United States had him out for a season as punishment. He then tried several more times to defect to Mexico (so as to get to the U.S. by land), finally succeeding in 2012. Puig signed with the Dodgers in 2012.
About the Painting
The painting by sports artist John Robertson is approximately 4 feet by 6 feet, acrylic on unstretched canvas
The “Ryno” Ryne Sandberg played second baseman for the Chicago Cubs. I painted this sports art for my niece as a wedding present. My sister lived in Chicago for a number of years and, as I remember, she went to graduate school there also. She is a big fan of the Chicago Cubs and when her first daughter was born she named her Ryne after Ryne Sandberg. Although they eventually moved away from the Chicago area they continued to be fans of Chicago. Knowing that I am a sports artist, my niece asked for a Chicago Cubs painting. So I have surprised her with this baseball painting.
Ryne Sandberg Major Accomplishments
Ryne Sandberg was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in January 2005; he was formally inducted in ceremonies on July 31, 2005. He was a perennial All-Star and Gold Glove candidate, making 10 consecutive All-Star appearances and winning nine consecutive Gold Gloves from 1983 to 1991. His career .989 fielding percentage is a major-league record at second base
Quotes from Ryne Sandberg
In his July 31, 2005, Cooperstown, NY Baseball Hall of Fame speech he said, “The reason I am here, they tell me, is that I played the game a certain way, that I played the game the way it was supposed to be played. I don’t know about that, but I do know this: I had too much respect for the game to play it any other way, and if there was there is a single reason I am here today, it is because of one word, “respect.”¹ I love to play baseball. I’m a baseball player. I’ve always been a baseball player. I’m still a baseball player. That’s who I am.”
One of my favorite quotes from Ryne Sandberg is because it has more meaning in to life and not just baseball. He said, “In baseball, there’s always the next day.” There is always the next day to move on with your life. Don’t let the past haunt and weigh you down. I like that thought.
The John Robertson Sports Art painting is 48″ by 63″ acrylic on unstretched canvas.
Sports Baseball painting of Minnesota Twins catch Joe Mauer
This painting of Joe Mauer first baseman and used to be catcher of the Minnesota Twins major league baseball team is approximately 8” x 10” on a 11” x 14” piece of drafting film. Ink and watercolor.
Joe Mauer’s main position when he started playing was catcher and sometimes first baseman. When asked to paint him for a relative he wanted a painting of Joe as a catcher. As a catcher Joe took a few hits to the head causing some concussions. On November 11, 2014 the Twins announced that Mauer would permanently move to first base in order to protect their star player from further concussions and the day-to-day physical wear of being a major league catcher. Since then, like in the past he has performed nicely.
Inspiration for the painting
This painting was created for a gift to my nephew-in-law. He is my wife’s sister’s son who absolutely loves the Minnesota Twins and goes to as many games as he possibly can. My wife’s family is from Minnesota and her sister lives just about a hour north from the Twin Cities. When my nephew left Minnesota to take a teaching job in Mexico he wanted something that would remind him of his home state. His mother suggested a baseball player and we somehow found out his favorite player was Joe Mauer.
I did paint Joe as a surprise and it eventually the painting ended up in Mexico. My nephew comes back to the states for all vacations and, of course back to Minnesota. And one of the first things he does is go to a Twins game. We get to see him every summer and a few times he has come to California to visit. Also, he is moving on from Mexico after three years there he is not sure where his next job will be. But he does like teaching in a foreign country except for missing the Twins
Nephew Second Passion: Minnesota Vikings
What is going to be fun this upcoming summer 2016 is the opening of the new Minnesota Vikings stadium. Both my wife and I have painted large-scale sports artwork for the new stadium and will be able to take her nephew to the opening in July. He is excited about the whole process as football and the Vikings is his next big passion. Don’t tell him but I will probably get some prints of the images I painted for the Vikings and they will be a great gift for his return.
As we all know Andre Ethier the MLB left-handed outfielder is still out with his broken leg mending. He has played his whole major league baseball with the Dodgers. He did start in the Oakland farm system but he’s never did play in the Major League with Oakland and started with the Dodgers in 2006. Andre does have an interesting ritual before every game—ever since he was in the minors—he eats a peanut butter and honey sandwich on wheat bread and two spoonfuls of tuna. One of the interesting things Ethier has said about himself is, “I wasn’t an all-American, and I wasn’t drafted until the second round. I wasn’t that guy everybody said to watch out for the next couple of years because I was going to make a big impact. I guess that lights a little fire under you and makes you want to show what you can do.”
Value of Playing for one Team
There is something valuable in a player that has only played for one team. They seem more real, not a rent-a-player, moving from one team to another. They care more about their own team. In his eight years with the Dodgers he has seen the good, the bad and the ugly – the success in October and the failures that can start in the July’s – and the seasons with the injuries. He’s a he’s a 2-time All-Star with a Silver Slugger and a Gold Glove in his history.
Because he has been able to perform under pressure he was given the nickname “Cap’n Clutch”. In one season he had six walk-off hits which included four walk-off home runs that tied the Major League record for most in a season. When asked about it in a Sporting News interview he said, “It’s one of those funny things. People understand that I’m pretty intense when I go up there, pretty focused and locked in; I can have that tight, white knuckled- grip look to me. I wasn’t that good in those situations early in my career; I was awful in those big, game-changing at-bats. I think I established that you can learn to become good at that but it takes a certain easiness and calmness to do it. There’s nothing better than having a feeling going up there: I want to be in that situation; I can’t wait to get that at-bat. Then you hit the ball and you look as you run around the bases—you just ended a game like that with one swing. It’s a great feeling. You’ve got to want to be in that situation because a lot of times you’re going to fail. But it’s what you look for. If anything, I’ve shown that I’m able to handle that situation and come through.” A couple of his accomplishments: He broke the Dodger record for most consecutive at-bats with a hit. He’s the only Dodger to have more than 30 doubles in six consecutive seasons.
What others Say About Andre Ethier
As Don Mattingly, manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers said, “It’s like you’d rather have Andre up with the game on the line in the ninth…” Mattingly continued, “That’s kind of the thinking there. You save for the biggest at-bat in the ninth.” This gives the Los Angeles Dodger fans those great “Captain Clutch” late-inning heroics.
There has been some question about Ethier batting against left-handers. In a GQ article Andre addressed a the question asked by Nathaniel Penn : “Against right-handed pitchers, your numbers are spectacular. Against left-handed pitchers, you’ve struggled throughout your career. That spring your manager, Don Mattingly, had to defend you and affirm that he’s not going to platoon you this season—i.e., bench you when the Dodgers are facing a left-handed starting pitcher. At this point in your career, how do you go about improving your ability to hit lefties?
[This area] is one where I think more than anything this spring we—I mean me and [Dodgers hitting coach] at the time, Mark McGwire—have been working really hard. Nothing mechanical, just more the mental side: visualizing and making ourselves better and really figuring out a way to just be confident in all situations.
Sometimes as a baseball player or just an athlete in general you stick to the things you do well and you keep practicing those things. Those areas where you have issues you try to fix ’em but at the same time you try to limit your exposure to those. But in baseball you gotta go up there and face everyone in every situation. I think it’s a thing where now lefties are coming out of the bullpen earlier in the game to face left-handed hitters. There’s maybe two lefties in the bullpen that are there every day just to try to get you out when those big at-bats are coming. You gotta learn those guys; it’s just how the game’s really been evolving.”
Although he has not played this season he does have a good perspective on his future play. Andre said, When I get back … “I just want to take advantage of every day that I’m in the lineup.”
Under the new baseball slide rule into second, “both baseball players have to wear a dress.” At least, that is what one of the Major League baseball managers was quoted as saying. His point being that the MLB was taking all of the “sport” out baseball.
If the baseball player can’t go into second base with “spikes up and wide” in an attempt to break up the double play, then where is the excitement and risk of the game? One of the new rules state: “A runner sliding into second has to make “a bona fide attempt” not just to slide into the base, but also to “remain on the base.” In other words, “no interference”. In the case of this baseball painting the base runner is trying to interfere with the shortstop.
Keep Baseball Entertaining
It seems to me, part of the reason to slide into second base, during the possibility of a double play, is to interfere with the play. Another way to break up the double play is to run the base path so the baseman can’t throw straight to first base. So, instead of taking out the danger of the play, with the baseball slide rule they should put a rule in to make it a greater risk for the base runner to run the bases. And that would be, the base runner has to run the bases in a straight line between the bases. But, with the new rule, the baseman may throw the ball at the base runner, and the base runner is not allowed to duck. That kind of evens out the whole “fairness” of a need for a slide rule. Let’s make sure both basemen and base runners are, “at risk” and keep the game as entertaining as ever. Maybe, even more entertaining.
If the League thinks it is protecting baseball players, it is eliminating not the most dangerous aspects of the game. The most dangerous? – getting hit by a pitch. The next change is coming: protect the batter by putting him into a batting cage.
Baseball art painting of Ramon Hernandez is 50″ x 70″ acrylic on unstretched canvas
As someone once said, “A catcher is a backstop with a good art.” And Ramon Hernandez was a great catcher with a good arm and got in front of everything. (and can play first base) He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) with the Oakland Athletics (1999–2003), San Diego Padres (2004–2005), Baltimore Orioles (2006–2008), Cincinnati Reds (2009–2011), Colorado Rockies (2012) and Los Angeles Dodgers (2013).
He has an interesting position to play catchers are the defensive leader on the field. They call the pitches and can position players on the field and have a pragmatic view of baseball. The great pitcher Bob Feller said, “If you believe your catcher is intelligent and you know that he has considerable experience, it is a good thing to leave the game almost entirely in his hands.”
A good catcher will have psychological insight and have a list of behaviors for each player approaching the batting box. His eyes are continuing to move across the field of play and his mind running the different offensive scenarios in his head. All of this going on with a baseball bat menacingly inches from his head.
Catcher Bill Dickey
Bill Dickey a baseball catcher and manage of the Yankees once said about being a catcher, “.A catcher must want to catch. He must make up his mind that it isn’t the terrible job it is painted, and that he isn’t going to say every day, ‘Why, oh why with so many other positions in baseball did I take up this one.” He played catcher in the Major League for the New York Yankees for 19 seasons. Dickey managed the Yankees after retiring from his playing career.
Catcher in the Rye
And, of course we must have a quote from the most that famous catcher who hangs out in the Rye, ” Holden Caulfield, ” “Anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody’s around – nobody big, I mean – except me. And I’m standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff – I mean if they’re running and they don’t look where they’re going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That’s all I do all day. I’d just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it’s crazy, but that’s the only thing I’d really like to be.”
― Quote from, J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye.
As you may know the great hitter Mark McGwire and was the Los Angeles Dodgers hitting coach is now the bench coach for the San Diego Padres.
I certainly hate to have my past follow me round and try to forget about it as much as I can. But I don’t have any great influence over others outcome in life. So what is still important in McGwire’s past history is his time with performance-enhancing drugs – and with that needs to tell the players is the difference between human growth hormones (HGH), bovine growth hormone (bGH) and no hormones – and it has nothing to do with utters. He needs to continue to tell the players some side effects of steroids are reversible but other effects are never changed in the minds of the public.
Mark McGwire Moves On
By admitting he took steroids and bGH Mark McGwire inflated his statistics and his body. In 1996 McGwire hit 50 home runs with 390 official times at bat – every 7.8 times he was at the plate. Babe Ruth did that eating candy bars and “light drink.” When listening to McGwire’s infamous performance before House Government Reform Committee in March 2005 there were short pauses while viewers smothered their faces with laughter. McGwire didn’t hit 135 home runs in two years on bonbons. On Mark McGwire’s Charity web site you can see that he is making great contributions to society. And for sports in general I imagine he is making a strong contribution against the use of performance-enhancing drugs.
Made in Nature
Originally the baseball was made so you couldn’t hit it easily, high, or far, so 60 home runs a season hitters are usually pituitary freaks. But we want our players to be made by nature not in the lab. Remember when baseball players were small? (For example: PeeWee Reese). Joe DIMaggio was only 6 feet 2 inches and weighed 193 pounds. Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio? There is a generation out there that thinks DiMaggio invented the coffee maker.
Like Joe DiMaggio, Mark McGwire is only a symbol – of what things were what things are and what things will be. I guess we, as fans, get what we deserve. But what I prefer to see the “Mark McGwire’s of the world helping the new players overcome their need for enhancers.
Baseball painting of Jim Bouton was a pitcher in the major leagues for a number of years playing for the New York Yankees, Seattle Pilots, Houston Astros and ended his career with the Atlanta Braves. The longer he played in the Major Leagues he was able to extend his playing days developing the knuckleball. As you see in the painting he is demonstrating how the knuckleball is held in the hand for throwing a pitch.
Jim Bouton who became a really good knucklball pitcher for the Atlanta Braves wrote the classic baseball book, BALL FOUR. The painting is 5 feet by 8 feet, acrylic on unstretched canvas.
One of things he is best known for is his memoir of his playing years with the New York Yankees, Seattle Pilots and the Houston Astros. He had played in the 1962 World Series and was in the 1963 MLB All-Star game.
In Jim Bouton’s book “Ball Four” broke baseball’s code of silence where the athletes did not speak about what went on in the background of baseball. The book is a memoir that described the petty jealousies on the team, as well as camaraderie, raucous tomcatting, game-winning heroics, routine drug use and the pain professional athletes endure. One of Bouton’s important line in the book: “You spend your life gripping a baseball,” Jim Bouton wrote, “and it turns out that it was the other way around all along.”
Here is one of the the interesting stories from the book “Ball Four”
“I think the big deal was, I said Mickey Mantle had a home run with a hangover. And, you know, it was more of a story about what a great hitter he was, what a great player he was.
“We have been out the night before, having a few drinks, and Mickey came to the clubhouse the next day, and he was a little hung over. So, you know, Ralph Houk said, ‘Don’t worry about it. Sleep it off in the trainer’s room. We’ll put somebody else in center field.’ Anyway, the game goes extra innings. We need a pinch-hitter in the 10th. Somebody went to wake up the Mick. He comes out, put a bat in his hands. He walks up to home plate, takes one practice swing and hits the first pitch into the left field bleachers, a tremendous blast.
“Guys are going nuts. He comes over, crosses home plate. Actually, he missed home plate. We have to send him back for that. He comes over to the dugout, and he looks up in the stands, and he says, those people don’t know how tough that really was. Then after the game, the sportswriter said, ‘Mick, how did you that?’ … And he said, ‘Well, it was very simple. I hit the middle ball.’ ”
Baseball images of San Francisco Giants Hall of Fame baseball player Willie Mays in a short book. There is a short narrative about Willie Mays that accompanies the 10 images in the book. As most of you probably know Willie Mays is one of the greatest baseball players in history,
The “Say Hey Kid”
Willie Mays dad played semi-pro baseball and had the nickname of “Cat” and his mother was an athlete in high school running track as a sprinter. The way Willie Mays got the nickname “Say Hey Kid” was that he played stickball with the local kids in Harlem and his his enthusiastic exuberance earning him the nickname, the “Say Hey Kid.”
Great Baseball Play
Willie May made one of the most famous defensive plays in baseball history – and it is among the paintings I did for a short Fox Sports interview. I painted an image of Willie for an interview conducted by Derick Jeter and Ken Griffy Jr. during an all star game televised on Fox Sports. The play was Willie running down a mammoth drive to deep center field in Game 1 of the World Series to help the Giants beat the favored Cleveland Indians for the championship. The painting is also in this short booklet. If you would like to see the 4 1/2 minute interview it is located on youtube here
Sandy Koufax is considered one of the greatest pitchers ever to play the game. His nickname was “The Left Arm of God” He played his entire career with the Brooklyn and LA Dodgers retiring in 1966 because of arthritis in his left elbow at age 30.
One of the things Sandy Koufax is remembered for was his decision not to pitch Game 1 of the 1965 World Series because it fell on Yom Kippur. It was a conflict between professional pressures and personal beliefs. Koufax was inducted into the MLB Hall of Fame in 1972 – the youngest ever inducted at the time at 36 years old.
“Koufax had to face the terrifying Mickey Mantle. The book on Mantle, Leavy explains, was never ever ever EVER throw him the curve. For he was so strong in his upper body and arms that even if you fooled him badly and got him to commit his hips too early, he could still crush the ball as long as his hands were still back. So don’t throw him the hook. Just don’t. And if you can throw 100 mph, like Koufax could, why throw the curve?
Because you’re Koufax.
So in the first game in which they meet — Game 1 of the 1963 World Series, Dodgers v Yankees — Koufax faces Mantle three times. On the first at-bat he strikes out Mantle throwing nothing but fastballs.
Mantle’s second time up, Koufax gets two strikes on him. Everyone in the park is thinking heat. But Koufax shakes off the fastball sign once, twice. Catcher catches on, puts down two fingers to call for the curve. And Koufax’s curve was a horrid thing to a batter, possibly the best curveball ever, a nose-to-toes diver that just killed batters, flummoxed them utterly, destroyed their minds. Yet still, he’d been told NOT to throw this thing to Mantle. So he decdies he’s going to. And he does.
Ball comes in eye-high, just buzzing … and just before reaching the plate it dives, crossing the plate at Mantle’s knees. Mantle flinches, just the tiniest bit, but never moves the bat. Ump calls strike three. Mantle stands there an extra beat, then turns to the catcher and says, “How the fuck is anybody supposed to hit that shit?” And walks back to the dugout.”
Most of the paintings shown on the blog have been sold. (They sell fast) But there are a few available. If you click on the link for Paintings for Sale you can see what is available. What I suggest is that you contact me for your specific need and I can easily paint something specific for you. Just clink on the contact page for information.
This is about the sixth time I have painted a large scale painting of the great center fielder, Willie Mays, nicknamed The Say Hey Kid” who played for the old New York Giants and the San Francisco Giants. He finished his baseball career with the NY Mets. The first I painted Willie was for Fox Sports, a number of years ago. Willie Mays was interviewed by Derek Jeter and Ken Griffey Jr. during the 2007 Major League Baseball All Star Game for Fox Sports. If you watch the Willie Mays video on YouTube or see it below, you will see three large-scale paintings behind the three great baseball players in the interview The two portraits in the
interview are 5 feet by 6 feet and the famous Willie Mays “Catch” was approximately 3 1/2 feet by 8 feet. Like the paintings you see above, they were all painted with acrylic and on unstretched canvas.
Willie Mays interview All Star Game
Wille Mays Famous Catch
The famous catch Willie Mays made refers to a great catch he made during game 1 of the 1954 World Series between the New York Giants and the Cleveland Indians at the Polo
Grounds in New York. It was September 29, 1954. score was tied 2–2 in the top of the 8th
inning. Vic Wertz was at bat. The count to two balls and one strike, Wertz hits
a ball approximately 420 feet to deep center field. Willie Mays, who was
playing in shallow center field, made an on-the-run, over-the-shoulder catch on
the warning track to make the out. Having caught the ball, he immediately spun
and threw the ball to hold a runner, who was at second, from scoring. If Willie had not made “The Catch” the two base runners would have been able to score and the game would have been at 4 to 2 in favor of the Indians. The play saved the game and the New York Giants went on to win the game and eventually the World Series in four straight games.
Willie said of the catch, “People talk about that catch and, I’ve said this many times, that I’ve made better catches than that many times in regular season. But of course in my time, you didn’t have a lot of television during the regular season. A lot of people didn’t see me do a lot of
Some of the more interesting facts about Willie is Mays is that he won two MVP awards and shares the record of most All-Star Games played (24) with Hank Aaron & Stan Musial. Ted Williams said, “They invented the All-Star Game for Willie Mays.” Mays ended his career with 660 home runs, third at the time of his retirement, and currently fourth all-time. He was a center fielder and won a record-tying 2 Gold Gloves starting the year the award was introduced six seasons into his career. In 1979 Willie Mays was inducted into MLB Hall of Fame on the first vote
The Pittsburgh Pirates’ Honus Wagner, a dead-ball era baseball player who is widely considered to be one of the best players of all time. Most people know him as having the most valuable baseball card. The reason it is so valuable is because it was recalled in 1909 and all were destroyed except for a few that got into circulation.
Honus Wagner was an eight time National League batting champion, with a lifetime batting average of .328. He also led the league five times in stolen bases, five times in RBIs, eight times in doubles and three times in triples. He played nearly 2,800 games during his career, with 3,430 hits, 651 doubles, 252 triples and 722 stolen bases. Along with Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Christy Mathewson and Walter Johnson. If you want all his stats here is the link to MLB site on Honus Wagner
Honus Wagner’s Hall of Fame Induction Speech June 12, 1939. Cooperstown, NY. “Ladies and gentlemen, I was born 1874, and this organization was started was 1876. When I was just a kid I said, “ I hope some day I’ll be up there playing in this league.” And by chance I did. Now Connie Mack the gentleman that preceeded me here at the mike, I remember walking fourteen miles just to see him play ball for Pittsburgh. (crowd laughs) Walking and running, or hitchhiking a ride on a buggy, them days we had no automobile. I certainly am pleased to be here in Cooperstown today, and this is just a wonderful little city, or town, or village or whaever we’d call it. It puts me in mind of Sleepy Hollow. (crowd laughs) However I want to thank you for being able to come here today.” Honus Wagner was one of the first five inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1936.
Here is an interesting story about the baseball card from Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. The most famous T206 Honus Wagner is the “Gretzky T206 Honus Wagner” card. The card’s odd texture and shape led to speculation that it was altered. The Gretzky T206 Wagner was first sold by Alan Ray to a baseball memorabilia collector named Bill Mastro, who sold the card two years later to Jim Copeland for nearly four times the price he had originally paid. Copeland’s sizable transaction revitalized interest in the sports memorabilia collection market. In 1991, Copeland sold the card to ice hockey figures Wayne Gretzky and Bruce McNall for $451,000. Gretzky resold the card four years later to Wal-Mart and Treat Entertainment for $500,000, for use as the top prize in a promotional contest.
The next year, a Florida postal worker won the card and auctioned it at Christie’s for $640,000 to collector Michael Gidwitz. In 2000, the card was sold via Robert Edward Auctions to card collector Brian Seigel for $1.27 million. In February 2007, Seigel sold the card privately to an anonymous collector for $2.35 million. Less than six months later, the card was sold to another anonymous collector for $2.8 million. In April 2011, that anonymous purchaser was revealed to be Ken Kendrick, owner of the Arizona Diamondbacks. These transactions have made the Wagner card the most valuable baseball card in history. In October 2013, Bill Mastro pleaded guilty to mail fraud in U.S District Court — and admitted in the process that he had trimmed the Wagner card to sharply increase its value.
As a boy and like so many others I thought Joe DiMaggio was the baseball player to follow and worship. We did not have a major league team in Los Angeles at the time so the Yankees were the team we followed. (What? No TV? Nope. Not then. This was 1948-1951) Joe was nicknamed “Joltin’ Joe” and “The Yankee Clipper” and was what we all wanted to grow up to be – American Major League Baseball center fielder for the Yankees. Dreams. Boyhood dreams.
Even adults thought that Joe DiMaggio was something special. Kevin Costner, who made that great baseball movie, “Field of Dreams” said about Joe DiMaggio, “There are certain people’s names that are reminders of what men can be like. To this day, when I hear the name Joe DiMaggio, it is so much more than a man’s name. It reminds me to play whatever game I’m in with more grace and pride and dignity…He is a man who speaks to us about how to walk through life and how to receive the admiration only the famous can know…and about how to wear defeat and disappointment as if it were just a passing storm. Men like Joe DiMaggio are not just of their own time. They are men for the ages.”
I remember in 1952 collecting Topps Baseball Cards – buying packs and packs of gum to get that Topps, Joe DiMaggio 1952 card. So I gathered about one-hundred-and-seventy-five cards before discovering that he retired before the production of the 1952 cards were printed. (I still have the 1952 Topps cards I collected as a boy. And no they are not in good condition. Who knew then. I glued the cards into a paper scrapbook so on the back of the cards there are these great hunks of Elmer’s Rubber Cement and bits of paper attached to the cards.)
I continued to follow the Yankees until the Brooklyn Dodgers moved to Los Angeles for the 1958 season and my allegiance changed. But, to me, baseball was never the same with DiMaggio gone from the game. I really didn’t have much thought about DiMaggio being gone or what it might have meant to me until 1967. The was the year one of my favorite movies came out, “The Graduate” a coming of age movie about a college graduate entwined in the process of adulthood, the loss of innocence, manhood, etc. And in the movie soundtrack is one of the great Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel songs, “Mrs Robinson.” The classic lines in the lyrics:
”Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio?
A nation turns its lonely eyes to you, wo wo wo
What’s that you say, Mrs. Robinson
‘Joltin Joe’ has left and gone away, hey hey hey
Hey hey hey”
At that time I kicked and fought not to be an adult. I had dropped out of high school – did my stint in the Navy, tried college a number of times and struggled to find direction. Somehow the movie helped. I was not alone but “Joltin Joe’ (had) left and gone away.”
Joe” DiMaggio November 25, 1914 – March 8, 1999) played his entire 13-year career for the New York Yankees. He is perhaps best known for his 56-game hitting streak (May 15 – July 16, 1941), a record that still stands. DiMaggio was a three-time MVP winner and an All-Star in each of his 13 seasons. During his tenure with the Yankees, the club won ten American League pennants and nine World Series championships. At the time of his retirement, he ranked fifth in career home runs (361) and sixth in career slugging percentage (.579). He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1955, and was voted the sport’s greatest living player in a poll taken during the baseball centennial year of 1969. — From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This is what a couple of other great baseball players said of Joe DiMaggio:
(Joe) DiMaggio was the greatest all-around player I ever saw. His career cannot be summed up in numbers and awards. It might sound corny, but he had a profound and lasting impact on the country.” – Ted Williams
“Heroes are people who are all good with no bad in them. That’s the way I always saw Joe DiMaggio. He was beyond question one of the greatest players of the century.” – Mickey Mantle
Here it is, time for the LA Dodgers post-season play-off, a run toward the World Series and there is no Josh Beckett, who, at 23 received the award as the 2003 World Series MVP while with the Marlins, and with the Red Sox for the win in the 2007 World Series. – At 34 this season he pitched a no hitter against the Philadelphia Phillies on May 25.
Living in Los Angeles most of my life it would be nice to see the Dodgers, who have not won a World Series since Hall of Fame manager Tommy Lasorda did so in 1988, get a good jump at the series. “I think we’re going to get to the Fall Classic,” Lasorda said, “and then the Big Dodger in the sky can take me away!” But Beckett won’t be there to help them out with that challenge.
Beckett was one time speaking about his time with the Red Sox and, his winning the World Series. “There are only about 45 guys who have won a World Series (as a Red Sox) in about 100 years,” he said. “I know they want to win a World Series every year, but it doesn’t happen. It doesn’t happen anywhere. I don’t care how much money you spend. I think if you look back I feel very honored I got to win a World Series … because who knows how long it will be again? Shoot, it might be next year, it might be another 100 years. I don’t know.” For Beckett there may never be another time.
With Beckett it would be such an easier task but the variety of injuries and the time spent in rehabilitation did not make for a nice ending to the season for Beckett. And it looks like he will be in for surgery again next year with a long time-out. He has said that this may be his last year playing. Josh does become a free agent but retirement may be the way he goes.
Becket said, “As far as the future goes, for next year, I think I’m going to have to think about that and talk to my wife a little bit more…… I think the decision would have been more difficult if health had not been an issue. The last three years have been just been one thing after another for me. When we do get to the offseason, the decision will be tough, but it still makes it a little easier.” In a different context but similar circumstances Josh said this about change, “As much as I’m looking forward to the next chapter, I enjoyed the last one. Even during the tough times I met so many people who were just awesome. They were real fans.”
I always liked what Beckett had to say about his pitching and which could apply to almost anything anyone does. He said, “I think I’ve always been prepared for this. I know what I have to do. You can’t make rocket science out of it. You just have to execute pitches. Don’t let exterior distractions in. It just takes away from what you’re trying to do.”
Josh Beckett’s season and his career may be over. “Everybody has to make up their own mind.” Beckett says, ” It’s a special place to play. As much as I’m looking forward to the next chapter, I enjoyed the last one. Even during the tough times I met so many people who were just awesome.”
There is always that observation that baseball-is-a-metaphor-for-life. A young baseball player goes out and plays through his youth and when he gets old enough he tries to make a living at it. He makes a team. He has good days and bad days. He goes home and his wife and children are happy to see him. When he plays he is part of a team of workers but he has his individual job to do, pitch, strike, hit, catch, etc. – all of which he does on his own. There is nobody to help him on those things. Either he has learned his skills or not. Yes, his co-workers help him out on some of his skills, but the bottom line is – he is on his own. Josh Beckett says to others, “… I just tell them, ‘You have to deal with some of this and some of that, but you’re going to get this and get that.”
The Pittsburgh Pirates’ Honus Wagner, a dead-ball era baseball player who is widely considered to be one of the best players of all time. One of the Hall of Fame’s five original inductees in 1936, Honus Wagner combined rare offensive and defensive excellence throughout a 21-year career from 1897 to 1917.
Honus Wagner’s Hall of Fame Induction Speech June 12, 1939. Cooperstown, NY. “Ladies and gentlemen, I was born 1874, and this organization was started was 1876. When I was just a kid I said, “ I hope some day I’ll be up there playing in this league.” And by chance I did. Now Connie Mack the gentleman that preceeded me here at the mike, I remember walking fourteen miles just to see him play ball for Pittsburgh. (crowd laughs) Walking and running, or hitchhiking a ride on a buggy, them days we had no automobile. I certainly am pleased to be here in Cooperstown today, and this is just a wonderful little city, or town, or village or whaever we’d call it. It puts me in mind of Sleepy Hollow. (crowd laughs) However I want to thank you for being able to come here today.”
One of my favorite stories about Honus Wagner was told by Burleigh Grimes in The Quotable Baseball Fanatic (2004) “One day he was batting against a young pitcher who had just come into the league. The catcher was a kid, too. A rookie battery. The pitcher threw Honus a curveball, and he swung at it and missed and fell down on one knee. Looked helpless as a robin. I was kind of surprised, but the guy sitting next to me on the bench poked me in the ribs and said, ‘Watch this next one.’ Those kids figured they had the old man’s weaknesses, you see, and served him up the same dish-as he knew they would. Well, Honus hit a line drive so hard the fence in left field went back and forth for five minutes.”
Honus played shortstop and won eight batting titles, tied for the most in National League history, led the league in slugging six times. He said, “I don’t make speeches. I let my bat speak for me in the summertime.” He led in stolen bases five times. Wagner was nicknamed “The Flying Dutchman” because he could run the bases so fast – and that he was German.
Most people know that the Honus Wagner baseball card is one of the most valuable sports card around. The reason it is so valuable is because it was recalled in 1909 and all were destroyed except for a few that got into circulation. At the time, the cards were distributed along with tobacco. Wagner didn’t smoke and he didn’t like to being included in the tobacco promotion because he did not want to set a bad example for children.
I think “The Babe” was one of the first of the truly national baseball celebrities who was a great crowd pleaser. Branch Rickey (ex-Manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers) said of Babe, Ruth, “He has created an expectation of hero worship on the part of the youth of this country, and it was a most fortunate thing that Ruth kept faith with the boyhood of America because they loved him.” I am sure there are comparisons to some of the current baseball players – but so many of today’s athletes seem to have a team of publicists promoting them. And they may not have anywhere near the character “The Babe” had. He said, “The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together, the club won’t be worth a dime.”
Here is Babe Ruth’s “The King of Swat” Hall of Fame speech of June 12, 1939
“Thank you ladies and gentlemen. I hope some day that some of the young fellows coming into the game will know how it feels to be picked in the Hall of Fame. I know the old boys back in there were just talking it over, some have been here long before my time. They got on it, I worked hard, and I got on it. And I hope that the coming generation, the young boys today, that they’ll work hard and also be on it.
And as my old friend Cy Young says, “I hope it goes another hundred years and the next hundred years will be the greatest. You know to me this is just like an anniversary myself, because twenty-five years ago yesterday I pitched my first baseball game in Boston, for the Boston Red Sox. (applause)
So it seems like an anniversary for me too, and I’m surely glad and it’s a pleasure for me to come up here and be picked also in the Hall of Fame. Thank you.”
The great pitcher Curt Schilling who finished his Major League Baseball career at the Boston Red Sox was aright-handed pitcher who helped lead the Philadelphia Phillies to the World Series in 1993 and won World Series championships in 2001 with the Arizona Diamondbacks and in 2004 and 2007 with the Boston Red Sox. Schilling retired with a career postseason record of 11–2. His .846 postseason winning percentage is a major-league record among pitchers with at least 10 decisions.
As a great pitcher the question always arises on how one becomes great. He said, “In my mind, I never doubted whether I was going to achieve what I wanted to do. I just had to decide what it is I wanted to do.” Those words are true for most of us as I know I have spent a good deal of time trying to decide what I wanted to do with my life. After working for twenty years I finally committed myself to painting. Just making that decision changed my life for the best. And then Curt says more about success, “I think I’ve earned a certain level of respect, based on my accomplishments and my consistency.” And that comes with long, hard work. And in that work one runs into problems. As Curt says, “I’ve made mistakes, … I am sure I will again sometime, but that happens, that’s part of being human…”
With all of that being said – In the current news Curt announced he had been diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma — cancer in the mouth. Schilling blames his use of chewing tobacco as a player.
According to Steve Silva of the Boston Globe, Curt Schilling said, “I did (chewing tobacco) for about 30 years. It was an addictive habit. I can think of so many times in my life when it was so relaxing to just sit back and have a dip and do whatever, and I lost my sense of smell, my taste buds for the most part. I had gum issues, they bled, all this other stuff. None of it was enough to ever make me quit. The pain that I was in going through this treatment, the second or third day it was the only thing in my life that had that I wish I could go back and never have dipped. Not once. It was so painful.”
“The Spitter” spitball sports art painting by artist John Robertson is 50″ x 70″ acrylic on unstretched canvas.
A spitball is an illegal pitch in which the ball has been altered by the application of saliva, petroleum jelly, or some other foreign substance. The pitch causes the ball to move atypically due to the altered wind-resistance and weight on one side of the ball. Alternative names for the spitball are spitter, mud ball, shine ball and emery ball, although technically, an emery ball is one where the ball has been abraded in much the same way that the original cut ball had been physically cut. The altering of the ball’s state by the use of artificial substances such as sun block, dirt or degradation by fingernails or other hard substances is illegal tampering.