Tag Archives: Baseball player

Football paintings Jim Thorpe Football Baseball and Olympic athlete art

As A Boy – Jim Thorpe – My Favorite Athlete

I have no idea when Jim Thorpe showed up in my conscientiousness.  But he seemed to always be there.  I am sure it had to do with my step-father who loved football. In my youth we

Football painting of Jim Thorpe, Olympic gold medal athlete of the century, in a football uniform holding his helmet. Football painting is 4 feet by 8 feet, acrylic on unstretched canvas.

Football painting of Jim Thorpe, Olympic gold medal athlete of the century, in a football uniform holding his helmet. Football painting is 4 feet by 8 feet, acrylic on unstretched canvas.

used to go to the old LA Rams games at the LA Coliseum in 1952 -53 to see quarterback Bob Waterfield, and Elroy “Crazy Legs” Hirsh, and my favorite of all nicknames for a football player, Dick “Night Train” Lane.

I am sure my step-dad told me the stories that most people heard about Jim Thorpe  – winning the gold medal in the pentathlon in 1912 Olympics, crowned by the King of Sweden as “the greatest athlete in the world.  In which Thorpe said, “thanks King.”   This is what Thorpe said about track and field;   “…Track and field, because it was something I could do by myself, one-on-one, me against everybody else.” And then my step-dad would go one about Thorpe’s college football career at Carlisle and becoming an All American in 1912 and 1913.  He played professional football for seven different teams and signed with the New York Giants baseball team in 1913.  He had different feelings about playing college football and professional football.   Thorpe said, “[T]he college game…brings out that something which is lacking in the pro game–I guess you could call it spirit. The college player…will willingly sacrifice his leg to gain the necessary yards that spell victory for his team. That’s spirit. The professional gridder will play it safe, because he wants to be in condition to earn more money in his next game. That’s business.”

As an Athlete

There were years Thorpe played in both pro sports of football and baseball at the same time.  And then the bad news came that he had played sports for money during the Olympic years and was stripped of his medals.  As Thorpe said about it, ” “I went to play baseball in North Carolina for a couple of summers and paid for it the rest of my life.”

As I loved to play sports, particularity football I knew his story well. We always thought of Jim Thorpe as the great football player from his success at Carlisle Indian Industrial School.  (as an aside:  The link is to the Wikipedia information about Carlisle and very interesting – about early turn-of-the-century college football and Indian affairs)   I, like a lot of boys wanted to be a football player.  This was long before there was any real organized football for children.  (We were called children then, not youth.)  So we got shoulder pads and helmets (with Ram colors and insignias) and banged into each other on the grass and sidewalks in front of our houses.  In those days the helmets had one single bar in front of the face so it was easy to catch an elbow or knee into the face.  Sixty years have not erased some of the scars.

Hall of Fame – Jim Thorpe

Jim Thorpe was eventually inducted into the Professional Football Hall of Fame in 1963 in the inaugural class of 17 athletes.  Grantland Rice, a legendary sportswriter said that Thorpe was the greatest football player ever.  It wasn’t because he was the best at any particular aspect of the game, passing, running, tackling but that he was really good in all of them making for a great, all around football player.

Here is a good place for a lot more information about Jim Thorpe “The World’s Greatest Athlete”

 

image of baseball slide rule a base runner being tagged out by the shortstop as he leaps into the air to catch the ball

New Baseball slide rule

Baseball Slide Rule

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.

image of baseball slide rule a base runner being tagged out by the shortstop as he leaps into the air to catch the ball

Sports Art Baseball Painting by artist John Robertson is 11″ x 14″, ink and acrylic on drafting film. Available.

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.