Back in December I shared my masthead re-design and cover illustration for the Baseball Research Journal. Baseball Research Journal is the flagship publication of the Society for American Baseball Research, or SABR. Published for over 50 years, BRJ was “created so that members could publish and share their research with like-minded students of baseball.” It’s an honor to be associated with such an esteemed publication.
For the Spring 2021 volume, I corresponded with Cecilia Tan, SABR’s Publications Director, about what should be on the cover. A glance at the list of articles made it clear who it would be: Babe Ruth. I had wanted to do a portrait of the Big Guy for years, but never had the right opportunity. Seeing Michael Haupert’s The Business of Being the Babe in the list of articles meant the time had come for a Babe Ruth piece.
I wanted to do something a little different than my Josh Gibson illustration for the previous BRJ. Because The Babe was such a larger than life figure, I kept envisioning his portrait to be the same. I have always been a fan of Charles Conlon’s baseball photography because his portraits seemed to capture a player’s personality. This was especially evident in his photos of Babe Ruth.
Using a selection of Conlon’s as my guide, I started sketching a close-cropped portrait of The Babe, at first detailed and then sketched and re-sketched, each time simplifying the shapes and edges to take it towards mild abstraction.
I added the new masthead I designed in December and sent it off to the printer. If you are a SABR member (and if not, you should be) your copy of the new BRJ will arrive in the coming weeks so you can see it first-hand. I look forward to seeing what articles Cecilia Tan has for the next cover assignment…