NATIONAL PASTIME MUSEUM COMMISSIONS
The National Pastime Museum commissioned me to do three pieces for their permanent art collection. The first piece was to be a part of a series in which a varied group of baseball artists visually interpret the poem “Casey at the Bat.” Every baseball fan knows Ernest Thayer’s famous 1888 poem and I’ve seen many artistic interpretations over the years. I didn’t want to do a single drawing of Casey striking out or striding to the plate or any other single moment in the poem. I wanted to do something bigger: I wanted to depict the ENTIRE Mudville 9 ball club. Since the poem takes place in 1888, I immediately thought of those beautiful Victorian team composites that had once hung in every bar and tavern back then. So that’s exactly what I did. Measuring 22×24 inches, the Mudville 9 would look right at home behind a Victorian-era bar.
The other pieces the Museum commissioned were 12×18 inch illustrations of Hall of Famers Tris Speaker and Grover Cleveland Alexander. I depicted Tris Speaker on the field during the inaugural game in Fenway Park in 1912. The period ads on the outfield wall and his red and white wool sweater really help this illustration pop. For the Alexander piece, I wanted to show the great pitcher in the bullpen during Game 7 of the 1926 World Series, moments before his finest performance. Alexander’s classic Cardinals road jersey and the miscellaneous items found in the bullpen make this one of my favorite drawings.
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