Thursday, August 30, 2012

HOF Sketch Card Project: Jackie Robinson

Perhaps no player in the history of the game was more important on a social level than Jackie Robinson. The first black Major Leaguer of the modern era, Robinson played a pivotal role in ushering in the racial integration of ballclubs when he debuted for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. Despite facing a slew of volatile racist taunts, Robinson went on to have a great career, playing in the Majors for 10 seasons between 1947 and 1956. During that time, he played in 6 World Series and would help the Dodgers win the championship in 1956. After retiring, he took part in numerous off-the-field ventures, including becoming a television analyst and a vice-president for the Chock Full o' Nuts company. 

He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962, his first year of eligibility. As such, he became the first black man to receive this honor.

I completed this sketch card in August 2012.

10 random facts about Jackie Robinson:
  • His middle name (Roosevelt) was in honor of former President Theodore Roosevelt, who died 25 days before Robinson was born.
  • In 1941, Robinson became the first athlete in the history of UCLA to letter in 4 sports (baseball, football, basketball and track) in the same year. 
  • He made his Major League debut on April 15, 1947, before a crowd of 26,623 spectators- more than 14,000 who were black.
  • he hit for the cycle during a 12–7 win against the St. Louis Cardinals on August 29, 1948.
  • He was the recipient of the inaugural MLB Rookie of the Year Award in 1947.
  • In the 1960s, he helped establish the Freedom National Bank, an African-American-owned financial institution based in Harlem, New York.
  • In 1997, Major League Baseball retired his uniform number 42 across all teams, meaning that no other player will ever wear the number again (with the exception of Mariano Rivera, who wore 42 before it was retired and has been allowed to continue wearing it until his retirement).
  • In recognition of his achievements on and off the field, Robinson was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal.
  • From 1957 to 1964, Robinson was the Vice President for Personnel at Chock full o' Nuts; as a result, he became the first black person to serve as vice president of a major American corporation.
  • Robinson portrayed himself in the 1950 motion picture The Jackie Robinson Story.

Monday, August 27, 2012

HOF Sketch Card Project: Max Carey

One of the game's first true base-stealing stars, Max Carey played center field for the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1910 to 1926 and for the Brooklyn Robins from 1926 to 1929.  During his career, he led the National League in stolen bases 10 times and finished with 738 swipes, an NL record until 1974 and still the 9th-highest total in Major League history. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1961 by the Veterans Committee.

I completed this sketch card in August 2012.

10 random facts about Max Carey:
  • He was born as Maximillian George Carnarius and adopted the name Max Carey when he played his first pro baseball game; the name would stick with him for his entire career.
  • A durable player, Carey had only one season in which he played fewer than 108 games- an injury-plagued 1919.
  • In 1922 he stole 51 bases and was caught only twice.
  • He stole home 33 times in his career, second-best only to Ty Cobb's 50 on the all-time list.
  • An excellent fielder, he retired holding a Major League record of 6 seasons with over 400 putouts, including a remarkable 450 in 1923.
  • Carey led the Pirates to victory in the 1925 World Series, batting .458 with 11 hits and 3 stolen bases.
  • Following his big league career, he co-owned a baseball school in Ft. Lauderdale and toured Japan with an amateur team.
  • Carey managed the Milwaukee Chicks and the Fort Wayne Daisies of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League in 1944, and served as the league's president until 1950.
  • According to a letter from his wife in his Hall of Fame file, Carey was the first player to use flip-down sunglasses in the outfield.
  • Carey invested heavily in Florida real estate, and lost over $100,000 in the stock market crash of 1929.

HOF Sketch Card Project: Lou Gehrig

Nicknamed "The Iron Horse" for his durability, Lou Gehrig starred at first base for the New York Yankees for 17 seasons, from 1923 until 1939. He set numerous Major League records during his career, with his most famous achievement being his amazing streak of playing in 2,130 consecutive games, a mark that stood until Cal Ripken, Jr. surpassed him in 1995. Gehrig's career was cut short when he was stricken with ALS in 1939- a disease that would go on to bear his name after his passing in 1941. Upon announcing his illness to the public, the Baseball Hall of Fame withdrew its mandatory 5-year waiting period in order to induct Gehrig in 1939, while he was still alive to enjoy this honor.

I completed this sketch card in August 2012.

10 random facts about Lou Gehrig:
  • A highly-intelligent player, Gehrig played collegiate baseball at Columbia University, an Ivy League institution.
  • In 1927, Gehrig put up one of the greatest seasons by any batter in history, hitting .373, with 218 hits: 52 doubles, 18 triples, 47 home runs, a then-record 175 RBI (surpassing teammate Babe Ruth's mark of 171 six years earlier), and a .765 slugging percentage.
  • He won the 1934 American League Triple Crown, leading the league in batting average, home runs, and RBIs.
  • He won the AL MVP award in 1927 and 1936.
  • Gehrig finished his career with the most grand slams in a career (23), and held the record until Alex Rodriguez tied him in 2012. 
  • He had 509 RBIs during a three-season stretch (1930–32). Only 2 other players, Jimmie Foxx with 507 and Hank Greenberg with 503, have surpassed 500 RBIs in any three seasons; their totals, however, were non-consecutive.
  • Three of the top 6 RBI seasons in baseball history belong to Gehrig. 
  • Gehrig was the first baseball player to have his uniform number retired. 
  • Gehrig holds the record for most consecutive seasons with 120 or more RBI, with 8.
  • He was the first athlete to appear on a box of Wheaties.

Friday, August 24, 2012

HOF Sketch Card Project: Harmon Killebrew

One of the premiere sluggers of the 1950s and 1960s, Harmon Killebrew played first base, third base and left field during his 22-year Major League career. Known primarily as a superstar for the Washington Senators/Minnesota Twins franchise from 1954 to 1974, Killebrew would finish his career by playing in 106 games for the Kansas City Royals in 1975. During the 1960s, he would hit 40 home runs in a season eight times. His finest season was 1969, when he hit 49 home runs, recorded 140 RBI, and won the AL MVP Award. Killebrew led the league 6 times in home runs and three times in RBIs, and was named to eleven All-Star teams. When he retired, he was second only to Babe Ruth in American League home runs, and was the AL career leader in home runs by a right-handed batter (since surpassed by Alex Rodriguez). He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1984, his fourth year of eligibility.

I completed this sketch card in August 2012.

10 random facts about Harmon Killebrew:
  • Killebrew signed his first contract under MLB's Bonus Rule, which required that he spend 2 full seasons on the Major League roster; he would make his big league debut 4 days after signing his contract, at age 17. 
  • On July 18, 1962, in a game against the Cleveland Indians, Killebrew and Bob Allison became the first teammates since 1890 to hit grand slams in the same inning as the Twins would score 11 runs in the first.
  • On August 3, 1962, he was the first batter ever to hit a baseball over the left field roof at Tiger Stadium, a seldom-reached target that only 3 others were able to accomplishe over the next 37 seasons, before the stadium was closed.
  • Elected to play first base on the 1965 AL All-Star team, Killebrew became the first player in All-Star game history to be elected at three different positions, having previously been selected to play third base (1959 and 1961) and left field (1963 and 1964).
  • On June 3, 1967, Killebrew blasted the longest home run ever hit at Metropolitan Stadium in Minneapolis-  a shot that landed in the second deck of the bleachers. 
  • Before the 1971 season began, he was awarded the first $100,000 contract in Twins' history.
  • His uniform number 3 was retired in May 1975, when he was a member of the Kansas City Royals, before a Royals-Twins game at Metropolitan Stadium.
  • The street along the south side of the Mall of America, the former site of Metropolitan Stadium, was named "Killebrew Drive" in his honor.
  • Killebrew finished with the record for having the most plate appearances (9,831) without a sacrifice hit; this was since broken by Frank Thomas and his 10,074 plate appearances.
  • He holds the all-time home run record among players born in the state of Idaho with 573; Vance Law is second with 71.

Prince Fielder Sketch Card

Here is my take on former Milwaukee Brewers and current Detroit Tigers slugger Prince Fielder:

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

HOF Sketch Card Project: Ty Cobb

Among the upper-echelon players in the annals of Major League Baseball history, Ty Cobb spent 22 seasons with the Detroit Tigers before finishing his career with the Philadelphia Athletics. Nicknamed "The Georgia Peach", Cobb is credited with setting 90 MLB records during his famed career, and as of 2012 still holds the record for highest career batting average (.366) and most career batting titles (11). He retained many other records for almost a half century or more, including most career hits until 1985, most career runs until 2001,most career games played and at bats until 1974,and the modern record for most career stolen bases until 1977. Cobb's legacy as an athlete has sometimes been overshadowed by his surly temperament and aggressive playing style, which was described by the Detroit Free Press as "daring to the point of dementia."

Cobb was part of the Hall of Fame's charter class in 1936, and he received the most votes of any player on the inaugural ballot (222 out of a possible 226 votes).

I completed this sketch card in August 2012.

I completed this sketch card in November 2012:

I completed this sketch card in December 2012:

10 random facts about Ty Cobb:
  • At age 20 in 1907, he became the youngest player to win a batting title, and would hold this record until 1955, when Al Kaline would win the American League batting crown.
  • In the off-season between 1907 and 1908, Cobb negotiated with Clemson Agricultural College of South Carolina, offering to coach baseball there for $250 a month, provided that he did not sign with Detroit that season. This did not come to pass, however.
  • Cobb won the 1909 AL Triple Crown by hitting .377 with 107 RBI and 9 homers.
  • His AL-leading 9 homers in 1909 were all inside-the-park homers; he became the only player in the modern era to lead his league in homers without hitting a ball over the fence.
  • On May 5, 1925, Cobb collected 16 total bases (three home runs, a double and two singles), setting a single-game AL record that has yet to be surpassed.
  • A noted speedster, Cobb reached first base, stole second, stole third and then stole home 5 different times in his career.
  • In September 1907, Cobb began a relationship with The Coca-Cola Company that would last the remainder of his life. By the time he died, he owned over 20,000 shares of stock and three bottling plants: one in Santa Maria, California; one in Twin Falls, Idaho; and one in Bend, Oregon. He was also a celebrity spokesman for the product.
  • Cobb was often embroiled in controversy during his career. In 1907, he fought a groundskeeper over the condition of the Tigers' Spring Training field, and ended up choking the groundskeeper's wife when she intervened. In 1912, he assaulted a heckler in the stands who, unbeknownst to Cobb, was physically handicapped. Cobb was also involved in numerous other fights, both on and off the field, during his career.
  • Cobb is the only player with two 35-game hitting streaks to his credit (he hit safely in 40 straight in 1911 and 35 straight in 1917).
  • At the time of his death in 1961, Cobb's estate was reported to be worth at least $11.8 million (equivalent to $91.6 million today), including $10 million worth of General Motors stock and $1.78 million in The Coca-Cola Company stock.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

HOF Sketch Card Project: Charlie Gehringer

Widely regarded as one of the greatest second basemen of all time, Charlie Gehringer played exclusively for the Detroit Tigers between 1924 and 1942. During his career, Gehringer compiled a .320 batting average and had seven seasons with more than 200 hits. Nicknamed "The Mechanical Man" by Yankee pitcher Lefty Gomez for his consistency as an all-around player, he was the American League batting champion in 1937 with a .371 average, a feat helped him win the MVP that season. He was among the Top 10 vote recipients in the Most Valuable Player voting for seven straight years from 1932 to 1938. A perennial all-star, Gehringer played every inning of MLB's first six All Star Games. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1949.

I completed this sketch card in August 2012.

10 random facts about Charlie Gehringer:

  • In 1934, Gehringer had his best year to that point, playing all 154 games and leading the Tigers to their first American League pennant in 25 years.
  • During a ceremony on "Charlie Gehringer Day" in 1929, the people from his hometown presented Gehringer with a set of golf clubs. Though the clubs were right-handed, and Gehringer was left-handed, he learned to golf right-handed rather than trade for a left-handed set of clubs.
  • After the 1934 season, Gehringer was part of the Major League All Star tour of Japan. The American team included Gehringer, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and Jimmie Foxx.
  • His 7,068 assists is the second-highest total in MLB history for a second baseman. 
  • Gehringer's career totals of 2,839 hits and 574 doubles both rank 19th in Major League history. 
  • Famed Negro League pitcher Satchel Paige claimed that Gehringer was the best white hitter he ever pitched against.
  • In the off-season, Gehringer worked as a sales clerk in the downtown Detroit.
  • Gehringer served as the Tigers' General Manager and Vice President during the 1950s.
  • Gehringer's number 2 was retired by the Tigers in 1983.
  • Gehringer enlisted in the U.S. Navy after the 1942 season; he served 3 years, and was released from duty in 1945.

Friday, August 17, 2012

HOF Sketch Card Project: Willie Mays

Willie Mays was widely considered to be the greatest ballplayer of his generation, and a case can even be made for him being THE greatest athlete to ever step foot on a Major League field. Nicknamed "The Say Hey Kid", he spent most of his career with the New York/San Francisco Giants (1951-72) before finishing his career with the New York Mets (1972-73). Mays was a two-time National League MVP and is tied with Stan Musial for having played in a record 24 All Star Games. Despite his outstanding offensive numbers - 660 homers, 3,283 hits and 1,903 RBI - he is perhaps most famously known for "The Catch", his over-the-shoulder catch that robbed Indians batter Vic Wertz of an extra-base hit in Game 1 of the 1954 World Series (the Giants would go on to win the World Series that year).

He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1979, his first year of eligibility.

I completed this sketch card in August 2012:

I completed this sketch card in October 2012:

10 random facts about Willie Mays:
  • Mays began his major league career with no hits in his first 12 at-bats. On his 13th at bat, he hit a homer over the left field fence of the Polo Grounds off future Hall of Famer Warren Spahn.
  • Mays won a record-tying 12 Gold Gloves during his career.
  • He hit 4 home runs in one game on April 30, 1961.
  • He is one of 5 National Leaguers to have 8 consecutive 100-RBI seasons (the other players are Mel Ott, Sammy Sosa, Chipper Jones and Albert Pujols). 
  • Mays hit over 50 home runs in 1955 and 1965, representing the longest time span between 50-plus home run seasons for any player in Major League history.
  • Mays is the only Major League player to have hit a home run in every inning from the 1st through the 16th innings.
  • He finished his career with a record 22 extra-inning home runs.
  • Mays was the on-deck batter when Bobby Thomson hit his famous pennant-winning home run, "The Shot Heard 'Round the World," on Oct. 3, 1951. 
  • Willie Mays Day was proclaimed by former mayor Willie Brown and reaffirmed by mayor Gavin Newsom to be every May 24 in San Francisco, paying tribute not only to his birth in the month (May 6), but also to his name (Mays) and jersey number (24). The date is also the anniversary of his call-up to the major leagues.
  • Years before he became the "Say Hey Kid," when he began his professional career with the Black Barons, Mays was called "Buck" by teammates and fans.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Felix Hernandez Sketch Card

In commemoration of Felix Hernandez's masterful perfect game yesterday, I decided to create this sketch card with his likeness:

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

David Price Sketch Card

My latest creation: a stipple drawing of Tampa Bay Rays pitching ace David Price.

Monday, August 13, 2012

HOF Sketch Card Project: Kirby Puckett

Kirby Puckett spent his entire 12-year baseball career playing with the Minnesota Twins (1984–1995), and is the franchise's all-time leader in career hits, runs, doubles, and total bases. A 10-time All Star, Puckett was the fourth baseball player during the 20th century to record 1,000 hits in his first five full calendar years in Major League Baseball, and was the second to record 2,000 hits during his first ten full calendar years.At the time of his retirement, his .318 career batting average was the highest by any right-handed American League batter since Joe DiMaggio. After being forced to retire at age 35 due to loss of vision in one eye from a central retinal vein occlusion, Puckett was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2001, his first year of eligibility. Tragically, he would pass away on March 6, 2006, after suffering a stroke.

I completed the following sketch cards in August 2012.

I completed the following sketch card in November 2012.

10 random facts about Kirby Puckett:

  • In Puckett's Major League debut against the California Angels on May 8, 1984, he went 4 for 5 with a run.
  • He was the 1989 American League batting champion.
  • He won the 1991 ALCS MVP, en route to leading the Twins to their second World Series title.
  • In 1993, he won the Branch Rickey Award for his community service efforts.
  • He won the 1996 Roberto Clemente Award for his status as a humanitarian and ambassador to the game.
  • He had his jaw broken by a Dennis Martinez fastball on September 28, 1995.
  • A stellar outfielder, Puckett won 6 Gold Glove Awards during his career.
  • Immediately after his retirement, the Twins made him an executive vice president.
  • His jersey number 34 was retired by the Twins in 1997.
  • On April 12, 2010, a statue of Puckett was unveiled at the plaza of Target Field in Minneapolis; the statue represents Puckett pumping his fist while running the bases, as he did after his winning home run in Game 6 of the 1991 World Series.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Buster Posey Sketch Card

Just finished this sketch card of San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey. Done with Prismacolor pencils.

Dale Murphy Sketch Card

Decided to take out the Prismacolor pencils and create this sketch of one of my favorite players growing up, Dale Murphy. A Braves legend, Murphy finished his career with 398 homers 2 MVP award. Although he isn't enshrined in the National Baseball Hall of Fame, he makes a pretty solid case with his outstanding career.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

HOF Sketch Card Project: Ted Williams

Perhaps the greatest pure hitter in the game's history, Ted Williams played his entire 22-year Major League Baseball career as the left fielder for the Boston Red Sox (1939–1942 and 1946–1960). "The Splendid Splinter" was a two-time American League MVP winner, led the league in batting six times, and won the Triple Crown twice. A nineteen-time All-Star, he had a career batting average of .344, with 521 home runs, and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1966. 

I completed this sketch card in August 2012.

10 random facts about Ted Williams:
  • Williams recorded a hit 34% of the time, and he reached base an astounding 48 percent of the time. 
  • Williams was the last player in Major League Baseball to bat over .400 in a single season (.406 in 1941). 
  • Williams holds the highest career batting average of anyone with 500 or more home runs. 
  • His career year was 1941, when he hit .406 with 37 HR, 120 RBI, and 135 runs scored; his .551 on base percentage set a record that stood for 61 years. 
  • He won the Triple Crown in 1942 and 1947, yet was not voted MVP in either of those standout years.
  • Williams' career was twice interrupted by service as a U.S. Marine Corps fighter-bomber pilot.
  • Williams nearly always took the first pitch, reasoning that the ability to gauge the pitcher's "stuff" was worth conceding a first strike.
  • He became the Texas Rangers' first manager in 1972, immediately after the team relocated from Washington, DC to Arlington.
  • An avid sport fisherman, he hosted a television program about fishing, and he was inducted into the IGFA Fishing Hall of Fame.
  • On November 18, 1991, Ted Williams was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George H. W. Bush

Joe Mauer Sketch Card

Just finished this stipple sketch card of Minnesota Twins superstar catcher Joe Mauer.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Curtis Granderson Sketch Card

Just finished this sketch card of Yankees star Curtis Granderson.

HOF Sketch Card Project: Carl Yastrzemski

Carl Yastrzemski spent 23 seasons with the Boston Red Sox, playing primarily left field before moving to first base and the designated hitter spot later in his career. An 18-time All-Star, Yastrzemski won 7 Gold Gloves while finishing his career with 452 homers and 3,419 hits. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1989, his first year on the ballot, after being named on 94% of the ballots.

I created this sketch card in August 2012.

10 Random Facts About Carl Yastrzemski:
  • He is the last player in Major League Baseball to win the Triple Crown, having done so in 1967.
  • He won Sports Illustrated's "Sportsman of the Year" title in 1967.
  • Yastrzemski's .301 batting mark in 1968 is the lowest average of any batting champion in MLB history.
  • He was the first member of the 3,000 hit club to accumulate 400 homers while playing in the American League.
  • On May 19, 1976, Yastrzemski hit three home runs against the Detroit Tigers at Tiger Stadium. He then went to Yankee Stadium and hit two more, tying the Major League record of 5 home runs in two consecutive games.
  • He is the Red Sox' all-time leader in career RBIs, runs, hits, singles, doubles, total bases, and games played, and is second on the team's list for home runs behind Ted Williams.
  • No player has had a longer career with only one team - 23 seasons, a record which he shares with Brooks Robinson of the Baltimore Orioles.
  • Yastrzemski won three American League batting championships in his career.
  • Yastrzemski trails only Ty Cobb in hits collected with a single team, and trails only Cobb and Tris Speaker in hits collected playing in the American League.
  • Both of his parents were of a Polish background, and Yastrzemski was bilingual from an early age.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

HOF Sketch Card Project: Tony Perez

Tony Perez is most famously known as a vital contributor to the success of the Cincinnati Reds' "Big Red Machine" teams of the 1970s. Finishing his career with 379 homers and 1,652 RBI, Perez also contributed his skills to the Montreal Expos, Boston Red Sox and Philadelphia Phillies. One of the premiere RBI men during his time, Perez drove in at least 100 runs on seven different occasions during his 23-year career. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2000.

I completed this sketch card in August 2012.

Ten random facts about Tony Perez:
  • Perez was selected to his first All-Star team in 1967, and was subsequently named MVP of the game when he hit a homer off Jim "Catfish" Hunter to help lead the National League to victory.
  • He hit the first ever home run in Pittsburgh's Three Rivers Stadium in 1970.
  • He was converted from a third baseman to a first baseman in 1972.
  • He hit 3 homers in the 1975 World Series, which helped propel the Reds to victory over the Red Sox.
  • In an 11-year stretch between 1967 and 1977, Perez drove in 90 or more runs each year.
  • During the 1970s, Perez was second in RBI (954), behind teammate Johnny Bench.
  • In 1980, he won the Lou Gehrig Memorial award, which is given to players who best exemplify Gehrig's character and integrity both on and off the field. 
  • In 1983, Perez played for the Phillies alongside former Big Red Machine superstar teammates Joe Morgan and Pete Rose.
  • Along with the National Baseball Hall of Fame, Perez is also a member of the Hispanic Heritage Baseball Museum Hall of Fame.
  • His uniform number (24) was retired by the Reds on May 27, 2000.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Ichiro Suzuki Sketch Card

I recently purchased a full set of Prismacolor pencils, and I decided to make popular MLB superstar Ichiro Suzuki my first subject with my new utensils.

Long known as a fan-favorite and all-star for the Seattle Mariners, Ichiro was dealt to the Yankees a couple of weeks ago. Rather than depict him with his former team, I decided to create this sketch showing him with his new threads.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Jim Thome Sketch Card

I just finished this sketch card of one of my favorite players- and future Hall of Famer- Jim Thome. Although best known as a slugger for the Cleveland Indians, Thome is depicted on this card as a member of the Chicago White Sox. He is currently seventh all-time in career homers.

Jered Weaver Sketch Card

Jered Weaver of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim currently leads the American League with a 2.29 ERA, and is tied with David Price for wins (14). He is a lock to get his 100th career win by the end of the season.

I completed this quick sketch card of Weaver last night, using stippling.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Andrew McCutchen Sketch Card

The Pittsburgh Pirates have been a pleasant surprise this year in Major League Baseball, and they look to be on the verge of breaking 2 dubious streaks that have lasted the past 2 decades. They are about to have their first winning season after 19 consecutive losing ones (a North American sports record). They are also closing in on their first playoff berth since 1992.

One of the major THE major reason for their resurgence has been the amazing play of outfielder Andrew McCutchen. The heart and soul of the Pirates, he is the front-runner for NL MVP this season and has quickly become one of my favorite players. In honor of this incredible athlete, I created this sketch card using the stippling technique.