LA Dodgers pitcher Sandy Koufax Baseball Art Painting


LA Dodgers Pitcher

 Wouldn’t it be nice to have some 100 mph fastballs.  Let’s have a cannon up there firing  away.  LA Dodgers pitcher Sandy Koufax was like having a clipper ship with guns mounted on the side blazing cannonballs at the opposing ships.  When Koufax threw a fastball it lit up the crowd in the stadium.  It was like Pirates of the Caribbean setting a ship on fire.  All hands cheer.

 Sandy Koufax

 Sandy Koufax is considered one of the greatest pitchers ever to play the game.  His nickname was "The Left Arm of God"  or “Cannonball Koufax.”  He played his entire career with the Brooklyn/LA Dodgers retiring in 1966 because of arthritis in his left elbow at age 30.  As it has been said, “the barrel of his cannon got too hot.”    Sandy was inducted into the MLB Hall of Fame in 1972 - the youngest ever inducted at the time at 36 years old.

Here is my version of a story about Koufax that I found on Wired "Cruel Curveball Science; Nasty Koufax" BY DAVID DOBBS

 Sandy Koufax verses Mickey Mantle

 Koufax had to face Mickey Mantel of the New York Yankees in the first game of the 1963 World Series, Dodgers verses Yankees — Koufax faces Mantle three times.  Mantles first at-bat Koufax strikes out Mantle firing off the the cannons – ripping him apart with his fastballs.

Second time at bat Mantle has two strikes against him.  The card on Mantle is,…do not throw him a curve ball.  Don’t.   Do not do it.  It’s like throwing gold coins at Captain Jack.  He’s going to get ‘em. No curveball.  The catcher signs Koufax for the fastball.  Koufax shakes him off.  The catcher pulls out his Navy semaphores and starts madly waving signals, again for the fastball.  Twice he signals him.  Sandy shakes them off.  Catcher figures it out and flags for the curveball.  Okay, he gets it.  Sandy wants to throw the no-no pitch to Mantle.  Sandy is going to hook him.

What was Koufax’s curveball like?  Some consider his hooker the best curveball ever thrown. It came in high at the chin and tacked across home plate from top to bottom like a ship running the trade winds into the Antarctic. The pitch dropped like an anchor to Mantle’s knees.  Mantle just stares at it.  Doesn’t even blink.  All he feels is the wind. 

Umpire:  “Strike three.”

Mantle glares around at the umpire.  “How the fuck is anybody supposed to hit that shit?” And walks back to the dugout."  (quote attributed to David Dobbs)

 About the Sandy Koufax Painting

 The baseball art of Sandy Koufax painting by sports artist John Robertson is painted with acrylic inks on drafting film.  The overall size is 11" x 14"

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LA Dodgers Ex Pitcher Josh Beckett No Hitter

LA Dodgers Playoffs


 Wouldn’t it be nice is the LA Dodgers had someone who was part of the team during the play-offs to bring home the League Championship?  Here it is, time for the LA Dodgers post-season play-off, a run toward the World Series and there is no pitcher like 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 in he pitched a no hitter against the Philadelphia Phillies for the Los Angeles Dodgers on May 25, 2014 becoming the 19th man to do so in Dodgers history. However, his year and career ended due to an injury and he announced his retirement on October 7, 2014.  But For Beckett there was never  another time for a World Series appearence.  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."

 A Little More About Josh Beckett


 With Beckett it would have been 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 that year.  And he went in for surgery again next year with the big life time out on the horizon. 

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.''

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.”

About the LA Dodgers Josh Beckett Art by Sports Artist John Robertson


Los Angeles Dodger pitcher Josh Beckett baseball painting, “No Hitter”  is 5 feet by 6 feet, acrylic and ink on unstretched canvas.


LA Dodgers painting Sports Art

LA Dodgers

 Well, I guess us LA Dodgers fans can give a sigh or relief as they did finally win a game that puts them into the playoffs.  I know, I know, at this point in writing and showing the Dodgers art they are in a wild card position - and that is better than nothing.  And considering the Dodgers, at one recent point was considered one of the best teams in baseball, there is some satisfaction in knowing there are a lot of teams, 20 of them, would be thrilled get this far.  Let us hope they start playing to their ability.

The Los Angeles Dodgers expect to win their fifth consecutive division championship and a birth in the World Series.  Good luck.  The way they have been playing for more than the last three weeks it will be a challenge for them to get back on track.  They are in the post-season play and in a few days, hopefully in the next few, they win the National League West championship.  And if they can achieve the best record in baseball this year, (that is still a question) they will have the home field advantage if they make it to the World Series.

 About the LA Dodgers painting

 In the meantime here is a piece of art celebrating the Los Angeles Dodgers – a player sliding into home plate with a Yankee catcher tagging him out.  Like the Dodgers the Yankees hold a wild-card position with the Indians up a couple of games.  The LA Dodgers painting by sports artist John Robertson is ink and acrylic on a variety of maps of Los Angeles.  The painting is 5 feet by 6 feet.

LA Dodgers Yasiel Puig right fielder

Fate of Yasiel Puig

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:



Yasiel Puig Journey to US

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 risky journey 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 Information about 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

Baseball painting Andre Ethier MLB outfielder for Los Angeles Dodgers art

 The baseball painting is of Los Angeles Dodger outfielder, Andre Ethier sliding into home plate as the catcher tries to protect the plate and tag Either out.   32” x 39”  ink and acrylic on newsprint (Old Sporting News, magazines, books, etc) about the MLB and image of LA Dodgers.  Newsprint attached to 1” stretched canvas.  To view paintings for sale please visit: John Robertson Sports Paintings for sale.

Andre Ethier is a MLB left-handed outfielder for the Los Angeles Dodgers.  He’s a he’s a 2-time All-Star with a Silver Slugger and a Gold Glove in his history.   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.”

Ethier has played his whole major league baseball with the LA 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. 

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.  

Because he has been able to perform under pressure he was given the nickname “Captain 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, whiteknuckled- 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.

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. This 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] 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 is not having his best offensive season he does have a good perspective on his play.  Andre said, “I just want to take advantage of every day that I'm in the lineup.”

Image Baseball Yankee Batter sports art by John Robertson

Sports Painting.  The sports art painting is that of a New York Yankee batter swinging  at the pitch.  The painting is ink and acrylic on New York maps and a map of the New York subway  system.  There is also a map of the United States.  The baseball player painting is 50" x 70" on unstretched canvas.