Baseball Catch Down Third Base Line


"Baseball Catch Down Third Base Line"

 Sports paintings by artist John Robertson
48" x 84" (4 feet by 7 1/2 feet) acrylic on unstretched canvas


Catching a throw-out from a fielder is easy – but a baseball catch on a line drive down the third base line is hard. But it looks easy from the stands - and artistic with the baseball player’s body laid nearly parallel with the ground and across the infield. Most batters think that when they hit a line drive it is good for a base and sometimes two.  But a good third baseman will break the batter’s heart with a great catch.

A couple of interesting baseball rules about catching a ball.


Here is an interesting rule in baseball which has to do with catching a baseball.  Players can only catch the ball with their hand, or their mitt. You can’t use your hat or your shirt or anything that’s not your bare hand or the mitt. If the ball is caught, or even touched intentionally, by a player with anything other than their bare hand or glove, on their hand, all runners, including the batter, get to advance a base.   Now I did see once a play where the infielder was catching a high fly ball behind a base but in play.  The ball his glove and bounced out but he caught it between his forearm and bicep.  It was ruled a hit and the batter took first base.

Tied into the above rule is one of my favorites, An infield fly is when a ball stays in the infield that isn't a bunt or line drive.  When there are runners on first and second or first, second, and third and less than two outs the umpire can make the judgment that an infielder, catcher, or pitcher could catch it with ordinary effort (whatever that means) the batter is out, even if no one caught it, even if they did catch it and then dropped it. The ball is still in play so any base runners who began to advance can still continue and the normal rules apply to them.  Confusing but fair because if they let it drop there is a good possibility for a double play on the players who hold their base with anticipation of the ball being caught.  If it is dropped then they are stuck on the base and when advancing can be easily thrown out.   This is where the expression “Hung out to dry” is sometimes used when the player is hung out on the base line waiting for the bsll to be either csught or dropped.  As an aside the expression comes is  based on the practice of hanging an animal that has been killed in a tree so its meat can dry.  Nice metaphor for a base runner. 

Jackie Robinson Baseball Sports Art Painting


Jackie Robinson baseball sports art painting by artist John Robertson is 50" x 70" acrylic on unstretched canvas.

Jackie Robinson quote:

"Baseball is like a poker game. Nobody wants to quit when he's losing; nobody wants you to quit when you're ahead". ~Jackie Robinson

Importance of Jackie Robinson


How good was Jackie Robinson as a major league player.  Well,  MLB has a special day every year when they celebrate his achievements – April 15 (of course that is tax day also but they chose that day because it was April 15, 1947 when he played his first game in the majors at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn, New York. And why do  they celebrate him?  Because he was the first African American Major League Baseball (MLB) player of the modern era.  He broke down the racial segregation barrier which had, in the past, relegated African-Americans to the Negro leagues for six decades.

Other Accomplishments


 He won Rookie of the Year in 1947 with a batting average of .297, 175 hits, 12 home runs, and 48 runs batted in.  In ten seasons he played in six World Series and contributed to the Dodgers' 1955 World Championship. He was selected for six consecutive All-Star Games from 1949 to 1954, was the recipient of the inaugural MLB Rookie of the Year Award in 1947, and won the National League Most Valuable Player Award in 1949 – the first black player so honored. Robinson was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962 and he was the first African American inducted at the Cooperstown Hall of Fame and Museum In 1997, Major League Baseball retired his uniform number, 42, across all major league teams.

A few interesting facts


Robinson died of a heart attack on October 24, 1972 in Stamford, Connecticut, at age 53.  He played himself in The Jackie Robinson Story, a biopic about his life released in 1950. When April 15, 2004, became Jackie Robinson Day all uniformed players in Major League Baseball were required to wear number 42 on their jerseys to honor Robinson’s memory and legacy to the sport

Spitball Pitch Baseball sports art painting

Spitball pitch definition (thank you Wikipedia)

A spitball pitch is an illegal pitch in which the ball has been altered by the application of saliva, petroleum jelly, or some other foreign substance. The pitch causes the ball to move atypically due to the altered wind-resistance and weight on one side of the ball. Alternative names for the spitball are
spitter, mud ball, shine ball and emery ball, although technically, an emery ball is one where the ball has been abraded in much the same way that the original cut ball had been physically cut. The altering of the ball's state by the use of artificial substances such as sun block, dirt or degradation by fingernails or other hard substances is illegal tampering.

Spitball Questions

So, there is a question to be asked:  Anybody throwing spitball pitchesanymore?  Not many as there are so many cameras on the pitcher it is hard for the pitcher to disguise putting some sort of crap on the baseball. Another question to be asked:  How does a normal “spitballer” get the “spit” or the doctoring onto the ball.  Some players would put some sort of odd substance on their uniform or body between innings then wipe it onto the ball.  For example, some put petroleum jelly or sunscreen or hair cream on their head then wipe it onto the ball (Try doing this unseen by cameras and zoom lenses).  Umpires would come out and check the uniforms and body of players.  One player put Vaseline on his pants zipper knowing that the umpire was not going to check there. If the pitcher has a great friend on the infield the friend can always put some “spit” on the ball and throw it to the pitcher.  But that can be a bit messy when the pitcher catches the ball. 

Like any good thief a good spitball throwing pitcher hardly ever caught so we don’t know how often the pitch is thrown.  Most pitchers overestimate their ability to throw a spitball pitch and when questioned by the umpire stutter nervously, and breathe irregularly.  They start looking around as if searching for an easy exit.  So, to be a good spitballer you have to have the dexterity hide your handling of the ball to manipulate it to get the “spit” onto it.  To see if you are dexterous enough, using india ink, write the Lord's Prayer thrice on a piece of paper the size of apostage stamp. This is going to test your honesty to the lord and dexterity, and, of course, if you can do both, then you don’t need or want to throw a spitball.

About the painting

"The Spitter" spitball sports art painting by artist John Robertson is 50" x 70" acrylic on unstretched canvas.


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

Ryne Sandberg Chicago Cubs Second Baseman

Why Paint Ryne Sandberg


Ryne Sandberg nicknamed "Ryno" played in Major League Baseball as a second baseman for the Philadelphia Phillies and Chicago Cubs.

I painted this sports art for my niece as a wedding present.  My sister lived in Chicago for a number of years and, as I remember, she went to graduate school there also.  She is a big fan of the Chicago Cubs and when her first daughter was born she named her Ryne after Ryne Sandberg.  Although they eventually moved away from the Chicago area they continued to be fans of Chicago.  Knowing that I am a sports artist, my niece asked for a Chicago Cubs painting.  So I have surprised her with this baseball painting.

Ryne Sandberg Interesting Stats

Sandberg was a perennial All-Star and Gold Glove candidate, making 10 consecutive All-Star appearances and winning nine consecutive Gold Gloves from 1983 to 1991. His career .989 fielding percentage is a major-league record at second base. Sandberg was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in January 2005; he was formally inducted in ceremonies on July 31, 2005. 

Ryne Sandberg Quotes

 In his  July 31, 2005, Cooperstown, NY Baseball Hall of Fame speech he said, "The reason I am here, they tell me, is that I played the game a certain way, that I played the game the way it was supposed to be played. I don’t know about that, but I do know this: I had too much respect for the game to play it any other way, and if there was there is a single reason I am here today, it is because of one word, "respect."¹ I love to play baseball. I’m a baseball player. I’ve always been a baseball player. I’m still a baseball player. That’s who I am."

One of my favorite quotes from Ryne Sandberg is because it has more meaning in to life and not just baseball.  He said, "In baseball, there's always the next day."  There  is always the next day to move on with your life.  Don't let the past haunt and weigh you down.  I like that thought.


The John Robertson Sports Art painting is 48" by 63" acrylic on unstretched canvas.