Baseball Players on Steroids


Baseball and Steroids, Runs, Hits and Lots of Errors


The first thing a new season’s manager needs to tell the players is the difference between human growth hormones (HGH), bovine growth hormone (bGH) and no hormones – and it has nothing to do with utters. He needs to tell the players some side
effects of steroids are reversible but other effects are never changed in the minds of the public.

By taking steroids and bGH a player can inflate his statistics and his body.  I don’t mean to pick on Mark McGwire but to use him as an example In 1996 McGwire hit 50 home runs with 390 official times at bat – every 7.8 times he was at the plate. Babe Ruth did that eating candy bars and "light drink." When listening to McGwire’s infamous performance before House Government Reform Committee in March 2005 there were short pauses while viewers smothered their faces with laughter. McGwire didn’t hit 135 home runs in two years eating bonbons.

Originally the baseball was made so you couldn’t hit it easily, high, or far, so 60 home runs a season hitters are usually pituitary freaks. But we want our players to be made by nature not in the lab. Remember when baseball players were small? (For example: PeeWee Reese). Joe DIMaggio was only 6 feet 2 inches and weighed 193 pounds. Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio? There is a generation out there that thinks DiMaggio invented the coffee maker.

Like Joe DiMaggio, baseball players are symbols – of what things were what things are and what things will be. I guess we, as fans, get what we deserve. I just prefer not to see a some great ballplayer pumped up on steroids riding in a convertible waving to a frenzied crowd.

NCAA March Madness final four Basketball painting


March Madness

So we are down to the final four in this year’s March Madness - and I am rooting for is the improbable No. 11 Loyola Chicago who dominated Kansas State in an upset win over March Sadness Kansas.  Loyala played a great game by overshadowing Kansas in Saturday’s Elite Eight matchup   Totally unexpected for them to lead from the 16:31 point of the first half.

Is the final four, Loyola Ramblers the NCAA team is going to be the fairy tale story in this March Madness? Is Loyola going down the crazy rabbit hole with the March Hare, runs with the mad hatter and comes out winning in wonderland.  The March Madness tournament is always like entering “ Through the Looking Glass”  because you never know what you are going to see.  Are the players going to play as if they trained with a skillful coach or are they going to act as if trained by a Hookah-Smoking Caterpillar.  That is what makes watching a college basketball tournament so exciting. They beat the pros for enthusiasm every time. 

This first week a sixteen seeded team jumps ahead, a highly ranked team pulls a “humpty-dumpty” and gets knocked off.  With every turn on the scoreboard the college basketball world gets stunned when a favorite loses and we watch the merriment of the underdog.  There is nothing more exciting that a true buzzer-beater.  That’s what great about watching the NCAA March Madness tournament – anything can happen ant this year is no different than any other in that respect.

The March Madness basketball painting by sports artist John Robertson is 60" x 72" acrylic on unstretched canvas.

Football Art Painting Philadelphia Eagles NFC Championship Torry Smith

Philadelphia Eagles Football Art 

During the playoffs I have created football art of plays from the teams where some of my family live.  This football painting is of the team Philadelphia Eagles in the city where one of my niece’s lives.  The painting is of Torry Smith of the Philadelphia Eagles during the NFC Championship game
against the Minnesota Vikings played at Lincoln Financial Field. Torry in the third quarter, received a 41 yard pass from quarterback Nick Foles.  Smith caught the ball in front of Harrison Smith of the Minnesota Vikings and beat him to the end zone. Torry had a decent game with 5 catches for 69 yard, but what made it special was this touchdown catch.  

Torrey Smith Family Fund 

I didn’t know much about Torry Smith before doing the painting.  Mot of the time I just read basic statistics and a little history about the players – just to keep informed.  What I discovered about Torry Smith was his foundation - The Torrey Smith Family Fund.  It is a…”nonprofit that aims to provide youth with the tools they need to identify, unleash and reach their full potential.”  Here is a website giving information about the foundation. TorreySmith.org and  information on his work in the community.  It sounds like a great organization.  What I liked in particular was a couple of things they did.  To quote from his web page, …..”Torrey’s Back to School Program” is held each August with the purpose of ensuring that low-income elementary and middle school students have the basic items needed to begin the school year. Teachers also receive supplies they need to start the school year “Torrey’s Back to School Program” is held each August with the purpose of ensuring that low-income elementary and middle school students have the basic items needed to begin the school year. Teachers also receive supplies they need to start the school year”  What a great gift to the community from the Torrey Smith Family Fund.  All my best to you, Torry.

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"

To follow my sports art work like my instagram page: https://www.instagram.com/anartistlife/

Atlanta Braves Baseball Art David Justice SunTrust Park Stadium Painting

Artwork for SunTrust Park Stadium Atlanta Braves

The painting you see is one of three large-scale pieces of art that I created for the Atlanta Braves new SunTrusk Park baseball stadium in AtlantaGa.  It is of  David Justice a former outfielder and designated hitter in Major League Baseball who played for the Atlanta Braves (1989–1996).


I created three pieces this size and will see other post of the other paintings on this blog.  Although I have created sports art for a number of other stadiums the three MLB baseball pieces I painted of Atlanta Braves players are the largest.   The other two pieces are of Chipper Jones and the other is of Dale Murphy.  All three of the pieces are on display in the Delta Sky Club area of the SunTrust Park stadium.

 About David Justice

 Justice was a three-time MLB All-Star who played right field and hit over 300 home runs in his 14-year career.  He was also on a winning World Series with the Atlanta Braves in 1995.  And here is a little bit of Trivia.  He was married to actress Halle Berry from 1992 to 1996.  By the way , if you are interested in following David Justice here is his twitter @23davidjustice

I am always curious about some of the things athletes say.  Here is an odd one attributed to David Justice.  “I mulled over what he had told me as I savored the Scotch. Not bad, really — like a beer that’s been in a brawl.”   The real question about this quote is who was David Justice drinking Scotch with that  made that statement to him.  I have no idea.

 About the Painting

 The painting of David Justice by sports artist John Robertson is 8 feet by 15 feet, acrylic on canvas.


New York Yankees Joe DiMaggio Baseball Player Art

About Joe DiMaggio

 I image almost every baseball fan is familiar with the name Joe DiMaggio.  He is considered one of the greatest baseball players of all time playing for at the time one of the greatest baseball teams, the New York Yankees.  There is nothing much I can add to all of his stats.  I have also painted DiMaggio a number of times but thought it would be fun to try and do a simple, small drawing of him.  This ink drawing of Joe DiMaggio by sports artist John Robertson  is 11 inches by 14 inches on
watercolor paper.  Actually the paper is a little bit bigger by one in high to 15 inches.  The watercolor paper I drew Joe on is in a spiral watercolor paper binder so when it is torn out it can be trimmed down to the standard frame size of a 11” x 14” size.

 Interesting Info about Joe DiMaggio

 It seems the only way one generation (who have not followed baseball) of people know Joe DiMaggio is that he was a spokesman for the brand Mr. Coffee.  The older baseball crowd knows him by his nickname “Joltin’ Joe” or “The Yankee Clipper.” He was called by his many fans “Joltin’ Joe“because he was such a strong, hard hitter.  And others called him “The Yankee Clipper” because he sailed so gracefully through the outfield when making a catch in the wide center field of Yankee stadium.   And one of the big reasons people knew him was that he was one time married to Marilyn Monroe.  He was immortalized in the Paul Simon song, ‘Mrs. Robinson” with the line, “Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio /  Our nation turns its lonely eyes to you” -  meaning where has our heroes gone, where has the innocence of our youth gone and where are the days of the past as times have changes dramatically (this song was written in the sixties) and they are not coming back.  That’s a bit sobering.

Joe DiMaggio retired from baseball just as I was getting interested in the game.  1951.  I was young and listened to the Yankees games on the radio – the LA Dodgers were still in Brooklyn and did not come to L A for another six years.  So I was a Yankees fan and saw DiMaggio as a hero.  Heroes diminish and I lost some of my interest in baseball until the Dodgers showed up in LA. 

 Final Thoughts about Joe DiMaggio

 He was always being quoted and there are plenty around to draw from but I think the most interesting one must have been from when DiMaggio spoke about his days of his own innocence when he first started playing baseball.  He said, "I can remember a reporter asking me for a quote, and I didn't know what a quote was. I thought it was some kind of soft drink."

America's Game of Basebal - Art

Why Baseball is The Game 

 As the great player and Hall of Fame manager, Earl Weaver said, “You can't sit on a lead and run a few plays into the line and just kill the clock. You've got to throw the ball over the damn plate and five the other man his chance. That's why baseball is the greatest game of them all. “

 America’s Game

 The Game” Baseball.  America’s great pastime.  The game most boys and some girls have played at some time in their lives.  It’s called America’s game because it was one of the first sports played seriously in the United State starting 1845.  I played in Little League and then in the Pony League.  After that, not much.  High school grades (bad ones) prevented me from playing in high school and there was no college in my future.

As long as I could play the game of baseball I felt I was still a kid, I forgot everything when I was playing.  The assaults of the world started on me early.  A bad day of playing the game was always better than any other day I had.  I didn’t have to worry about school, or my parents or friends.  All I thought about was hitting the ball and at other times catching the ball with waiting in-between.  And the waiting never bothered me.  I was lost in the dream of playing.  Even when there was no organized game to play, we played out in the streets, home plate a hub cap off a car and bases were curbs and lines in the street.  We’d play until dark and only quit because we could not see the baseball anymore.  And only occasionally did one of us get hit by a car – usually a light tap.

Walt Whitman on America's Pastime

 One of the great American poets, Walt Whitman lived at the time of the founding of baseball  1819 - 1892. He saw the beginning and the development of the game.  Horace L. Traubel who wrote about Whitman in ,Walt Whitman in Camden,” vol. 2 (stated by Whitman in September 1888): “Whitman spoke more about in glowing terms: Baseball is the hurrah game of the republic! That's beautiful: the hurrah game! well—it's our game: that's the chief fact in connection with it: America's game: has the snap, go, fling, of the American atmosphere—belongs as much to our institutions, fits into them as significantly, as our constitutions, laws: is just as important in the sum total of our historic life.

Sports Painting. About the Baseball Art

 “The Game” painting by sports artist John Robertson is an image of the batter, catcher and umpire that is almost life-size.  The size of the art piece is 6 feet by 10 feet, ink and acrylic on unstretched canvas.

Green Bay Packers Painting For Lambeau Field Art Collection

About the Green Bay Packers Art Colletion

The painting of a Green Bay Packers football play, in this case a sweep against the Rams,  was created by sports artist John Robertson for the remodel of the suites area of Lambeau Field, the football stadium for the Green Bay Packers.
The new remodel of the suites and club level using art was installed in July 2017.   The painting is approximately 5 feet by 8 feet, acrylic on stretched canvas.  The rest of Jopn Robertson’s sports  artwork (eight pieces) is displayed on the suite and club levels of Lambeau Field, which means it is not available to other fans on a regular basis.

It was a very special night with my wife a few months ago at the Green Bay Packers Art Collection opening at Lambeau Field.  Great celebration and opportunity to tour the stadium and see the eight pieces installed. The enthusiasm and warmth of all the Packer fans involved, from everyone working the event to president of the organization, Mark Murphy, was extraordinary!

For those of you who have not visited Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin, I highly recommend a visit.  First of all, Green Bay is an enthusiastic town for football.  Everywhere there are references to the Packers: restaurants, bars, clubs, businesses all interested in the great game of Packers football.  The stadium itself is just beautiful with a retro look that gives it the feel of old time football.  It has been around for 61 years and yet they maintain it with great care making it a truly fabulous place to watch a game.  In 1999 Sports Illustrated named it as one of the top 10 places to watch a sporting event.  And I can’t imagine it not being still considered one of the best places to see a football game.  I did have an opportunity to see a game a number of years ago which is one of my great memories of seeing a sporting event.  They run tours of the stadium which you will see the history in the art displayed throughout the venue. 

Original sports paintings are available from my studio or on commission.

San Francisco 49er's Art Levi Stadium painting

Levi’s Stadium Art Paintings

One of sportsLevi’s Stadium Art Painting artist John Robertson’s San Francisco 49ers football art at the new SF 49ers Levi’s stadium. It was fun to see his work on the 48 foot by 200 foot LED video display screen at Levi's Stadium art collection where he has a number of sports art paintings.

Sports Artist John Robertson completed the group of football paintings for the 49er’s a couple of years ago.  As you can see in the photo that the painting was projected up onto the Levi’s stadium jumbotron screen overlooking the playing field.

 About the Joe Montana “the Catch” painting

 The painting is of the 49er’squarterback Joe Montana throwing a pass in the famous “The Catch” play where the defensemen lineman Too Tall Jones, from the Dallas Cowboys is rushing him and eventually knocks Montana to the ground.  Joe Montana did get the pass off and the football play depicted in the painting is completed to wide receiver Dwight Clark. 

About the Levi's Stadium Art Collection

 Here is some information about the art from the Levi's Stadium website: http://www.levisstadium.com/art/

"The Art Collection at Levi’s® Stadium celebrates the 49ers legendary history, the organization’s current success and the vibrant culture of the greater San Francisco Bay Area. No other multi-use stadium contains the quantity and scope of original artwork that this collection has procured. The galleries highlight diverse, local artists and include pieces that have personal ties to the 49ers organization. The 49ers are thrilled to present a collection that enhances the building by creating a fully integrated visual experience.
Guests will encounter larger than life portraits of 49ers greats, alongside charcoal sketches that celebrate notable regional figures such as Steinbeck and Kerourac (actually created by John Robertson’s artist wife, Lynn Hanson) Visitors may marvel over pieces from the Ranchos of the Santa Clara Valley and the timeless psychedelics of the storied Fillmore Music Hall. The collection has been crafted to engage and provoke everyone from the casual fan to the art aficionado."

"The Art Collection at Levi’s® Stadium is home to over 200 original pieces and more than 500 photographs. The museum-quality artwork featured is comprised of mixed mediums such as acrylic, charcoal, enamel, oil, pastel, pen and ink, stencil, metals and sculptures. Of the 23 original artists showcased, 20 hail locally from California. The photographs in the collection are from the archives of the 49ers and their esteemed group of team photographers, as well as from the San Francisco Chronicle and many local libraries and historic centers..


LA Dodgers Baseball Image Sports art Andre Ethier right fielder

Baseball Art LA Dodgers  

The baseball painting - LA Dodgers art of Andre Ethier playing right field is by sports artist John Robertson.  It is painted on a 30” by 40” gallery wrapped canvas with maps of Los Angeles applied to the surface.  The image is created with ink and acrylic paint.

 Andre Ethier Right Fielder

 As of this writing Andre Ethier of the Los Angeles Dodgers is hanging out at the Rancho Cucamonga location and hoping to start up from his disabled and is also expected to be in the Quakes lineup for what will be his first rehab game. He is not expected to be activated from the 60-day DL until Friday, Sept. 1. In the last couple of seasons Ethier has been out because of an injury suffered in Spring Training.  He has had a lot of problems from a herniated disk, with pain and discomfort in his lower back. 

After Ethier had a leg injury in 2016, and sitting out almost all of the season with the LA Dodgerds he started off the 2017 season with this back problem.  What is interesting to know about his playing time with the Dodgers is that he has only been in sixteen games since 2015. Who knows how much work he will get once he is hopefully back after the beginning of September.  

Acme Packers Sports Painting Green Bay Packers Art

About the Acme Packers Art

 The painting of an Acme Packer (later to become the Green Bay Packers) was created by sports artist John Robertson for the remodel of the suites area of Lambeau Field, the football stadium for the Green Bay Packers.  The new remodel of the suites and club level using art was installed in Green Bay.  The rest of my artwork (eight pieces) is displayed on the suite and club levels of Lambeau Field, which means it is not available to other fans on a regular basis.
July, 2017.   The painting is approximately 4 feet by 7 feet, acrylic on stretched canvas.  Although the Acme Packers never played a game in the snow it seemed appropriate to the player in the snow because of the well known winters of

 About the Acme Packer football team

 The Acme Packers was one of the Packers name before they became the Green Bay Packers.  In 1919 and 1920 there was a packing company where Curly Lambeau was working named Indian Packing. Curly was a player and coach and first coach of the, soon to become, Green Bay Packers professional football team.   The Indian Packing company was bought out by a Chicago packing company called Acme Packing and the two companies became one.  The Indian Packers had the football team and Acme changed the name to the Acme Packers.  As the team was not actually owned by Acme Packing but by a couple of the executives of the packing company.  Through a variety of financial changes the team was eventually (in a couple of years) named the Green Bay Packers and became part of the NFL.  Curly Lambeau was the head coach of the Packers from 1920 to 1949.

Original sports paintings are available from my studio or on commission.


Sports painting of baseball great Joe DiMaggio of the New York Yankees Portrait

Baseball Art: Joe DiMaggio Painting Portrait

Baseball painting portrait of Joe DiMaggio  is 50" x 70" acrylic on unstretched canvas by sports artist John Robertson

As a boy and like so many others I thought Joe DiMaggio was the baseball player to follow and worship.  We did not have a major league team in Los Angeles at the time so the Yankees were the team we followed.  (What? No TV?  Nope.  Not then. This was 1948-1951) Joe was nicknamed "Joltin' Joe" and "The Yankee Clipper" and was what we all wanted to grow up to be - American Major League Baseball center fielder for the Yankees.  Dreams.  Boyhood dreams.

Kevin Costner about Joe DiMaggio

Even adults thought that Joe DiMaggio was something special.  Kevin Costner, who made that great baseball movie, “Field of Dreams” said about Joe DiMaggio, “There are certain people’s names that are reminders of what men can be like. To this day, when I hear the name Joe DiMaggio, it is so much more than a man’s name. It reminds me to play whatever game I’m in with more grace and pride and dignity…He is a man who speaks to us about how to walk through life and how to receive the admiration only the famous can know…and about how to wear defeat and disappointment as if it were just a passing storm. Men like Joe DiMaggio are not just of their own time. They are men for the ages.”

I remember in 1952 collecting Topps Baseball Cards – buying packs and packs of gum to get that Topps, Joe DiMaggio 1952 card. So I gathered about one-hundred-and-seventy-five cards before discovering that he retired before the production of the 1952 cards were printed. (I still have the 1952 Topps cards I collected as a boy.  And no they are not in good condition.  Who knew then.  I glued the cards into a paper scrapbook so on the back of the cards there are these great hunks of Elmer’s Rubber Cement and bits of paper attached to the cards.)

For me this is where Joe DiMaggio went

I continued to follow the Yankees until the Brooklyn Dodgers moved to Los Angeles for the 1958 season and my allegiance changed.  But, to me, baseball was never the same with DiMaggio gone from the game.  I really didn’t have much thought about DiMaggio being gone or what it might have meant to me until 1967.  The was the year one of my favorite movies came out, “The Graduate”  a coming of age movie about a college graduate entwined in the process of adulthood, the loss of innocence, manhood, etc.  And in the movie soundtrack is one of the great Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel songs, “Mrs Robinson.”  The classic lines in the lyrics:

”Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio?
A nation turns its lonely eyes to you, wo wo wo
What’s that you say, Mrs. Robinson
‘Joltin Joe’ has left and gone away, hey hey hey
Hey hey hey”

At that time I kicked and fought not to be an adult.  I had dropped out of high school - did my stint in the Navy,  tried college a number of times  and struggled to find direction.  Somehow the movie helped.  I was not alone but “Joltin Joe’ (had) left and gone away.”

Joe" DiMaggio November 25, 1914 – March 8, 1999) played his entire 13-year career for the New York Yankees. He is perhaps best known for his 56-game hitting streak (May 15 – July 16, 1941), a record that still stands.  DiMaggio was a three-time MVP winner and an All-Star in each of his 13 seasons. During his tenure with the Yankees, the club won ten American League pennants and nine World Series championships.  At the time of his retirement, he ranked fifth in career home runs (361) and sixth in career slugging percentage (.579). He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1955, and was voted the sport's greatest living player in a poll taken during the baseball centennial year of 1969.  ---- From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Quotes about Joe DiMaggio

This is what a couple of other great baseball players said of Joe DiMaggio:

(Joe) DiMaggio was the greatest all-around player I ever saw. His career cannot be summed up in numbers and awards. It might sound corny, but he had a profound and lasting impact on the country." - Ted Williams


"Heroes are people who are all good with no bad in them. That's the way I always saw Joe DiMaggio. He was beyond question one of the greatest players of the century." - Mickey Mantle

Dallas Cowboys Training Camp 2017

Have gone to Dallas Cowboys training camp in Oxnard, Ca to get some shots of football players.  What is always striking about going to training camp is how many people come out daily to see theplayers.  Cars are lined up before the parking lot even opens and can stretch a half mile back.  This is at least an hour before the gates open.  I hear reports that about 4,000 to
5,000 Cowboys fans come out for each day of training.  Once in there are lots of vendors showing a variety of Dallas Cowboys merchandise, jerseys, hats, footballs, key chains, etc.


The field is large and there are plenty of viewing places with bleachers if you do not want to wander around.  When players are going through their drills they move from location to location so there are a lot of good advantage places to see them practicing close. 
As I have a decent long range camera it was easy for me to sit in the bleachers and get a lot of good photos for reference to future paintings. 


Green Bay Packers Aaron Rodgers Quarterback art

About Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers Painting

Football season is upon us and, as far as I am concerned, Aaron Rogers, quarterback for the Green Bay Packers is as good a representative as anyone for NFL football.  This painting of Roger is
approximately 4 feet by 6 feet, acrylic on unstretched canvas.  Although I have done a number of paintings (eight to be exact) for the new Green Bay Packers Lumbeau Field Stadium expansion this is not one of them.

If you are reading this when it was posted I was actually in Green Bay celebrating the opening of the Llambeau Field stadium and the art created for the permanent collection of the Packers.  It is a good trip as I have spent a week in the area.  My wife has a sister living about an hour and a half away in Wisconsin, along with other members of her family.  We visit quite regularly to Wisconsin and love it there.  Obviously everyone is rabid fans of the Green Bay Packers and of Aaron Rogers.

My Last Visit to Green Bay Lumbeau Field

It will have been almost fifty years since I was in Green Bay.  At that time I went with my best friend from high school to visit his family.  We spent two weeks there and went every day to the Packers practice field to watch the workout and actually sit on the bench with the players.  This is why the Packers have been one of my favorite teams. I got to speak with Fuzzy Thurston, Jerry Kramer, Ray Nitschke, , Jim Taylor and the “Golden Boy” Paul Horng.  Those are the players I remember most and what started my interest with the Packers.  It was also why I was thrilled to have an opportunity to paint some of my favorite players for the packers.  Each one of them is represented one way or another in the paintings that will be on permanent display at Laubeau Field.  As a sports artist I can’t think of anything much more rewarding than painting your favorite players and team in any sport and have them displayed in Lambeau Field.

Green Bay Packers Jim Taylor running back Sports football art

Green Bay Packers Commission

 I have had the privilege to paint art for another NFL football stadium, Lambeau Field, the stadium for the Green Bay Packers, one of the oldest franchises in the NFL. Eight of my paintings in their permanent art collection adorn different sections of the suites and club levels of Lambeau Field inGreen Bay Wisconsin.  I have also have works or art in the permanent collection of the NFL’s Levi Stadium, home of the San Francisco Forty Niners and the US Bank stadium, home of the Minnesota Vikings, among other arena’s and ballparks.  (see bio.)

 About the Green Bay Packers Art

 I feel it is a great honor to be able to create work that celebrates the culture and history of Lambeau Field, one of the great stadiums to watch a football game in.  Using canvas, acrylic and other materials such as maps and old newsprint with the images I painted specific players along with a series of old football posters.   I was given great freedom to paint what I wanted.  As my favorite era of the Green Bay Packers was the sixties I created half of the paintings from that period. 

Why I am a fan of Green Bay Packers 

The reason I am such a fan of the Packers is that during the sixties I had a good friend whose family was from Green Bay, Wisconsin.  We spent a couple of weeks in Green Bay, and went to their practice field every day.  What was so great about those days was that one could sit on the practice field, on the bench, with the players and actually talk with them.  Can you imagine sitting next to your football idols?  My favorite of all times was Ray Nitschke the absolutely best linebacker off all time. Yup. Sat next to him and talked.  Fuzzy Thurston, the great lineman, Jim Taylor, Paul W. Horning, (the golden boy) Jerry Kramer, etc. 


Original paintings are featured in several areas on Lambeau Field's Associated Bank Club Level. It includes rarely seen historical photographs provided by the Press-Gazette and art obtained from nineteen artists through the sports consulting firm, Sports & The Arts.

The sports art by sports artist John Robertson is of JimTaylor, running back is six feet by eight feet, acrylic on canvas.


Jackie Robinson brooklyn Dodgers sports art painting

A

bout the Jackie Robinson Painting

 For those of you who follow John Robertson sports art either on Facebook, Instagram or all the other places work is posted you know that I have painted Jackie Robinson of the famed Brooklyn Dodgers a few times.  This time I did something a little bit unique.  The painting is 12" x 16" ink and acrylic
on old Sporting News magazines from the 1980's attached to canvas boards.  Two coats of a finish protects the surface.  In the background is N.L Box scores, where they play, pitching leaders, and a variety of other information.

Obviously Jackie Robinson was and is an inspiration to a lot of people.  Here is one of my favorite quotes from him.  "Life is not a spectator sport. If you're going to spend your whole life in the grandstand just watching what goes on, in my opinion you're wasting your life."   Particularly in this day and age of the technology we tend to be watching small screens and not participating in life.  We are watching others and following what others may be doing and living vicariously through them. 

 Top ten things Jackie Robinson may have said about baseball

 (maybe he didn’t say all of these but he probably thought them. )

1. Anyone can win a game unless there is another team playing.
2. The biggest sin in baseball is being thrown out at home plate.
3. Make good plays - good enough to make the opposing team manager kick the water cooler.
4. I like a sport where stealing is not illegal
5. There is no sweeter word for a runner than "Safe"
5. The first thing a team physician checks on an injured catcher is for footprints.
7. It is better to steal than never.
8. Always run bases counter-clockwise.
9. Chewing bubble gum – don’t blow bubbles while wearing a catcher’s mask.
10. Chewing tobacco – spit, don’t swallow

Baseball art Painting of Catcher Ramon Hernandez


Ramon Hernandez Portraint painting 
by sports artist John Robertson
50" x 70" acrylic on unstretched canvas

A Catcher is a Backstop With a Good Arm

Catcher Ramon Hernandez MLB Teams

I painted Ramon Hernandez, an excellent catcher (and could play first base) because he was such a great workhorse for any team he played for – and he did play for a number of them.  Ramon with the Oakland Athletics (1999–2003), San Diego Padres (2004–2005), Baltimore Orioles (2006–2008), Cincinnati Reds (2009–2011), Colorado Rockies (2012) and Los Angeles Dodgers (2013.  He moved around a lot but was always a great contributor to whichever team he played for.  He has an interesting position to play.

 About Catchers 

Here’s a funny story about Joe Torre who, among a number of great achievements was a great catcher.  He was once asked why he became a catcher.  “When I was 16 years old, my brother Frank said, 'You'd better become a catcher, because you're too big and fat to do anything else.' Well, I took his advice. It was a quick way to get to the big leagues, and I've never regretted it.”  Now Hernandez never made the choice because he was six feet tall and weighed in at around one ninety.  That’s not big and fat.  Also he was a good hitter with a two-sixty-three hitting average over his long career. 

Ramon Hernandez, like most catchers was the defensive leader on the field. He called the pitches and positioned players on the field and had a pragmatic view of baseball. The great pitcher Bob Feller said, "If you believe your catcher is intelligent and you know that he has considerable experience, it is a good thing to leave the game almost entirely in his hands."


Ramon had psychological insights and had a list of behaviors for each player approaching the batting box. His eyes were continuing to move across the field of play and his mind running the different offensive scenarios in his head. All of this going on with a baseball bat menacingly inches from his head.  That is what good catchers did.

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. 

Surfer Jeff Ho Portrait Sports Art Surfing

Surfer Jeff Ho portrait
Painting by sports artist John Robertson
50” x 72” acrylic on unstretched canvas

Surfer art Jeff Ho, Z-Boys

Jeff Ho was one of the original Z-Boys of skateboard and surfing fame.  Z-Boys were a group of skateboarders in the 1970's from South Santa Monica and Venice, California who are credited with inventing modern skateboarding.  Jeff had started a local surf team and later a skate team named Zepher Surf Team and Zephyr
Skate team which is how the they became to be known as Z-Boys.  Jeff Ho opened Jeff Ho Surfboards and Zephyr Productions, a surf shop in the Venice Beach area in 1971 and closed it in 1976.  By the way, Jeff still shapes boards and they are still available on line along with other surf and skate products. A bit of Jeff’s story was told, along with his team in the the 2001 documentary film, Dogtown and Z-Boys, and a 2005 biographical film, Lords of Dogtown.

Opportunity to Paint Portrait of surfer Jeff Ho



I first met Jeff Ho in Venice around 2000 when visiting my future wife in Venice, Ca.  One of my wife’s best friend lived next door to her in Venice and she happened to be Jeff Ho’s girlfriend during the Z-Boys days in Venice.  They were still good friends and sometime surfing partner’s to her husband.  He came around regularly to their house and I would speak with him, not knowing his past history.  I just always admired the surfboards he usually had hanging on his car.  They were beautifully painted and shaped.  Because he had an interesting face I asked him if he minded that I paint his portrait.  Being the great guy he is, he agreed.  Only after a few months after completing the painting did I ever find out who we was and his history.   

The skateboard you see photographed is one I made for a skateboard auction fundraiser.  It seemed appropriate to create the surf deck with the image of Jeff on it.  











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