Everyone’s talking about the new book The League of Outsider Baseball: An Illustrated History of Baseball’s Forgotten Heroes by Gary Cieradkowski.
Immediately, I see a reader out there. The book jacket bio begins “…is an artist…”
Important: Gary is all that. And more!
Yes, the art is beautiful. However, this man can write, too. He evokes the style and lingo for write-ups you’d find on old tobacco cards.
Of course, he has a graphic art flair in creating his own take on tobacco cards. He finds baseball ties in the most unlikely places, even commemorating Frank Sinatra, football’s George “Papa Bear” Halas and author Jack Kerouac.
Back to the book:
Gary shared a love of baseball with his father. The two would swap obscure tales from baseball’s past, unearthing trivia exposing baseball names large and small. When dad died in 2009, Gary started a blog, Infinite Card Set, posting new art and new stories. Kindred spirits found Gary, and a new baseball history tradition took root.
The book will get the most devout fan through a long off-season. Stories are fast-paced, funny, sometimes poignant and always well-researched. Even after all 233 pages, a fan would get endless hours of joy studying Gary’s depiction of players, real and imagined.
The back cover notes that Gary created graphics for Oriole Park at Camden Yards. After this book, expect teams and card companies to fight for the services of this insightful, creative artist-author. Thankfully, we all have the Infinite Card Set online, keeping us content until a sequel appears.
I have saved hand-written return address “autographs” for years.
I was touched to think that a retiree is so concerned about my cards that he wants them back, in case my address on the SASE does not work. (Think Virgil Trucks!)
I note how faithful the oldest ex-players are. They sign their names, then add their full addresses.
Sure, five bucks is kind. However, someone age 80 may appreciate some adhesive labels.
Print out a sheet on your computer to include. Whether ordered or homemade, the labels don’t have to be baseball themed.
But it can’t hurt!
Or, if you know a collector needing a Father’s Day present (or the collector looking at you in the mirror), do the same. Show the world who you are.
My wife Diana has a birthday today.
No baseball letters today. Just a reminder to all of you.
There has to be a supportive person or more in your hobby lives, too. Let them know that you’re grateful. Whether those allies supply advice, encouragement or simply offer you time, these hobby teammates matter. Thank them often.