Hall of Famer Bagwell Receives Glove Artwork
I recently had the honor of being asked to create a one-of-a-kind painting as a special gift for 2017 Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Jeff Bagwell.
One of Bagwell's close friends commissioned this painted glove, which was given to him this week to coincide with his induction festivities in Cooperstown.
Rawlings Mitt as Canvas for Bagwell Art
The painting is on a new Rawlings first base mitt, the Pro JB5 model, named for Bagwell.
The glove was made expressly for this project and has his name stitched on it. (Somewhat reminiscent to the Ryan Howard glove painted for the Phillies last year.)
Bagwell Painted Glove Design
With a 15-year baseball career full of milestones, a big challenge was deciding how to best use the space on the mitt to organize all of the info necessary to convey Bagwell's MLB achievements.
Pouring over the graphic elements relating to Bagwell's time with the Astros from 1991 to 2005, I decided the star element and his uniform number 5 -- along with his iconic batting stance that the client requested -- would be the key anchors of the design.
The Astros color palette of burgundy and black towards the end of Bagwell's career seems to best compliment the glove's black and tan appearance.
Bagwell Batting Portrait
Since the person being depicted is also the recipient of this painting, getting Bagwell's likeness as close as possible was key and the biggest challenge.
(The fabric held in place by masking tape covers areas of the glove I've already painted, keeping those parts protected from sweaty hands and fingers that might (probably!) have paint on them.)
Even though the portrait is only about the size of my thumb, there's no mistaking which "Killer B" is up to bat.
The painting is created using acrylic paints and varnishes -- and many fine-tipped brushes.
Hand-Lettered Awards and Stats
The glove is hand-lettered with highlights of Bagwell's many awards, including 1991 NL Rookie of the Year, 1994 National League MVP, 4-time All-Star, Gold Glove winner, and 1994 Player of the Year Award.
I used the Astros uniform font as the basis for my hand-lettered type with some artistic license, including italicizing/tilting it a bit.
A few career statistics totals are listed on the thumb side of the glove: Batting average .297, Hits 2,314, Home Runs 449, RBI 1,529 and Fielding .993 .
Recognizing Bagwell's close relationship with Darryl Kile, the client requested that the design include a reference to the "DK 57" memorial patch that was worn on uniforms upon Kile's death in 2002.
Design Details on Bagwell Baseball Glove Art
While not a member of the Astros during the prime 'Tequila Sunrise' uniform days (more about this at Uni-watch.com -- external link), the iconic red/orange/yellow rainbow is so linked to the visual identity of the Houston franchise, I wanted to be sure to reference it on the painting -- especially as Bagwell played his entire career with the team.
Bagwell is synonymous with wearing number 5 in Houston and the Astros retired his number in 2007. Taking design cues from the glove's design, the web lends itself ideally as placement for a number 5.
A reference to the Astros 2005 NL Championship and Bagwell's appearance in the World Series is placed in the webbing as well.
Lastly, once painted and a light matte finish is applied to protect the work, the first base mitt is displayed on a museum stand.
Hopefully this artwork will be a cherished keepsake enjoyed by Jeff and his family for many years to come!
Sean Kane's painted baseball glove art is in the permanent collection of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, The National Pastime Museum and is in private collections across the U.S.
His clients include the Philadelphia Phillies and Milwaukee Brewers Fantasy Camp.
Sean's glove paintings have been featured on ESPN.com, NBC Sports.com, and MLB Network Radio and have recognized by the National Art Museum of Sport.
Sean has been a professional artist for over 20 years and a baseball fan since he was old enough to wear his dad's childhood mitt.