Kansas City Baseball Icon Buck O'Neil

O'Neil Featured on Custom Baseball Glove Painting

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Vintage 1940s firstbase mitt becomes canvas for painting highlighting career of Buck O'Neil.

Buck O'Neil was a Negro Leagues first baseman and manager of the Kansas City Monarchs from 1938 to 1956. He was the first black coach in Major League Baseball, joining the Chicago Cubs in 1962. Later he was a scout for the Kansas City Royals.

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This painting of an elder Buck O'Neil was created for the offices of KC architecture firm Pendulum Studio, specializing in baseball stadium design.

(FYI, video has no sound.)

Buck O'Neil was a founder of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City and became known for retelling stories from that era in Ken Burns' documentary, "Baseball."

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O'Neil was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Baseball Hall of Fame has recognized his impact on the game with a Lifetime Achievement Award named in his honor.

The baseball glove painting of Buck O'Neil is custom-framed in a diamond shape, a reference to the logo of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. This is a deep shadow box-style, wood frame with gold highlights on a cloth mat.

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Of all the quotes I've painted on gloves, Buck's may be my favorite; "You Got to Give People Love."

For a special item displaying your affection for a local sports legend -- For a public office space or civic museum, corporate gifts or something for yourself -- I specialize in creating keepsakes that will spark memories of the game and engage viewers. Contact me to discuss the possibilities.

Negro Leagues Baseball Museum Exhibit: Latin Beisbol Art

The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City opened their "Negro Leagues Beisbol" exhibit last week (May 16, 2014).

The exhibit includes a collection of five glove paintings featuring players who exemplified the relationship between the Negro Leagues and Latin baseball.

A glove painting I created highlighting the career of Cuban great Martin Dihigo made its public debut at the VIP Sponsors Opening Night Celebration held at the museum. 

The artwork on a vintage 1940s glove is now part of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum's permanent collection.

The new exhibit explores the rich cultural and historical connection between American-born Negro Leaguers and players of Hispanic descent, who often played in each other's leagues. 

Five Painted Gloves on display at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, Kansas City.

Five Painted Gloves on display at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, Kansas City.

Other art in the exhibit includes Willie Mays and Hank Aaron glove paintings, both of whom played in the Negro Leagues and in Latin American.

The great Puerto Rican Roberto Clemente is also represented on a painted glove in the exhibit.

Another Cuban great, Minnie Minoso, is represented on a glove painting in the exhibit. While maybe best known as a Chicago White Sox player, Minoso was active in the Negro Leagues and the Cuban League, where he won Rookie of the Year in 1945-46.

The opening celebration included many former Negro League players, including Enrique Maroto, Pedro Sierra, George Altman and others.

With museum president Bob Kendrick.

With museum president Bob Kendrick.

What great stories I got to hear, including what it was like to be starting pitcher in the East-West Negro Leagues All-Star game in front of 50,000 at old Comiskey Park. Priceless.

I also had the pleasure of visiting with museum supporters, former major leaguers Willie Wilson and Bobby Dernier, and the hard working team at the NLBM, including museum president Bob Kendrick and curator Dr. Ray Doswell.

The "Negro Leagues Beisbol" exhibit continues until September 30, 2014. The exhibit is presented by Sprint and the Kauffman Foundation and admission is free to the public.

Definitely plan to stop by 18th & Vine for an enriching experience and to learn about baseball's international heritage!

I'm goin' to Kansas City, Kansas City here I come

Just seven weeks until my baseball glove artwork makes its museum debut.

I’ve got some butterflies. A big to-do list. And a smile from ear to ear.

The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City is presenting my baseball glove art as part of a new exhibit opening in May.

“Beisbol” will focus on Latin American baseball and its influence on the game in the U.S., including the Negro Leagues. It's a big story that I'm thrilled to have a role in helping to tell. After its KC debut the exhibit will travel the country for five years.

But I can’t pull back the curtain on the art just yet -- it will be unveiled at the special Opening Night reception at the Museum on May 15. (Hint: Become a Museum member to get an invite!)

The player I focused on was a Cuban star who also played in the Negro Leagues.

His is an amazing story that many fans may not be familiar with, which is why I wanted to create this work -- on a glove from his playing era, it includes a portrait and career highlights plus some flair to hint at the lively Latin approach to the game.

Ideally the glove painting will invite curiosity about this player and give a glimpse of his impact on the game.

Additionally, plans are being made to present other baseball glove paintings of mine in the ‘Beisbol’ exhibit -- a “mini-show” within the exhibit featuring paintings of a few players touched by the Latin leagues experience.

This is where some of the butterflies and big to-do list come in.

And the smile from ear to ear -- that comes from this opportunity the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum has presented, fulfilling a number of goals for this path I’m on.

As I make my way towards that plane trip in a month and a half, I’ll be sharing some of the process and progress along the way. Should be quite a ride.

Kansas City, Kansas City here I come...

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photo by ImaginaryGirl