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In recent years, Graig Kreindler's uniquely vivid mix of realism and impressionism—combined with his trademark attention to historical detail, topped by his flair for quirkily dramatic titles—has attracted increasing attention throughout baseball-art circles and beyond. Featured in the New York Times and Collector Magazine, Kreindler has received prestigious commissions from the Yogi Berra Museum ("Perfect" - Berra/Larsen embracing) and the Bob Feller Museum ("The Heater Makes History" - Feller's Opening Day no-hitter). A graduate of the School of Visual Arts, he has also exhibited widely, produced book-cover illustrations, and accepted awards from both the Norman Rockwell Museum and the Illustration Academy. The most recent feather in Graig's cap is a featured spotlight on 12 of his paintings in the United States Post Office's 2012 baseball-themed stamp retrospective Play Ball! A Celebration of Baseball's Greatest Moments.
Kreindler strives not only to be a world-class artist, but a visual historian as well—and one need only feast eyes upon this grandiose Ty Cobb tribute to immediately feel transported back to Chicago's South Side Park on Opening Day in 1908. The title, "Navin's Nominal Star," alludes to Cobb's pre-season holdout during a public battle with Tigers President Frank Navin over salary and the reserve clause. Ultimately, the 21-year-old phenom accepted a $4,000 contract with an $800 bonus if he batted over .300 and fielded over .900. Here's how Cobb recounted Opening Day in his posthumously released 1961 autobiography My Life in Baseball:
"When we bowed in the season at Chicago, the Windy City audience of 20,000 climbed on my back with cries of 'Here comes the World Series lemon!' and 'That's the bird who wanted an accident clause in his contract!'...After touching up the White Sox's opening pitcher, Doc White, for a double, scoring three runs, I faced a new hurler, Nick Altrock, in the ninth inning. As Altrock strutted out, the band burst into 'For He's a Jolly Good Fellow' and 'Budweiser's a Friend of Mine.' Altrock wound up and confidently hummed his first pitch of the season in there and the last seen of the ball it was vanishing over the right-field bleachers...With a home run, single, and double on Opening Day, I was well satisfied. The Chicago bleachers became silent and 'lemon' no longer was associated with my name. In fact, I believe it was in 1908 that Grantland Rice first coined the nickname 'Georgia Peach' for me, a tag that was both flattering and profitable to my career."
With painterly strokes and a gestural, loose style, Kreindler's scene kinetically captures Cobb mid-swing with two fellow colorful characters behind home plate—Pale Hose backstop Billy Sullivan and umpire Silk O'Loughlin. In the background, South Side Park's overflow crowd spills onto the field itself under a hazy overcast sky. The unframed oil-on-linen rendering spans a gargantuan 3-1/3 feet x 5-1/6 feet and is prominently featured with Kreindler's body of work at www.graigkreindler.com. It's also noteworthy to mention that a privately commissioned piece of this size requires a 2-year wait and costs over $30,000 based on Kreindler's current schedule and rates.
Ty Cobb "Navin's Nominal Star" 40" x 62" Oil on Linen Painting by Graig Kreindler
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