Earlier this year I was honored to be commissioned to illustrate 3 panels depicting the baseball career of Buck O'Neil. Anyone who's watched Ken Burn's documentary "Baseball" knows who Buck is, his great camera presence and lively commentary on the Negro Leagues made him the instant star of that epic mini-series. I'd met Buck a few times in the late 80's and early 90's and illustrating this triptych to pay homage to one of the games' leading goodwill ambassadors was a great thrill. Buck would be 100 this year and the Baltimore Orioles made the great decision to honor Buck by naming their Twin Lakes, Florida complex after him.
From the Baltimore Sun...
Orioles to honor Buck O'Neil on Sunday
The Orioles will hold a ceremony Sunday to honor Negro leagues pioneer Buck O’Neil at their minor league facility in Sarasota, Fla.
O’Neil, who died in 2006, would have been 100 years old Sunday. The star first baseman and manager spent part of his childhood in Sarasota, home to the Orioles’ Buck O’Neil Baseball Complex at Twin Lakes Park. O’Neil, who went on to scout and coach in the major leagues, worked to preserve the history and promote awareness of the Negro leagues.
The Orioles will unveil three illustrated baseball cards of O’Neil created by artist Gary Cieradkowski, whose works honor Negro leagues players who never had cards of their own. The O’Neil cards have been displayed at the minor league complex. An honorary plaque will also be hung at the main entrance to the complex’s administrative building.
Sarasota County commissioners Carolyn Mason and Joe Barbetta will also proclaim Sunday Buck O’Neil Day in Sarasota.
I'd like to thank Orioles Vice-President of Planning and Development Janet Marie Smith for recommending me to Art Director Keith Kellner to commission me to do the Buck O'Neil illustrations.