Artist Ron Lewis whose previous creations has celebrated living members of baseball’s 500 home run club, 3,000 hit club, and its 3,000-strikeout pitchers, among other sports icons, has completed a new lithograph presenting 26 living Jewish baseball players.
(Of course, this little image doesn’t do the piece justice.)
The artwork is available for purchase in five editions via Art O Graphs Limited of Buffalo Grove, IL, where owner Greg Harris conceived the idea and then undertook the task of traveling the country to obtain the autographs of the players presented. Each player depicted in the illustration individually has or will sign all 500 total prints.
The limited-number (500) lithographs are currently being signed and are expected to be ready to ship Nov. 7, just in time for the holiday season.
Each player designated a charity to receive a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the lithograph. The charities include Jewish United Fund, Wounded Warriors, JDRF Tampa Bay Chapter, The Sunshine Kids, Youk’s Kids, Mission Stadium for Multiple Sclerosis, the Strike 3 Foundation, the Anti-Defamation League, Hadassah-Women’s Zionist Organization of America, the United Jewish Communities, B’Nai B’rith, United Israel Appeal, the Israel Association of Baseball, the Miracle League of the Arizona Baseball Organization, the Jim Catfish Hunter ALS Foundation, Make a Wish, Moffit Cancer Foundation, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Cubs Care, White Sox Charities, Phillies Charities, the Ashburn-Kalas Foundation, the YMCA of Philadelphia and Vicinity, the Doug Davis Foundation, Open Arms-South Africa, Medical Memories, and the Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation, Inc.
Among the JMLs featured in the lithograph is Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax, MVP award winners Al Rosen and Ryan Braun, Cy Young winner Steve Stone, All-Stars Shawn Green, Ian Kinsler, Kevin Youkilis, Brad Ausmus, Joe Horlen, Jason Marquis, and Richie Sheinblum, World Series players Art Shamsky, Gabe Kapler, Steve Yeager, Mike Epstein, and Scott Feldman, and Ron Blomberg, the Major League’s first designated hitter. Other current and former JMLS include Norm Sherry, John Grabow, Craig Breslow, Norm Miller, Ross Baumgarten, Ike Davis, Sam Fuld, and “One More Pitch” wonder Adam Greenberg.
The painting also includes a 27th figure, the greatest Jewish hitter of all time, the late Hank Greenberg (unsigned of course).
In addition to the players, shown in uniform standing on the field, “spectators” in the stands include Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig, White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf, Cubs president Theo Epstein, 61* film producer Billy Crystal, broadcast legend Larry King, TV star/producer Rob Reiner, Arizona Diamondbacks president/CEO Derrick Hall, Dodgers broadcaster Charley Steiner, and the past and present Executive Directors of the Major League Baseball Players Association Marvin Miller and Michael Weiner.
“The logistics of putting this project together was daunting,”" Harris said in an interview. “Dealing with all 36 people’s schedules, and traveling the country with the 500 lithos to have each individual sign every piece was a true team effort. We saw a tiny window of opportunity to complete this project, while including greats from the past like 88-year old Al Rosen and 95-year old Marvin Miller, while also being able to include the newly established stars to emerge, like Braun, Kinsler, and Youkilis. Of course, having seldom-seen Sandy Koufax agree to participate and enthusiastically get behind the litho was the icing on the cake; that was well worth the undertaking.”
During the signing sessions, various players expressed their enthusiasm for the project, including Koufax, who noted, “The details of the players, Jewish baseball history and hidden Jewish symbolisms depicted in this print are incredible and well thought out. By including Hank Greenberg and Marvin Miller, this print pays tribute to two well deserving men.” Ryan Braun, noting that his dad was born in Tel Aviv, described himself as a “proud Jewish baseball player,” who was hopefully to be an “inspiration and role model to the young Jewish kids out there.”
More details on the 24” x 36” lithographs:
Series 1: The Rookie of the Year Limited Edition series (limited to 100). Each regular print in the edition sells for $6,500 (numbers 2-100), while Artist print #1 and six exclusive issue prints, called “Gold Issue,” are priced at $8,000 each. The Gold Issue lithographs in this and other series are signed in gold ink with a “Gold Issue” inscription and accompanying certificate of authenticity. Each Gold Issue lithograph is numbered to correspond to a significant Jewish fact, such as #5 (Hank Greenberg’s uniform number), #6 (in memory of the 6 million Jews killed in the Holocaust), #8 (Ryan Braun’s number), #18 (Chai, or Life), #32 (Sandy Koufax’s number), and #48 (for the year 1948 when Israel became a state).
Series II: The Cy Young Award Limited Edition series (limited to 100). Each signature in this series is accompanied by an additional inscription, such as “HOF ‘72” for Sandy Koufax, “1953 MVP” for Al Rosen, or “2011 MVP” for Ryan Braun. Each regular print in the edition sells for $7,500 except for Artist print #1, as well as “Gold Issue” #s5, 6, 8, 18, 32, and 48 at $9,000.
Series III: The Most Valuable Player Award Limited Edition Series (limited to 100). This larger size edition, 26½” x 40, is professionally printed on artist’s canvas. It mirrors Series I in all other ways, with the edition priced at $7,500 and numbers 1, plus the Gold Issue – 5, 6, 8, 18, 32 and 48 — at $9,000.
Series IV: The World Series Champion Limited Edition Series (limited to 100). This edition adds the autographs of nine of the celebrity spectators in the crowd, such as Bud Selig, Marvin Miller, Jerry Reinsdorf, Theo Epstein, Larry King, and others. The edition sells for $8,500, with numbers 1, plus 5, 6, 8, 18, 32 and 48 at $10,000 each.
Series V: The Hall of Fame Limited Edition Series (limited to 100). This edition identifies 100 Great Moments in Jewish Baseball History (individually inscribed on each lithograph), and has a corresponding certificate to detail it, matching the number of the edition, and co-signed by the featured player. The complete list is on the website, www.Jewishbaseballplayer.com, and includes such moments as Al Rosen’s MVP season, Shawn Green’s four home run game, Ryan Braun’s MVP season, and a number of Koufax achievements during his career The edition sells for $8,500 each, with #1 plus the Gold Issue priced at $10,000. (Each Koufax Moment, which includes the corresponding certificate also originally signed by Koufax is an additional $500).
All purchases include a DVD about the making of of the lithographs and actual video from various signings, along with a booklet about the work, the players depicted, the artist, and the history of Jews in baseball. Each litho will be presented in high quality matting and framing in choices of three colors and three styles, with a guarantee of authenticity through a “triple certification” method provided by Major League Baseball, as well as Art O Graphs. The certification process includes photos of the players signing, an MLB hologram sticker with an individual identification number which can be tracked and confirmed via MLB’s website, and a COA sworn under oath and guaranteed.
Lithographs will be presented to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, and the baseball complex to be built in Israel by the Israel Association of Baseball.
Orders may be made by mail to Art O Graphs, Ltd., 471 Thorndale Dr., Buffalo Grove, IL 60089, or by fax to 312 624-9979. Check, credit card, or PayPal is accepted. Details for ordering are avaliable at www.JewishBaseballPlayer.com. A non refundable deposit of $500 is required to reserve a lithograph and to have a reservation date stamped, assuring the lowest number available. Lower numbers, the Gold Series numbers, and the Koufax moments from the Hall of Fame series are expected to be claimed early. For a courtesy two-day hold on a lithograph or for additional questions, please call 847-924-6140.
(Art O Graphs welcomes inquiries from all charities to become a Charity Beneficiary of this historic project. For more information, contact Greg Harris at JewishBaseball18@aol.com to see if you qualify. Qualifying charities can earn 10 percent of all sales made through their efforts, which can be substantial or as minimal as sending an email blast to their mailing list.)