Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Who Drew These 1950s Cartoon Baseball Illustrations?

A colleague who works at Pixar writes:

"I recently acquired a collection of 30-some baseball cartoons. A few mention the Yankees so I'm guessing they were done in association with them. (Two of them mention real-old-timers like Amos Rusie and Kid Nichols). There's a title page cartoon that says "Baseball Oddities."

"I've scoured Google till my eyes are bleeding with no info to show for it. None of the pics are signed. I can date them with some certainty to the 1950s-early 1960s. I've been asking around with no luck. Was there ever such a book? Have you ever see them? Maybe they were sold by the Yankees exclusively? I'm exhausting the possibilities. Who did them?

"The only thing I know for sure is that I really like them! I've attached a sampling. Do these ring any bells?"

My take: these are from the 1950s and done for a possible TV broadcast. They may have been drawn in NYC, either by an ad studio or a staff artist with one of the networks.

Some more info. from my colleague:

"They are all the same size -- roughly 15 x 11 --and most unusual. They are pen and ink and brush drawings, meticulously cut out with an x-acto and mounted onto painted backgrounds for a unique, almost 3D, effect. All but 4 or 5 are mounted on illustration board. The only writing is on the backs of two of them (see attachment) I don't know if it's a signature or a printing instruction. There are more than 30 of them. I acquired them from a guy who got them years ago at an estate sale. He had them in a flat file and forgot all about them. He knows nothing about them either.  
"They looked to me at first as though they might be the work of Bob Clarke, who could do a cool, stripped-down Jack Davis impression of sorts, and I've seen drawings of his that come close -- but not quite. And Jack Davis tells me they aren't Bob's work."

Here's some of those marks from the back:

A lot of people are involved in helping figure out what these are, why they were drawn and who drew them, but so far we have no leads. Let me know if you may have an idea.



Oscar Grillo said...

Quite lovely!

Unknown said...

Hi there, Mike! I recognize this is an older post, but I came across this doing some research and I’m just speechless. I am so in love with these illustrations, I could cry! I am a baseball illustrator and cartoonist currently writing and illustrating a book slated for Spring 2019 (about the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League). I realize this is a long shot, but do you happen to know if the owner of these is STILL the owner? If so, are they still at Pixar? I live just a couple of miles from the studio and frequently visit. If they still happen to be there and still have these illustrations, might there be ANY way for me to get in touch with them or simply somehow let them know that I’d just about give my left arm (I gotta draw with my right) to see these in person?? Or if they might be interested in selling? Like I said, I know it’s a long shot at this point, but it’s absolutely worth a try! I’d be happy to provide you my email, or I can be reached on instagram @anikadrawls. Thank you!