A popular feature in SCD is the bio-illustrations (his word, not ours) of Ronnie Joyner featuring artwork of Major League Baseball players, along with facts and tidbits about their careers. It’s a feature I need to work into the pages of SCD more often of late, but I have the perfect alternative to viewing these great pieces of work.
Ronnie e-mailed me the other day with some great news regarding his bio-illustrations. McFarland Publishing has released a new book – Hardball Legends and Journeymen and Short-Timers – that features 333 of Joyner’s bio-illustrations. The familiar illustrations and witty prose are reproduced in these pages, categorized by subject matter. For instance, a few of the chapters are Big Boppers, Natural Born Hitters, Armed and Dangerous, World War II and Speedsters, to name a few.
Joyner gives a hearty nod to early sports artists who influenced his work, noting the likes of Lenny Hollreiser, Alan Maver, Lou Darvas, Willard Mullin and Bill Gallo.
“My love of baseball history made it a natural that I would eventually dedicate my artistic ability to documenting the colorful stories and characters of the game,” Joyner notes in the book. “As for who to draw, I never really cared whether a ballplayer I was illustrating had a 20-year career or a 20-minute career. My personal compulsion was to choose subjects based on interesting storylines, and I found those could come from Hall of Famers (the Legends from the title of this book), the everyday players (the Journeymen) or the cup-of-coffee guys (the Short-timers).”
An exhaustive index makes for easy searching of your favorites. But truly, you can’t helped but be entertained with each player featured. And in this format, it’s easy to jump around or stop and start as you see fit.
If you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can order directly from McFarland for $29.95 (www.mcfarlandpub.com; 800-253-2187).