Oil wrestling, to capture Lasorda in the proper light, for U.S. history’s sake

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(Photo from EverettRaymondKinstler.com, linked here)

The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery has more than 20,000 paintings, sculptures, photograhs, drawings and new media dedicated to telling the history of America. To be included in the gallery’s permanent collection, someone must be of “national significance,” approved by the Gallery’s curators and historians, the director and deputy director, and then voted on by the commission.

Kind of like getting a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, but without the $15,000 under-the-table entrance fee.

After Sept. 22, Tommy Lasorda will be part of that Smithsonian story telling wing. Without Lasorda doing the actual story telling.

The Dodgers’ Hall of Fame former manager will have his commissioned portrait put on display in a Sept. 22 ceremony — the day of his 82nd birthday — the team announced today.

“I am proud and honored by this very special recognition,” said Lasorda in a statement. “I have been honored many times in the past, and am appreciative of them all, but to be included in the National Portrait Gallery is very special, and very humbling.”

The 60-by-50 inch painting of Lasorda by Everett Raymond Kinstler will be on display in the museum’s “New Arrivals” section. Kinstler (official website linked here) has cranked out more than 1,200 portraits, and the gallery’s collection includes his works of people such as Katharine Hepburn, Tony Bennett, Richard Nixon, Norman Rockwell and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Lasorda sat for the portrait at Kinstler’s National Arts Club studio in New York City last June.

Thankfully, it wasn’t a nude sitting, which Kinstler does seem to enjoy from time to time (based on a search of his workstuff).

But, considering Lasorda’s current … status … why wouldn’t Kinstler just do some kind of charcoal sketch of him from his glory days? Maybe when Kinstler returns to his spot on the Santa Monica pier do to those cartoons of different tourists he’ll have some time to carve out.

Known who else is in this gallery? Plenty o’ former Dodgers.

There are photographs of Don Drysdale (1962), Leo Durocher (1947 & ’63), Walter Alston (in a gelatin silver print with Casey Stengel and Dwight Eisenhower, 1956 and with Casey Stengel, 1956), Sandy Koufax (1963), Gil Hodges (with John Reardon, Ed Fitzgerald and Charles Edwards, 1947), Branch Rickey (1945), Jackie Robinson (1947, ’49, & ’83), Wilbert Robinson (1930), and the 1955 Dodgers team photo (1955).

No Vin Scully? Now there’s a national treasure that needs some recognition.

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