The book: “The League of Outsider Baseball: An Illustrated History of Baseball’s Forgotten Heroes”
The author: Gary Cieradkowski
The illustrator: Gary Cieradkowski
The vital statistics: Touchstone/Simon & Shuster, 233 pages, $25
Find it: At Amazon.com, at BarnesandNoble.com, at Powells.com, at Vromans.com
The pitch: There’s nothing quite like seeing a creation by Gary Cierad-
For those of us who have known his distinctive art work on the Infinite Card set blog since 2010, a detour from his amazing graphic arts company once located in Long Beach, and then maybe saw his magazine called “21: Illustrated Journal of Outsider Baseball,” the arrival of this book is Opening Day all over again.
We have, in fact, saved it as the best for last in this annual series.
Credit MLB historian John Thorn for nailing it as far as what Cierad-
kowski’s art most resembles – he says it reminds him of the “poster kings of yore – Edward Penfield, J.C. Leyendecker, Fred G. Cooper.”
Can you picture that? Google it instead.
The story behind how Cieradkowski even set out to design these cards, shaped like the old vertical tobacco inserts that frame this mental journey even more profoundly, and now having these stories attached to them, can be traced back to the 1970s. Growing up a Mets fan, he got into frequent baseball history discussions with his late father, a Brooklyn Dodgers die-hard devotee. They took a page from historian Scott Simkus and became immersed in those who were on the fringe – Negro Leaguers, town team players, players stuck in the low minors, those overseas who became legends.
And even the guys who couldn’t handle the pressure.
Those who have been part of his blogging resume over the years have finally gotten on the same page. Or, at least within the same covers. Continue reading