Basketball Painting LA Lakers Dribbling Basketball

Basketball Painting LA Lakers Dribbling Basketball
John Robertson Sports Art Basketball Painting LA Lakers
 Dribbling Basketball  is 10 inches by 10 inches ink and acrylic on old
 news clippings of LA Lakers.
I am one of those typical Los Angeles fans who like the Lakers when they are winning and do not pay much attention top them when they are losing.  I try and only root for teams that are winning.  I'm a fair weather friend.  You're not feeling well?  Sorry to hear that.  Please pass the salt. 

As far as the Lakers are concerned, at least they have somewhere to go and that is up.  Maybe.  Here is the "no brainer" comment.  "They have to re-build."  What does that mean?  I don't know what that means.  I don't know much about basketball.  I can't even build my own life properly much less tell someone how to rebuild their lousy basketball team.  But I know there are plenty of people out there quite willing to tell anyone how to do anything.

I know. How about picking in the draft or getting a couple top-level free agents to "elevate" the team.  I think they know that too.  All I know is how to "elevate" on the escalator to the third floor level of the Century Mall to find Fatburgers  for a Kobe Bryant XXL Cheeseburger with fries. I find I need to put on more weight with the remote possibility that I can float better in the "Y" pool.

But what I do know is this:  Please, Lakers, no more wins this season.  Don't do anything that may jeopardize your critical draft position.  We want to win - so you need to lose.


Basketball Image Painting of UCLA Bruins Basketball Player Art

UCLA Bruins Basketball player dribbling the basketball arft
Painting of UCLA Bruins Basketball Player by
 Sports Artist John Robertson is 10 inches by 10 inches,
 acrylic and ink on UCLA newspaper clippings on board
I was hoping to save this painting of the UCLA Bruinsbasketball player and posting it later when they either got further along in the tournament or (miracles of miracles) won the NCAA finals.  But that story is over.  

As a native of Los Angeles and living on the Westside of LA, the UCLA Bruins has always been the college that I followed - even though I had to go to another in the area college (bad GPA) - which shall remain nameless.  In my college years and after, UCLA was dominate in basketball under Coach Wooden.  He is a tough act to follow - but, we fans always have hopes.


Painting of girl high school high jumper

The painting by sports artist John Robertson is 
approximately 4 feet by 7 1/2 feet, acrylic on unstretched canvas.
Seventeen year old Jaimee from a small town a Northern Ontario, Canada high school, high jumps 1.55 meters and holds the record for her school.

I remember being in Junior high and then high school long before there was the high jumping technique the "Fosbury Flop" which I painted here.  In junior high school we started out using the scissors jump because it was safe and easy.  Couldn't get much height using that technique which was basically you run towards the high bar and take-off on one leg kicking it upward near the bar and try and swing it over the bar.  On the other side you land on two feet.  Kind of scissoring in the air.  Then we graduated tpo the western roll (running up to the bar , throwing the outside leg up and rounding over the bar)  The Fosbury Flop came into use in about 1965.  That is what you see here in my high jump painting.  Here is a good article about The Fosbury Flop and its beginnings

All I know is that I was not successful in any technique no matter what I tried.  As I said to my gym coach,  "I think I am allergic to the high jump."  He answered, "You will get over it."


Baseball painting Jim Bouton pitcher MLB Atlanta Braves

Sports Artist John Robertson's painting of Jim Bouton Pitcher
for the Atlanta Braves.  Painting is 5 feet by 8 feet,
Acrylic on unstretched canvas.
Jim Bouton was a pitcher in the major leagues for a number of years playing for the New York Yankees, Seattle Pilots, Houston Astros and ended his career with the Atlanta Braves.  The longer he played in the Major Leagues he was able to extend his playing days developing the knuckleball.  As you see in the painting he is demonstrating how the knuckleball is held in the hand for throwing a pitch.

One of things he is best known for is his memoir of his playing years with the New York Yankees, Seattle Pilots and the Houston Astros.  He had played in the 1962 World Series and was in the 1963 MLB All-Star game.

The book "Ball Four" broke baseball's code of silence where the athletes did not speak about what went on in the background of baseball.   One of Bouton's important line in the book: "You spend your life gripping a baseball," Jim Bouton wrote, "and it turns out that it was the other way around all along."


Boxing art Floyd Mayweather Jr painting

Sports Painting by Artist John Robertson is
 48" x 60" acrylic on unstretched csnvas
Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao fight is finally going to happen.  I have waited a long time for this.  I am a fan of both fighters although I have not painted Pacquiao.  I have done a drawing of him though. My painting of Mayweather I did a couple of years ago and it has been posted on this blog before.  But with the news conference announcing the fight in a couple of months I thought it might be appropriate to post it again.

As we all know these are probably the best two fighters in the world.  I have been able to see a couple of the greatest fights ever (live on TV): Muhammad Ali against Joe Frazier,  the Sugar Ray Leonard- Robert Duran fights , and Suger Ray Leonard against Marvin Hagler.  And now we get to see another great fight.  Boxing had been lacking interest but this will certainly bring some of that interest back.

How does Pacquiao feel about the fight"  He said at the news conference, ""I don't anticipate this being the hardest fight," he said. "That would be Miguel Cotto, [Oscar] De La Hoya and [Antonio] Margarito. I knew De La Hoya was fast, and I was moving up two weight classes [to fight him]. And Cotto I knew was a very hard puncher. And Margarito hit very hard and was much bigger than me. I don't see that in Floyd Mayweather. I don't see any of that."

And Mayweather, this is what he said, ""One thing I do know about any sport -- when you lose, it's in your mind," Mayweather said. "If you lost once, it's in your mind. If you lost twice, it's in your mind. From day one, I was always taught to be a winner no matter what, push yourself to the limit, stay focused and be the best that you can be.

"We've faced all the top guys. I believe in my skills, I believe in myself and I believe I'm going to be victorious."


Painting San Francisco 49ers Linebacker Patrick Willis Art

This is my painting of linebacker Patrick Willis who has retired from the San Francisco 49ers.  Some of you who follow my blog know that I created five large-scale pieces of art for the San Francisco Forty Niners, Levi Stadium. You can see some of the pieces on this blog,

Patrick Willis came into the NFL in 2007 and was defensive player of the year.  A great start.  But not the best way to go out - as he had a toe injury in the 2014 season and surgery that left him with feet that were painful and tender.   A seven time Pro-Bowler he never got his Super Bowl ring - a big disappointment to him.

My first painting of Willis was a small piece that I did for my cardiologist after my heart surgery.  I knew he was a 49ers fan so I asked the head nurse in his office to find out who was his favorite player on the 49ers without tipping him off about me painting someting for him.  She said, all the other cardiologists in the office talked football every Monday morning so she would ask them without letting him find out.  Patrick Willis was his favorite.

My next appointment after the surgery I gave him the painting.  He was shocked and excited.  He immediately took a photograph of the painting and started texting it to all his friends.  He even sent it to his mother.  Obviously he liked it.

  Painting is 4 feet by 8 feet, acrylic on unstretched canvas


Painting Tae Kwon Do fighter in Stance Art

This is my sports painting of Kayla age 9. She is a purple belt in Tae Kwon Do."

Kayla takes her sport and the study of the sport very seriously.  Her mother was telling me that she was raising money so she could go to a Taekwondo tournament and was selling candy bars.  So Kayla, with her mother, went down to the supermarket and stood in front of the store selling candy bars. 

A man walked up to her at her table she had set up and asked to buy three bars.  The total came to nine dollars.   The man gave her a ten dollar bill.  Kayla put the money into a box and closed the lid.

After a minute the man asked for his change. 

Kayla looked at the man, straight-faced, and said, "Change must come from within."

For those of you who don't know Taekwondo combines combat and self-defense techniques with sport and exercise.  It is a Korean martial art and is also known as Taekwon-Do.  As you can see there is a variety of spellings.

Golf painting of boy golfer Bear Huff swinging a golf club art

Sports Artist John Robertson with painting of a boy swinging
 golf club for a long drive.
Sonia posted a photograph of her son Bear Huff , This is what she said  "This is my son playing in the World Jr Masters Golf Tournament in Las Vegas, NV last year at 9 years old boy. Bear has been playing golf since he was 1 1/2 and in tournaments since he was 4."  He began his love of the game from watching his biggest fan and coach...his Daddy!"  This boy swinging the golf club has great form and follow through. As a sports artist it id s really good photograph to work from.  You can picture the golf ball leaving the club and flying down the fairway, knowing it is a nice drive.  You can follow Bear Huff on his facebook page

What I like about the game of golf is some of the interesting words used, like: "Birdies, Bogeys, and Riders" which to the to the uninitiated has little meaning.  A lot of people don't know what a "Rider" is - so here is a little story to explain the term.

Four old men went into the pro shop after playing 18 holes of golf.

The pro asked, "Did you guys have a good game today?"

The first old guy said, "Yes, I had three riders today."

The second old guy said, "I had the most riders ever. I had five."

The third old guy said, "I had seven riders, the same as last time."

The last old man said, "I beat my old record. I had 12 riders today."

After they went into the locker room, another golfer who had heard the old guys talking about their game went to the pro and said, "I've been playing golf for a long time and thought I knew all the terminology of the game, but what's a rider?"

The pro said, "A rider is when you hit the ball far enough to actually get in the golf cart and ride to it."


Baseball Painting of Boy Swinging a Bat Baseball Art

When Claudia posted this shot on my Facebook pagethis is what she said about it. "This is my youngest child this past summer (6 years old) playing in one of his All Star baseball games. Lucas hit an over the fence grand slam home run to help his team make it to the World Series. The boys had an amazing time playing their little hearts out."

As you can see from the photos Lucus really has practiced his swing and follow through.  It looks like he has great ability to hit the ball.  I can just imagine him copying the way his favorite baseball player may approach the plate.  He adjusts his helmet.  Maybe he kicks the dirt out of his cleats and digs a little ditch for his rear foot to get some leverage.  I'd say Lucus knows what he is doing.

What I have been doing is painting from photos of those who post images of their children, friends, and family on my Facebook page.  It has been a challenge to paint the images because they are not always the clearest of shots.  As I always say, "If I can't see it I can't paint it.


Soccer painting Boy Kicking Soccer Ball

A couple of months ago just for the fun of it I started doing paintings of photos that people posted on my Facebook page,  The painting you see of the boy kicking a soccer ball is one of those paintings.  It is very interesting to see all the different photos that people post.  There is no hidden agenda, no trick, no spam - just me painting from images people have posted.   What really surprises me is that so few people have submitted a photograph.  I'm not saying these are the best paintings in the world but they are interesting and challenging for me - which is one of the reasons I have been doing it. - A painting a week.

So, if you have an interesting photo of yourself, a family member or friend in a sports action and would like to see what kind of painting I can do of it check below for info.


Golf Art Golfer Bubba Watson painting

Bubba Watson is currently ranked 3rd in the World Golf Rankings.  The painting is approximately 4 feet by 8 feet, acrylic on unstretched canvas.

My current interest in golf is limited to watching a few holes of golf on TV on a Sunday afternoon.  I shouldn't really say I watch the golf - I use it as a way of relaxing after working hard in the yard.  My wife thinks that I like golf - that I watch it to keep current on a category of sports for my work.  As you probably already know, I'm a sports artist and have been making a living at it for quite a number of years.  It is important to know what is going on with different sports - but golf?  It is hard for me to keep track of the players.  It doesn't help that I usually fall asleep on the couch when I should be paying more attention to the game.

My history with golf is somewhat short.  I managed  a golf driving range when I was in college,  I never played the game,  and my ex- father-in-law was a scratch golf player who played (at the time) the longest golf game in history.  Now, what does that mean, "the longest golf game in history."

 When he was in college and on the USC golf team an opportunity became available for him to do a publicity stunt - of sorts.  I never knew why or for what reason but somehow he got connected with "Riply's Believe it Or Not"  to play the longest golf game.  My understanding is that he went out to the LA Country Club, (a bit prestigious)  and where his dad was a member and played the first hole.  He then was driven to the LA airport (LAX) and flew to Phoenix, Arizona to another country club and played the second hole.  From there on he took flights to different parts of the US working his way across the country playing proceeding holes until he had played eighteen and reached New York.
Ripley's Believe it or Not.  Here is a link to Bubba's facebpook page 


Football Painting of Emmitt Smith Running Back Dallas Cowboys Art

This is a painting of the All Pro Dallas Cowboys Emmitt Smith.  The football art of Emmitt Smith running back for the Dallas Cowboys is by artist John Robertson is 50" x 70" acrylic on unstretched canvas.

 Here is a link to a great bio of Emmitt Smith on his official web site.  This is a short bit about him from the site.  "Smith first rose to prominence via an illustrious football career, which included three Super Bowl championships as a member of the Dallas Cowboys and the honor of being the only player to have won a Super Bowl MVP, NFL MVP and NFL Rushing Crown in the same season. Inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2010, Smith is the NFL’s all-time leading rusher, having amassed 18,355 yards during his 15 seasons.

Emmitt Smith was inducted into the  Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2010.  Here is a link to his Hall of Fame speech.  Very inspiring.

To get an idea of what  gracious guy Emmitt Smith is one only needs to read what he had to say when DeMarco Murray became the all-time leading ball carrier for the Dallas Cowboys.   Smith's single season record was 1,773 yards set in 1995. Murray also wrapped up the rushing title as the league's top running back.  "I couldn't be happier for him," Emmitt Smith said. "He is very deserving of this recognition. This is something that I know DeMarco will share with the whole team, because he knows that they all had a hand in his success." .... "I am proud of him because I know how hard it is to do what he did this year," Smith said. "I am also proud because I've watched him bounce back from some injury setbacks in his first few years. He's a worked through all that, and he deserves to have this record. I want him and the whole team to keep up this level of play and carry it into the playoffs."


Painting Woman Soccer Player Stephanie Sabaliauskas image

Woman soccer player Stephanie Sabaliauskas played for Montclair State University 2001-2004. Four year starter, 41 goals and 13 assists playing Forward.  The painting was commissioned to honor Stephanie at Monclair State.   The painting is 12" x 16" ink and acrylic on canvas.  The background newsprint are articles about Stephanie's career as an outstanding woman's soccer player


Basketball Painting Brooklyn Nets NBA Art

The Brooklyn Nets painting is 36" x 48" acrylic and ink on a gallery wrapped frame. 

A number of years ago when the NBA Brooklyn Nets were playing under the name of the New Jersey Nets I had painted a group of basketball and hockey paintings for the Prudential Sports Arena in New Jersey.  I did three basketball paintings for them.  Someone recently saw the NHL Red Devils  paintings at the arena but I have no idea if the basketball paintings were moved to the new Barclays Stadium in Brooklyn where the Brooklyn Nets now play.  If anyone has seen the paintings I would appreciate any information about them.

I think the painting is of Kris Humphries when he played for the New Jersey Nets.  I am not absolutely sure.  What do you think?  Certainly there is enough photos of Kris to make the comparison - on and off the court. 

Most of the paintings shown on the blog have been sold, including this one.  (They sell fast)  But there are a few available.  If you click on the link for Paintings for Sale you can see what is available.  What I suggest is that you contact me for your specific need and I can easily paint something specific for you.  Just clink on the contact page for information.


Baseball painting LA Dodgers pitcher Sandy Koufax Sports Art

A client had seen an earlier version of this Sandy Koufax
 painting that is on this blog and wanted one for
 his father.  This one is painted with acrylic inks
 on drafting film.  The other Sandy Koufax painting was
painted in oil.   The overall size is 11" x 14" 
Sandy Koufax is considered one of the greatest pitchers ever to play the game.  His nickname was "The Left Arm of God"  He played his entire career with the Brooklyn/LA Dodgers retiring in 1966  because of arthritis in his left elbow at age 30. 

One of the things Sandy Koufax is remembered for was his decision not to pitch Game 1 of the 1965 World Series because it fell on Yom Kippur.  It was a conflict between professional pressures and personal beliefs. 

Koufax was inducted into the MLB Hall of Fame in 1972 - the youngest ever inducted at the time at 36 years old.

Here is one of the great stories about Koufax that I found on Wired "Cruel Curveball Science; Nasty Koufax" BY DAVID DOBBS

"Koufax had to face the terrifying Mickey Mantle. The book on Mantle, Leavy explains, was never ever ever EVER throw him the curve. For he was so strong in his upper body and arms that even if you fooled him badly and got him to commit his hips too early, he could still crush the ball as long as his hands were still back. So don’t throw him the hook. Just don’t. And if you can throw 100 mph, like Koufax could, why throw the curve?

Because you’re Koufax.

So in the first game in which they meet — Game 1 of the 1963 World Series, Dodgers v Yankees — Koufax faces Mantle three times. On the first at-bat he strikes out Mantle throwing nothing but fastballs.

Mantle’s second time up, Koufax gets two strikes on him. Everyone in the park is thinking heat. But Koufax shakes off the fastball sign once, twice. Catcher catches on, puts down two fingers to call for the curve. And Koufax’ss curve was a horrid thing to a batter, possibly the best curveball ever, a nose-to-toes diver that just killed batters, flummoxed them utterly, destroyed their minds.  Yet still, he’d been told NOT to throw this thing to Mantle. So he decdies he’s going to. And he does.

Ball comes in eye-high, just buzzing … and just before reaching the plate it dives, crossing the plate at Mantle’s knees. Mantle flinches, just the tiniest bit,  but never moves the bat. Ump calls strike three. Mantle stands there an extra beat, then turns to the catcher and says, “How the fuck is anybody supposed to hit that shit?” And walks back to the dugout."

Most of the paintings shown on the blog have been sold.  (They sell fast)  But there are a few available.  If you click on the link for Paintings for Sale you can see what is available.  What I suggest is that you contact me for your specific need and I can easily paint something specific for you.  Just clink on the contact page for information.


Basketball Player making Jump Shot basketball painting

As you can see in this painting the player has a nice hand and arm extension above his head. It is suppose to be an easy shot to make from a distance but I could not do it very well from any distance. I was easy to block – being short  And getting close for a dunk shot was also a problem.. Being short the only thing I can dunk is cookies into milk. "The Jump Shot" basketball sports art painting by artist John Robertson is 48" x 60" acrylic on unstretched canvas

Most of the paintings shown on the blog have been sold.  (They sell fast)  But there are a few available.  If you click on the link for Paintings for Sale you can see what is available.  What I suggest is that you contact me for your specific need and I can easily paint something specific for you.  Just clink on the contact page for information.


Football Painting Players Running Back and Tackle Art

The football art painting is 6 feet by 8 feet, acrylic on unstretched canvas.

 Why didn't I play football in high school?  Pain.  Suffering. Didn't make sense to me.  Didn't have the time either because I wanted to go surfing after school.  If I was going to hit anything it was never going to be the school books or another guy on a football field.  All I wanted to do was to hit the beach.  Actually I would climb over the chain-link gym fence at lunchtime and ditch school early to go surfing.  I had a Fifty-Five Ford business coup (great link to photo of a 55 Ford Business Coup similar to what I had) that had no back seat so the surfboard could slide in the trunk and go through where the back seat should have been.  In those early days of surfing there was no surf rack.  The boards either rode inside the car or rested on a towel and tied to the roof with straps wound through the windows.   We did take a football to the beach with us to pass around as we rested between times in the water.  After getting tossed into the ocean and soaked in saltwater a number of times the ball dried out and become hard as a rock.  After a period of time the leather got salt stains on it's surface - and the dogs used it as a salt lick.

Most of the paintings shown on the blog have been sold.  (They sell fast)  But there are a few available.  If you click on the link for Paintings for Sale you can see what is available.  What I suggest is that you contact me for your specific need and I can easily paint something specific for you.  Just clink on the contact page for information.


Football art USC Trojans UCLA Bruins running back image art

Big win for Jim Mora this last Saturday as head coach of the  UCLA Bruins is 3 and 0 verses the USC Trojans.  UCLA wins big 38 to 20. Credit to both teams who, wanting to get at each other, fought hard with a high scoring game.  These teams are a classic cross town rivalry.   It was a fun game to watch, particularly if you are a UCLA fan.  Which I am.

UCLA Bruins carrying the football.  The football art is painted on a 10" x 10" archival board covered with newsprint about the Bruins football team from 1990.  Painted with ink and acrylic.

Sports image of football running back from USC Trojans carrying the football.  The football art is painted on a 10" x 10" archival board covered with newsprint about the Trojans football team from 1990.  Painted with ink and acrylic. 

These paintings are already sold but if you would like something similar please email me through the contact page.  


Drawing Art Tango Dancers Charcoal on Wood drawing

I think these Tango dancers qualify as sports images as they show action and movement.Tango Dancing seems like a sport to me. t. I prefer this kind of contact sport.   They are charcoal on wood panel 18" x 24" and was drawn for a solo exhibition of Tango drawing at Gallery 381 in San Pedro CA.  There were approximately 20 tango dancers charcoal drawings in the show.

When I was in high school I certainly had the ability to play a sport for the school. There were two reasons why I did not play an organized sport.  One of the main reasons I did not play sports was that I did not like the body contact with other guys.  Although a very good athlete I was not into that whole male bonding, jock, locker room kind of thing that  athletes had going.  I certainly had more interest in body contact with girls and preferred to be up in the stands next to my girlfriend.  I had no interest in being down on the football field piling onto the top of other guys or on a basketball court banging into other guys.  If I was going to be in the gym I preferred dancing with a girl in my arms. If I was going to be on top of someone it certainly was not going to be a group of guys. My interest was more towards being on top of my girlfriend, That just seemed to make more sense to me. 

And the second reason I didn't play high school sports was that my grades didn't allow for it.  One had to have a C average.  I din't even have a D average.  To give you an idea of how bad a student I was - our high school class had eight-hundred-and-thirty-seven students in it.  I was ranked eight-hundred-and-thirty-five. There were eight-hundred-and-thirty-four students that had better grades than me.   There were only two students that had worse grades than me - and those two were by friends.   Good friends.  I didn't make the cut.  I didn't graduate. 

I do not have many paintings in my studio available for sale,  If you are interested in a painting of a specific subject matter please do not hesitate to contact me for consultation.  I do many commissions for individual clients.  Please contact me through the aboutme/contact page for any questions or thoughts that you may have,

Hockey Painting of LA Kings Defenseman Drew Doughty #8 art

Hockey Painting of LA Kings Defenseman DrewDoughty is 11” x 14” ink on drafting film, I had a great opportunity last season to go to the first game of the Stanley Cup  in Los Angeles.  As my son-in-law says  "Drew Doughty is a superstar defenseman."    He is an integral part of the well-oiled machine that is the LA Kings.  One of the nicest things a teammate can say about another is what teammate Justin Williams says,  "Doughty gets better as the season progresses.  The great thing about him is he doesn't know how great he really is."

Drew tells an interesting story about how he started playing as a defenseman.  "Back when I was a kid in London I was a forward all the way until major bantam hockey.  Then one day we were short some defenseman at camp so they asked if I would play back on defense for a couple games.  I had been on the team for a while and I had kind of established myself so I tried it out and it and I played well.  So my coach asked if I minded switching to defense and I was happy to and it worked out."

When anyone asks about his ability to play his supporters tell you all Doughty needs to do is go out and play his game. “Drew is a very simple kid – what you see is what you get,” veteran Sean O’Donnell says. “He doesn’t over think things. Whether he makes a good play or a bad play, he moves on. He’s got a short memory.”

Once again, it all goes back to his mindset. “On the ice I’m not worried about making a mistake,” Doughty says. “I’m never thinking, ‘If I make this play, what can go wrong?’ I’m thinking, ‘When I make this play, it’s going to happen the proper way and I’m going to make it.’ That helps me. I don’t get down on myself. Of course I’m angry for a little bit, but I get over it pretty quickly. I go back out there and I’ll make that same play again.”


Baseball paintings Willie Mays New York and San Francisco Giants image

Painting of Willie Mays is 5 feet by 8 feet, acrylic on unstretched canvas.  To see what is available for sale please click on link in the navigation bar at the top of the page.

This is about the sixth time I have painted a large scale painting of the great center fielder, Willie Mays, nicknamed The Say Hey Kid"  who played for the old New York Giants and the San Francisco Giants.  He finished his baseball career with the NY Mets.  The first I painted Willie was for Fox Sports, a number of years ago.  Willie Mays was interviewed by Derek Jeter and  Ken Griffey Jr. during the 2007 Major League Baseball All Star Game for Fox Sports.  If you watch the Willie Mays video on YouTube  or see it below,  you will see three large-scale paintings behind the three great baseball players  in the interview.  The two portraits in the interview are 5 feet by 6 feet and the famous Willie Mays "Catch"  was approximately 3 1/2 feet by 8 feet.   Like the paintings you see above, they were all painted with acrylic and on unstretched canvas.

The famous catch Willie Mays made refers to a great catch he made during game 1 of the 1954 World Series between the New York Giants and the Cleveland Indians at the Polo Grounds in New York.  It was September 29, 1954.  score was tied 2–2 in the top of the 8th inning. Vic Wertz was at bat.  The count to two balls and one strike,  Wertz hits a ball approximately 420 feet to deep center field. Willie Mays, who was playing in shallow center field, made an on-the-run, over-the-shoulder catch on the warning track to make the out. Having caught the ball, he immediately spun and threw the ball to hold a runner, who was at second, from scoring.  If Willie had not made "The Catch"  the two base runners would have been able to score and the game would have been at 4 to 2 in favor of the Indians.  The play saved the game and the New York Giants went on to win the game and eventually the World Series in four straight games.   

Willie said of the catch, "People talk about that catch and, I've said this many times, that I've made better catches than that many times in regular season. But of course in my time, you didn't have a lot of television during the regular season. A lot of people didn't see me do a lot of things."

Some of the more interesting facts about Willie is Mays is that he won two MVP awards and shares the record of most All-Star Games played (24) with Hank Aaron & Stan Musial.   Ted Williams said, "They invented the All-Star Game for Willie Mays." Mays ended his career with 660 home runs, third at the time of his retirement, and currently fourth all-time. He was a center fielder and won a record-tying 12 Gold Gloves starting the year the award was introduced six seasons into his career.  In 1979 Willie Mays was inducted into MLB Hall of Fame on the first vote


Painting of car 1938 Buick Century

Interested in a portrait of your car?  Please contact artist John Robertson. 
Painting of Tom Brizuela's 1938 Buick Century from the Ventura, Ca. "Classics on the Coast" car show on Main street.  The painting is 6 feet by 10 feet, ink and acrylic on unstretched canvas.

Tom Brizuela's.  I met Tommy at a recent street car show on Main Street in Ventura, Ca. (Classics on the Coast).  There were over 300 cars on display and I took the opportunity to photograph this beautiful Buick Century. Tom has worked for BMW for a number of years, and, as you can see his main hobby is auto body restoration on pre-1960 vehicles and he does  custom painting. 

Some of the interesting facts about a 1938 Buick Century is that the base price started at $1,297. They made a little over 12,000 of these cars.   It had an Overhead-valve straight-eight, cast-iron block and cylinder head with a displacement of: 320.2 cubic inches.  Horsepower @ rpm: 141 @ 3,600 and Torque @ rpm: 269 @ 2,00.0.  The transmission was a Three-speed manual, floor lever.  Steering - Saginaw worm and roller. I just put this information in about the steering because I liked the sound of the words " Saginaw worm and roller."

When I was growing up in the 50's my step dad had a gas station and garage.  It had one bay and he did every imaginable kind of work on a car.  He did ton's of engine exchanges outside with block and tackle suspended from an "A" frame wooded structure,  besides rebuilds from the ground up.  Anything a customer wanted he could do.  I grew up around a lot of different cars, first working as a gas station attendant, pumping gas, washing all the windows around on the car, checking the oil, water, etc.  Later, as I got older I helped out in the shop with the engine work, starting with cleaning parts and working my way up to assembly.  I learned a lot about mechanical cars.

My first car was a 1940 Studebaker half ton pickup.  I was 15 years old and would get  about to get my driver's learners permit in a half of a year..  My step dad brought the truck home from work (as I recall I paid $100 for it with the money taken out of my earnings at the station) and parked it in the driveway.  I had already driven a few cars around so I had some confidence driving.  I remember getting into the driver's side of the cab, with my dad next to me.  He was going to let me back it out of the driveway.  I promptly engaged the clutch, put the three speed floor shifter into reverse to back out of the driveway.  I popped the clutch and promptly drove the truck forward through the garage door.  I had put it into first instead of reverse.  Thus began my experience of driving my own car. 


Ventura County Fair Junior Livestock painting

This painting may not relate to sports but, in some ways, it does. This painting of a boy with his lamb is from a series of paintings of the Ventura County Fair Junior Livestock Show and the farm animals in the livestock area. The 4H club , FFA and Grange youth livestock projects are just as competitive as any sporting event. Youth agriculture groups compete with annual auction from all over the county.  I have a niece who has been participating in the program for three years.  She has raised pygmy goats, lambs, swine and a variety of small barnyard animals. One of my large-scale paintings will be shown at the Santa Paula Art Museum Saturday November 8.  The show is "Art About Agriculture" celebrating local agriculture heritage and contemporary agriculture.  The exhibition explores all of the facets of agriculture from workers to water, machinery to soil, to the food that goes on our plates.  Opening reception is Saturday, November 9 from 4 to 6 pm. Admission is  $15.00 to the general public.  Address of the Santa Paula Museum is 117 North 10th StSanta Paula, Ca.  My painting being shown is "Boy With Lamb,"  7 1/2 feet by 4 feet, acrylic on unstretched canvas I  am in the process of doing a series of large-scale paintings! Chickens, rabbits, sheep and goats, swine, cattle are just a few of the animals that are displayed by the youth. These animals have been raised by county residents, and are showcased for all to see. Then there is a Junior Livestock Auction - an authentic livestock auction.  I have finished six large-scale paintings of the young adults who raise a variety of animals for their annual auction.


Baseball painting of Pittsburgh Pirates Shortstop Honus Wagner's Hands photo

Painting of MLB Baseball player Honus Wagner's hands who was a Shortstop Pittsburgh Pirates.  Art is approximately 54” by 68” acrylic on unstretched canvas.
The Pittsburgh Pirates' Honus Wagner, a dead-ball era baseball player who is widely considered to be one of the best players of all time.  Most people know him as having the most valuable baseball card.  The reason it is so valuable is because it was recalled in 1909 and all were destroyed except for a few that got into circulation.

Here is an interesting story about the baseball card from Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia.  The most famous T206 Honus Wagner is the "Gretzky T206 Honus Wagner" card. The card's odd texture and shape led to speculation that it was altered. The Gretzky T206 Wagner was first sold by Alan Ray to a baseball memorabilia collector named Bill Mastro, who sold the card two years later to Jim Copeland for nearly four times the price he had originally paid. Copeland's sizable transaction revitalized interest in the sports memorabilia collection market. In 1991, Copeland sold the card to ice hockey figures Wayne Gretzky and Bruce McNall for $451,000. Gretzky resold the card four years later to Wal-Mart and Treat Entertainment for $500,000, for use as the top prize in a promotional contest.

The next year, a Florida postal worker won the card and auctioned it at Christie's for $640,000 to collector Michael Gidwitz. In 2000, the card was sold via Robert Edward Auctions to card collector Brian Seigel for $1.27 million. In February 2007, Seigel sold the card privately to an anonymous collector for $2.35 million. Less than six months later, the card was sold to another anonymous collector for $2.8 million. In April 2011, that anonymous purchaser was revealed to be Ken Kendrick, owner of the Arizona Diamondbacks.[3] These transactions have made the Wagner card the most valuable baseball card in history.

In October 2013, Bill Mastro pleaded guilty to mail fraud in U.S District Court — and admitted in the process that he had trimmed the Wagner card to sharply increase its value.

close-up photo of Horus Wagner's hand on the bat
Honus Wagner was an eight time National League batting champion, with a lifetime batting average of .328. He also led the league five times in stolen bases, five times in RBIs, eight times in doubles and three times in triples. He played nearly 2,800 games during his career, with 3,430 hits, 651 doubles, 252 triples and 722 stolen bases. Along with Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Christy Mathewson and Walter Johnson. If you want all his stats here is the link to MLB site on Honus Wagner

 Honus Wagner’s Hall of Fame Induction Speech June 12, 1939.  Cooperstown, NY.    “Ladies and gentlemen, I was born 1874, and this organization was started was 1876. When I was just a kid I said, “ I hope some day I’ll be up there playing in this league.” And by chance I did. Now Connie Mack the gentleman that preceeded me here at the mike, I remember walking fourteen miles just to see him play ball for Pittsburgh. (crowd laughs) Walking and running, or hitchhiking a ride on a buggy, them days we had no automobile. I certainly am pleased to be here in Cooperstown today, and this is just a wonderful little city, or town, or village or whaever we’d call it. It puts me in mind of Sleepy Hollow. (crowd laughs) However I want to thank you for being able to come here today.”  Honus Wagner was one of the first five inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1936.


Hockey Painting of LA Kings Goalie Jonathan Quick #32 art

Hockey Painting of Jonathan Quick #32, Goalie for the LA Kings blocking a shot art is 11” x 14” ink on drafting film

Because of the quality of play Jonathan Quick, who is considered one of the best hockey goalies in the NHL, it surprised me to find out that he was picked 72nd overall in the 2005 draft.  72nd?   With the LA Kings he had won two Stanly Cups, 2012 and 2014, and awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Most Valuable player of the 2012 Stanly Cup playoffs.

In an article by Lisa Dillman, Dustin Brown was talking about the line between confidence and arrogance, and described how Jonathan Quick sets the tone for the veteran-heavy Kings by trending toward the first quality.
"It's more of the same with Quickie," Brown said. "It's just the type of confidence he exudes, really. It's a trickle-down effect. When you have a goalie who is not arrogant but very confident, it goes a long way in the demeanor of the whole team.
"Quickie's quiet. He'll make a glove save and he won't do the big 'I-saved the puck' [flourish]. I guess that's the only way I can explain it. He'll make a save that he has no business making and he'll act like it's a routine save."
Including what was considered by many to be the save of the season, on Blake Wheeler of the Winnipeg Jets at Staples Center on March 29. Quick was down, on his belly, and raised his leg to make an incredible kick save.
"The Scorpion Kick or whatever they call it," Brown said. "It's like that. Saves like that he shouldn't make. He doesn't make a big deal about it. But if you're looking from the other team, you're like: 'Did he really just make that?

 My son-in-law, who first got me interested in hockey and especially the LA Kings, plays in a hockey league.  His team is named the "Ice Holes" and he is the most penalized player on the team.  I will write about that some other time.  The interesting part is their goalie - who is a woman.  I did not realize this until after watching a number of his games.  With her pads, gloves, chest/arm protectors, pants, etc., she stands well over six feet with her skates on.   One would never know she was hidden under all that gear.  I have seen her do an incredible butterfly save and pop back up in a second. In front of the goal she can move side to side like the fabled cat.  To grab a puck on the ice I have seen her crawl on her belly like a reptile.  As the saying goes, she "controls the space."   A puck coming in at 8o+ miles per hour as a good hard (amateur) slap shot to the body is not always  painless.  Getting knocked down is close combat can lead to other pain.  Yet she takes the pain better than a man.  No whining.  She has been through childbirth.  Try that for pain Mr. Hockey Player.   So when it is time for teams in my son-in-law's league to choose players they - "pick the girl"


Football Paintings Patrick Willis #52, Linebacker San Francisco 49ers Art

Patrick L. Willis (born January 25, 1985) is a linebacker for the San Francisco 49ers painting is 11" x 14" oil on drafting film.

I did this painting recently for my cardiologist as a gift for his good care. His favorite team is the 49ers and his favorite player is Willis. When I was having stitches removed by him after my procedure the pain brought tears to my eyes. I asked him if he had a stick to bite down on and he, in his best bedside manner, said, "I'm not taking your leg off". That really gave me comfort but I still continued to whine and cry. The hospital nurse, who held me down as I squirmed with the pain, was very sympathetic to my agony. Pinning my shoulders onto the bed, and In a very soft and loving voice she whispered in my ear, "try child birth"

Patrick Willis is a pretty spectacular football player. In 2007 Willis  was drafted by the 49ers in the first round. He played college football for ("Ole Miss") the University of Mississippi and received All-American honors.  As a senior at Ole Miss, he received the Butkus Award and the Jack Lambert Award as the nation’s top linebacker. A year later as a member of the 49ers, Willis led the NFL in tackles, earned first-team All-Pro and Pro Bowl honors while being named the 2007 AP NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. Willis has earned Pro Bowl and All-Pro honors in all six years he has played in the NFL. He is the only player to receive the Butkus Award for best linebacker in more than one category. He won the college Butkus Award in 2006 while at Ole Miss and in 2009, he won the professional Butkus Award while with the San Francisco 49ers.  (Info from Wikipedia)

As some of you know I was contracted to paint five paintings for the San Francisco 49ers Levi's Stadium art collection.  I had hoped to have the opportunity to paint Patrick Willis for the stadium but they had me do some other paintings.  This painting for my Dr. was a great opportunity to paint one of my favorite players playing in the NFL now.  The photo at the left is of me in the owner's suite at Levi's Stadium with my painting on the wall.


Golf Painting Phil Mickelson PGA Champion art

Golf painting of Phil Mickelson is 4 feet by 8 feet, acrylic and ink on unstretched canvas.

As I had never painted a golfer before and have shown little interest in golf, some of my friends asked why I painted the great PGA champion golfer, Phil Mickelson.  They know I am a sports fan but didn't think I had any connection with golf.

In my early twenties - twenty, to be exact, I was just out of the service and I needed a job.  To paraphrase William Makepeace Thayer, I wanted to become wealthy, influential, virtuous and a honored man.    The mother of the girl I was seeing was dating a man who owned a golf driving range.  It was on Wilshire Blvd. in Westwood, Ca and only a few blocks from UCLA.  Originally I was hired to drive the picker - an old, opened army jeep with a wire mesh cage around the driver's area.  Behind it dragged the picker, which scoured the earth for golf balls and rolled them up into a bin.  I was on my way to great success.

When driving the picker the people practicing on the driving range found great sport in trying to hit the moving target - me in the jeep.  When the golf balls hit their target they bounced off the cage with a loud bang the scared the crap out of me.  The golf balls could never penetrate the cage but sometimes they embedded themselves in the wire mesh. I never got used to the balls ricocheting off the wire and jeep.

After picking up the balls they were then brought into the golf shack and dumped into a big, upright, wringer washing machine and cleaned.  Then they were pulled out onto huge drying trays.  And now I was able to make my own, very important decisions - sort the golf balls by quality.  Uncut golf balls went into the premium basket, slightly cut went into a good basket and the badly cut golf balls went into a third, really crappy basket of golf balls.  Each was then put out front for the golfers to choose the price and  quality of golf balls they wanted to hit.

I drove the picker and sorted balls for about three months, and then the manager quit.  The owner promoted me (with a raise in salary)  and I became "The Manager."  Greater success was coming faster than I had anticipated.   I think I made about $1.45 an hour.  Yes, it was a long time ago.  Minimum wage was $1.25 an hour.  My responsibility, as manager, was to stand behind the counter and hand out golf balls.  "Premium or cut?" I would ask.  It was better than working at Uncle John's Pancake House but not as fun as working at the Wilshire Gas Station (where premium gas sold for 29.9 cents.  Yes. 30 cents a gallon. 

The fun part of the job was watching a golf hustler, who hung out at the driving range, hustling customers with his trick shots.  He was about 5 feet 4 inches tall, and had to be over two hundred pounds.  He wore crazy colored golf shorts and was as hairy as a fat, brown bear.  I found a mentor.

I saw him outdrive people with a shovel and a rake.  I saw him make a bet with a guy that he could stand on one picnic bench, tee up a golf ball on another picnic bench (he put the tee between the crack between the two strip of wood on the bench) and with his favorite garden rake, drive the ball off the bench over 175 yards and hit the target out on the range.  I saw him stand on one side of the golf shack and with a garden hoe, pitch the ball blindly over the shack and come within ten feet of the 75 yard target. I saw him pocket a lot of money.  The owner said when he came around, chase him off.  But the owner was seldom there and I was mentored and entertained.  Also, as the saying goes, "don't poke the bear."

The golf range land was leased from the Federal Government and after about a year of working there the government cancelled the range owner's lease,  (something to do with not paying his rent) took back the land and eventually built a whole Federal Government Complex in Westwood - the Wilshire Federal Building.  And there went my interest and success in a golfing career.  


Basketball paintings Point Guards NBA Sports art


“Point Guard”  24” x 36” ink and acrylic on newsprint (Old Sporting News, magazines, books, etc) about the NBA and point guards.  Newsprint attached to ¾” stretched canvas.  To view paintings for sale please visit: John Robertson sports Paintings for sale.

The quarterback on a basketball court is the point guard - and the most important.  He is the one who leads the team by trying to make the good decisions for the plays.  He generally handles the ball more than any other player on the court and passes the ball off to other players to lead them towards a goal.  All of this leads me to the good reason of why it is important for people to play sports.  I did as a child and as an adult participated in sports into my sixties and still exercise regularly.

One of the things sports taught me was developing teamwork.  This is a way to learn how to help others, and thereby themselves, to work together towards a specific goal, (winning).  We see this problem of teamwork all the time in the major professional sports.  I think the best example of that is in the NBA where there are "star" players and "winning" teams.  I will not point out the specific teams that have (as we used to call them as a kid)  "ball hoggers" as I am sure you know who they are.   But I will point out an example of a great NBA team, the LA Lakers when they were led by, what most consider the best point guard ever, Magic Johnson.  Some people have referred to Magic Johnson as the indisputable "Point God."   He was an absolutely great, all around player who probably sacrificed individual statistics for the greater good of the team - and in doing so, brought other teammates up to play at a higher level.  And, of course, won more games. 

Magic Johnson played in 12 All-Star games, won five NBA rings, three years the MVP awards and won most valuable player in three Finals.  His career Stats 19.5 points per game, 11.2 assists per game, 5.5 re-bounds per game and 1.9 steels per game.  Those 11.2 assists per game shows how much Magic was a team player.  At 6 feet 9 inches he dominated the point guard position.

To have a great team is to have a leader who will work to have all contribute to it's success.  And without that great leadership in the "point guard" position few teams have had a high level of successful seasons. 


Sports painting of baseball great Joe DiMaggio of the New York Yankees Portrait

My baseball portrait of Joe DiMaggio  is 50" x 70" acrylic on unstretched canvas.

As a boy and like so many others I thought Joe DiMaggio was the baseball player to follow and worship.  We did not have a major league team in Los Angeles at the time so the Yankees were the team we followed.  (What? No TV?  Nope.  Not then. This was 1948-1951) Joe was nicknamed "Joltin' Joe" and "The Yankee Clipper" and was what we all wanted to grow up to be - American Major League Baseball center fielder for the Yankees.  Dreams.  Boyhood dreams.

Even adults thought that Joe DiMaggio was something special.  Kevin Costner, who made that great baseball movie, “Field of Dreams” said about Joe DiMaggio, “There are certain people’s names that are reminders of what men can be like. To this day, when I hear the name Joe DiMaggio, it is so much more than a man’s name. It reminds me to play whatever game I’m in with more grace and pride and dignity…He is a man who speaks to us about how to walk through life and how to receive the admiration only the famous can know…and about how to wear defeat and disappointment as if it were just a passing storm. Men like Joe DiMaggio are not just of their own time. They are men for the ages.”

I remember in 1952 collecting Topps Baseball Cards – buying packs and packs of gum to get that Topps, Joe DiMaggio 1952 card. So I gathered about one-hundred-and-seventy-five cards before discovering that he retired before the production of the 1952 cards were printed. (I still have the 1952 Topps cards I collected as a boy.  And no they are not in good condition.  Who knew then.  I glued the cards into a paper scrapbook so on the back of the cards there are these great hunks of Elmer’s Rubber Cement and bits of paper attached to the cards.)

I continued to follow the Yankees until the Brooklyn Dodgers moved to Los Angeles for the 1958 season and my allegiance changed.  But, to me, baseball was never the same with DiMaggio gone from the game.  I really didn’t have much thought about DiMaggio being gone or what it might have meant to me until 1967.  The was the year one of my favorite movies came out, “The Graduate”  a coming of age movie about a college graduate entwined in the process of adulthood, the loss of innocence, manhood, etc.  And in the movie soundtrack is one of the great Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel songs, “Mrs Robinson.”  The classic lines in the lyrics:

”Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio?
A nation turns its lonely eyes to you, wo wo wo
What’s that you say, Mrs. Robinson
‘Joltin Joe’ has left and gone away, hey hey hey
Hey hey hey”

At that time I kicked and fought not to be an adult.  I had dropped out of high school - did my stint in the Navy,  tried college a number of times  and struggled to find direction.  Somehow the movie helped.  I was not alone but “Joltin Joe’ (had) left and gone away.”

Joe" DiMaggio November 25, 1914 – March 8, 1999) played his entire 13-year career for the New York Yankees. He is perhaps best known for his 56-game hitting streak (May 15 – July 16, 1941), a record that still stands.  DiMaggio was a three-time MVP winner and an All-Star in each of his 13 seasons. During his tenure with the Yankees, the club won ten American League pennants and nine World Series championships.  At the time of his retirement, he ranked fifth in career home runs (361) and sixth in career slugging percentage (.579). He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1955, and was voted the sport's greatest living player in a poll taken during the baseball centennial year of 1969.  ---- From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This is what a couple of other great baseball players said of Joe DiMaggio:

(Joe) DiMaggio was the greatest all-around player I ever saw. His career cannot be summed up in numbers and awards. It might sound corny, but he had a profound and lasting impact on the country." - Ted Williams

"Heroes are people who are all good with no bad in them. That's the way I always saw Joe DiMaggio. He was beyond question one of the greatest players of the century." - Mickey Mantle


Baseball Painting Josh Beckett Pitcher LA Dodgers Sports Art

Los Angeles Dodger pitcher Josh Beckett baseball painting is 5 feet by 6 feet, acrylic and ink on unstretched canvas.

There is always that observation that baseball-is-a-metaphor-for-life.  A young baseball player goes out and plays through his youth and when he gets old enough he tries to make a living at it.  He makes a team.  He has good days and bad days.  He goes home and his wife and children are happy to see him.    When he plays he is part of a team of workers but he has his individual job to do, pitch, strike, hit, catch, etc.  - all of which he does on his own.  There is nobody to help him on those things.  Either he has learned his skills or not.  Yes, his co-workers help him out on some of his skills, but the bottom line is - he is on his own.  Josh Beckett says to others, "... I just tell them, 'You have to deal with some of this and some of that, but you're going to get this and get that.''

Here it is, time for the LA Dodgers post-season play-off, a run toward the World Series and there is no Josh Beckett, who, at 23 received the award as the 2003 World Series MVP while with the Marlins, and with the Red Sox for the win in the 2007 World Series.    -   At 34 this season he pitched a no hitter against the Philadelphia Phillies on May 25.

Living in Los Angeles most of my life it would be nice to see the Dodgers, who have not won a World Series since Hall of Fame manager Tommy Lasorda did so in 1988, get a good jump at the series. "I think we're going to get to the Fall Classic," Lasorda said, "and then the Big Dodger in the sky can take me away!"  But Beckett won't be there to help them out with that challenge. 

Beckett was one time speaking about his time with the Red Sox and, his winning the World Series. "There are only about 45 guys who have won a World Series (as a  Red Sox) in about 100 years," he said. "I know they want to win a World Series every year, but it doesn't happen. It doesn't happen anywhere. I don't care how much money you spend. I think if you look back I feel very honored I got to win a World Series ... because who knows how long it will be again? Shoot, it might be next year, it might be another 100 years. I don't know."  For Beckett there may never be another time. 

With Beckett it would be such an easier task but the variety of injuries and the time spent in rehabilitation did not make for a nice ending to the season for Beckett.  And it looks like he will be in for surgery again next year with a long time-out.  He has said that this may be his last year playing.  Josh does become a free agent but retirement may be the way he goes. 

Becket said,  "As far as the future goes, for next year, I think I'm going to have to think about that and talk to my wife a little bit more......  I think the decision would have been more difficult if health had not been an issue.  The last three years have been just been one thing after another for me. When we do get to the off season, the decision will be tough, but it still makes it a little easier."     In a different context but similar circumstances Josh said this about change, "As much as I'm looking forward to the next chapter, I enjoyed the last one. Even during the tough times I met so many people who were just awesome. They were real fans."

I always liked what Beckett had to say about his pitching and which could apply to almost anything anyone does.  He said, “I think I've always been prepared for this. I know what I have to do. You can't make rocket science out of it. You just have to execute pitches. Don't let exterior distractions in. It just takes away from what you're trying to do.”

Josh Beckett's season and his career may be over.  "Everybody has to make up their own mind." Beckett says, " It's a special place to play. As much as I'm looking forward to the next chapter, I enjoyed the last one. Even during the tough times I met so many people who were just awesome."


Football paintings Jim Thorpe Football Baseball and Olympic athlete art

I have no idea when Jim Thorpe showed up in my conscientiousness.  But he seemed to always be there.  I am sure it had to do with my step-father who loved football. In my youth we used to go to the old LA Rams games at the LA Coliseum in 1952 -53 to see quarterback Bob Waterfield, and Elroy “Crazy Legs” Hirsh, and my favorite of all nicknames for a football player, Dick “Night Train” Lane.  

 I am sure my step-dad told me the stories that most people heard about Jim Thorpe  - winning the gold medal in the pentathlon in 1912 Olympics, crowned by the King of Sweden as “the greatest athlete in the world.  In which Thorpe said, “thanks King.”   This is what Thorpe said about track and field;   "...Track and field, because it was something I could do by myself, one-on-one, me against everybody else." And then my step-dad would go one about Thorpe’s college football career at Carlisle and becoming an All American in 1912 and 1913.  He played professional football for seven different teams and signed with the New York Giants baseball team in 1913.  He had different feelings about playing college football and professional football.   Thorpe said, "[T]he college game...brings out that something which is lacking in the pro game--I guess you could call it spirit. The college player...will willingly sacrifice his leg to gain the necessary yards that spell victory for his team. That's spirit. The professional gridder will play it safe, because he wants to be in condition to earn more money in his next game. That's business."  There were years he played in both pro sports of football and baseball at the same time.  And then the bad news came that he had played sports for money during the Olympic years and was stripped of his medals.  As Thorpe said about it, " "I went to play baseball in North Carolina for a couple of summers and paid for it the rest of my life."

As I loved to play sports, particularity football I knew his story well. We always thought of Jim Thorpe as the great football player from his success at Carlisle Indian Industrial School.  (as an aside:  The link is to the Wikipedia information about Carlisle and very interesting - about early turn-of-the-century college football and Indian affairs)   I, like a lot of boys wanted to be a football player.  This was long before there was any real organized football for children.  (We were called children then, not youth.)  So we got shoulder pads and helmets with Ram colors and insignia and banged into each other on the grass and sidewalks in front of our houses.  In those days the helmets had one single bar in front of the face so it was easy to catch an elbow or knee into the face.  Sixty years have not erased some of the scars. 

Jim Thorpe was eventually inducted into the Professional Football Hall of Fame in 1963 in the inaugural class of 17 athletes.  Grantland Rice, a legendary sportswriter said that Thorpe was the greatest football player ever.  It wasn’t because he was the best at any particular aspect of the game, passing, running, tackling but that he was really good in all of them making for a great, all around football player.

  Here is a good place for a lot more information about Jim Thorpe "The World's Greatest Athlete"