An artwork featuring Hall of Fame pitcher “Dizzy” Dean on a hand-painted, vintage baseball glove by Guelph, Ontario artist Sean Kane is now part of the collection at The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, NY.
The painting was voted into the Hall of Fame collection by their Acquisitions Committee in early 2019. The artist hand-delivered the painted glove to the president of the Hall of Fame, Jeff Idelson, in March.
Kane’s acrylic painting highlights Dean, the eccentric, colorful Hall of Fame pitching ace of the St. Louis Cardinals from 1930-37. The “Gashouse Gang”, as they were known, won the 1934 World Series during his MVP year.
And like Dean, the artwork is slightly unconventional, having been painted on a 1930’s era Spalding baseball glove instead of a typical artist’s canvas.
The Dean painted glove joins approximately 1,700 works of art in The Hall of Fame’s collection, which began when the museum was founded in 1936 and includes works by Norman Rockwell and Andy Warhol.
The Hall of Fame acquires “works of art that contribute to the Museum’s mission of preserving history, honoring excellence, and connecting generations”, according to their website.
The painting will be displayed in either the museum’s art gallery or with Dean’s game-used artifacts.
A baseball fan since childhood, Kane says, “I’m incredibly honored having my work, my interest in the game and its history recognized by the Hall of Fame.”
He added, “For visitors to the Hall, if the painting sparks interest in Dizzy, the era he played in or prompts conversations between generations, then that’s as good as a home run to me.”
Kane has been a professional artist for 25 years, first as a commercial illustrator/designer before turning to baseball for inspiration. Originally from the Chicago area, he is now based near Toronto in Guelph, Ontario.
Kane first got the idea to use baseball mitts as his canvas in 2001. “I think of them as a sort of time machine, helping to transport the viewer to the time and place of a ballplayer’s career,” he says.
Each painting takes approximately 100-120 hours to complete, including research and sourcing antique mitts, some a century-old, from online dealers and sports memorabilia shows.
Kane adds, “Layered with detailed portraits and graphics reminiscent of the era being depicted, I aim to tell a visual story that hopefully draws people in to learn more about the game and the individuals who played it.”
His baseball glove art has been commissioned by a range of baseball-related organizations including the Philadelphia Phillies, Milwaukee Brewers Fantasy Camp, the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation and Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital.
Kane’s work is in the private collections of Hall of Fame players and individuals across the United States. Glove paintings have been exhibited at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, Kansas City, and the Sherwin Miller Museum of Jewish Art, Tulsa.
The Dizzy Dean painting was created in 2016 and has previously been a part of a group exhibit in North Carolina. Kane’s baseball glove art can be seen at his website.