More incredible baseball art from James Fiorentino is unveiled in a special fundraiser for a group that sends care packages to Americans serving overseas.
Renowned sports illustrator James Fiorentino, whose portraits of America’s professional athletes are as legendary as the ballplayers’ exploits, will be guest of honor at the Second annual Wine Tasting fund raiser hosted by Operation Shoebox New Jersey at The Wine Room in Bound Brook, N.J. on Feb. 28.
Fiorentino has donated three limited-edition lithographs that will be auctioned during the evening "Life of a Legend," a poster-size collage of Mickey Mantle; "A Night in the Bronx," a 16-by-20 inch panoramic view of the old Yankee Stadium and "The Captain," a 16-by-20 inch image of New York Yankees captain Derek Jeter swinging at a pitch in the batter’s box with New York Mets’ catcher Mike Piazza behind the plate.
Fiorentino was featured in a Sports Collectors Daily story last year.
"I am looking forward to helping Operation Shoebox New Jersey through my artwork by donating limited edition prints of my sports art and creating original paintings to be auctioned off in 2009 through their events," Fiorentino said.
Fiorentino will sign and personalize each of the lithographs.
Operation Shoebox New Jersey is a volunteer organization based in Somerville dedicated to sending personal care packages to U.S. troops deployed overseas; founded in 2005, OPSHBX NJ has shipped 25,000 packages to troops in Iraq, Afghanistan and other Mideast locations.
"I am honored to raise money with my artwork for such a great cause," Fiorentino continued. "Creating care packages for our troops is such a wonderful and fulfilling experience for both the volunteers and the troops receiving them."
Fiorentino has been painting professionally for over 20 years; when he was 15, he was selected by the Baseball Hall of Fame to create the official induction portrait of Reggie Jackson.
The Sports Museum of America in New York City will host "The Sports Art of James Fiorentino," a solo exhibition of 20 original paintings from mid-April to the end of May.
Many of Fiorentino’s original works of art are in the permanent collections of several museums, including the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.; the United States Sports Academy Museum in Alabama; the National Basketball Hall of Fame, Springfield, Mass., The National Museum of Art & Sport in Indiana, the Roberto Clemente Museum, Puerto Rico and The Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center in Montclair, N.J. Several professional athletes also own their original portraits painted by Fiorentino.
In 1994 he became the youngest artist to win Beckett Magazine’s annual sports art competition for the likeness of Hall Of Fame pitcher Steve Carlton. When Beckett opened up the competition worldwide the following year, Fiorentino triumphed again with a stunning collage of Muhammad Ali. When Ali saw Fiorentino’s latest work of himself, the greatest said, "James, you are the greatest."
Fiorentino’s artwork has been featured in numerous national publications and published as cover art for official commemorative programs for the 1995 Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Ceremonies, Don Mattingly Day in 1997 at Yankee Stadium, the 1996 Red Cross Calendar, and the 1995 and 2001-2003 covers of the Ted Williams Museum and Hitters Hall of Fame Induction program. He has also created hundreds of images of baseball players for several collector card sets.
The artist recently completed a project with Pittsburgh Penguins’ hockey legend Mario Lemieux and continues to work on images for the Latino Sports writers MVP awards program which this year includes Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals and Yankees relief pitcher Mariano Rivera.
Due for release in April is the Pepper Davis book "Dirt in the Skirt," for which Fiorentino created the jacket cover. A shortstop and catcher in the All American Girls Professional League from 1944-1953, Davis was portrayed by Geena Davis in the 1991 movie "A League of Their Own."
Fiorentino was also the official artist for Cal Ripken Jr.’s record-breaking Consecutive Game Streak which broke Lou Gehrig’s long-standing mark of 2,130 games, ending in 1998 at 2,632 games.
A resident of Raritan Township in Hunterdon County, Fiorentino is a graduate of Middlesex High School where he was an all-state shortstop and played Division I college baseball at Drew University.