In conjunction with the nationwide celebration of the Negro Leagues Centennial, the Baseball Reliquary has commissioned artist Greg Jezewski to produce a special artwork for the occasion. The Baseball Reliquary is a Pasadena, California-based nonprofit, educational organization dedicated to fostering an appreciation of American art and culture through the context of baseball history and to exploring the national pastime’s unparalleled creative possibilities.
With the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum leading the efforts, the year 2020 has been designated as the centennial of the founding of the first successful, organized black professional baseball league – the Negro National League, founded by Andrew “Rube” Foster in Kansas City on February 13, 1920. Often called the “father of black baseball,” Rube Foster was one of the greatest pitchers of the early 20th century, and later founded the Chicago American Giants, which became one of the greatest sporting institutions that black America had ever seen. “What Rube Foster accomplished in establishing the Negro Leagues against the backdrop of American segregation is monumental and richly deserves to be more than just a footnote in baseball history,” Bob Kendrick, Negro Leagues Baseball Museum president, said. “The Negro Leagues would change the game and America too. This milestone anniversary creates a platform to educate the public about this powerful story of triumph over adversity while using the many relevant life-lessons to inspire a nation to embrace diversity and inclusion.”
Los Angeles-based artist Greg Jezewski is well-known to Reliquarians for his participation over the years in numerous solo and group exhibitions sponsored by the Baseball Reliquary. He also has work that is permanently on view at the Institute for Baseball Studies at Whittier College.
For this commission, Jezewski has chosen Rube Foster as the starting point for a look at various aspects of the Negro Leagues. Entitled “The House That Rube Built,” the artwork will take the form of a triptych, examining the historic timeline/progression of the Negro Leagues from Rube Foster to Jackie Robinson, with a special emphasis on barnstorming, an integral part of the black baseball experience in America.
The commissioned work will be exhibited by the Baseball Reliquary in multiple venues during the Negro Leagues Centennial year, and will debut at an exhibition on the Negro Leagues, to be presented in collaboration with the Institute for Baseball Studies at the Wardman Library on the campus of Whittier College in February 2020. The exhibition will be part of the nationwide celebration of both the Negro Leagues Centennial and Black History Month.
For further information, contact the Baseball Reliquary by phone at (626) 791-7647, by e-mail at email@example.com.