2015 Tony Salin Memorial Award Recipient: Gary Joseph Cieradkowski

Tony Salin painting, "Mr. Baseball Brand" by artist Ben Sakoguchi, in the collection of Doug Salin.

Tony Salin painting, “Mr. Baseball Brand” by artist Ben Sakoguchi, in the collection of Doug Salin.

The Board of Directors of the Baseball Reliquary is pleased to announce that Gary Joseph Cieradkowski has been selected as the recipient of the 2015 Tony Salin Memorial Award.  The award will be formally presented at the Shrine of the Eternals Induction Day on Sunday, July 19, 2015, beginning at 2:00 p.m., at the Donald R. Wright Auditorium in the Pasadena Central Library, Pasadena, California.  The festivities will also include the presentation of the 2015 Hilda Award and the induction of the 2015 class of electees to the Baseball Reliquary’s Shrine of the Eternals: Sy Berger, Steve Bilko, and Glenn Burke.

Established in 2002 to recognize individuals for their commitment to the preservation of baseball history, the Tony Salin Memorial Award is named in honor of the baseball historian, author, and Reliquarian who passed away in 2001.  From the time he was eight years old, Tony was referred to as “Mr. Baseball” by family and friends, whom he regularly astounded with his exhaustive knowledge of facts and trivia related to old-time ballplayers.  Over the years, this preoccupation blossomed into a passion for the study and research of unsung players and forgotten aspects of baseball history, which he felt were important to document and keep alive for future generations.

Gary Cieradkowski

Gary Cieradkowski

The 2015 Salin Award recipient, GARY JOSEPH CIERADKOWSKI is the artist and writer behind The Infinite Baseball Card Set blog and the book The League of Outsider Baseball: An Illustrated History of Baseball’s Forgotten Heroes.  An award-winning graphic artist and illustrator, Gary has worked for over 25 years with some of the best design and advertising firms in the country.  Among other accomplishments, he created the environmental and print graphics for Oriole Park at Camden Yards, designed the music department of Barnes & Noble, and rebranded and repackaged the Folgers Coffee can.

Gary inherited his love of baseball from his grandfather, a Brooklyn Dodgers fan going back to the 1930s, who would tell young Gary stories about Dodger greats such as Dazzy Vance, Duke Snider, Jackie Robinson, and Pete Reiser.  Growing up a New York Mets fan in the 1970s, Gary learned to live with pain and disappointment until he married his wife Andrea.  The two live happily in Northern Kentucky, unless, as Gary notes, “they discuss the merits of the designated hitter rule.”

Gary Cieradkowski 2

With the creation of The Infinite Baseball Card Set blog five years ago, Gary Cieradkowski began the design and production of a series of baseball cards, now numbering close to 200 entries, which resembles the tobacco cards of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  “Cieradkowski, in a humble, unassuming way,” writes Don Malcolm, “has staked claim as one of the great practitioners of the ‘art of baseball history’ with his Infinite Baseball Card Set.  The blog is an ongoing creation of a very unusual, highly eclectic collision of baseball lore and Gary’s own immense skill as an artist/poster designer. . . Cieradkowski combines history and art in a uniquely entertaining way: his love for the lore and for the odd details of individual lives and unusual events is exactly what ‘the art of baseball history’ is all about.”  John Thorn, the official historian of Major League Baseball, commented, “Gary Cieradkowski is to me the most interesting artist working in baseball today.  His bold graphic style recalls America’s poster kings of yore – Edward Penfield, J.C. Leyendecker, Fred G. Cooper – and his love of the game breathes new life into heroes long gone.”

His newly-published book, The League of Outsider Baseball: An Illustrated History of Baseball’s Forgotten Heroes, spotlights an all-star lineup featuring everyone from Ty Cobb, Sandy Koufax, and Roberto Clemente to Eddie Gaedel, Alabama Pitts, and Kitty Burke.  Its 240 pages are filled with baseball’s forgotten heroes, barnstormers, journeymen, rogues, and stars before they were famous.

Gary Joseph Cieradkowski will attend the Shrine of the Eternals 2015 Induction Day in Pasadena, California to personally accept the Tony Salin Memorial Award.

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