California Authors


BASEBALL -- Great American Pastime -- Through the Eyes of Artist Bill Anderson

Reviewed By C. MacDonald

$25 plus shipping and handling. Contact Many of the book's images are available.

California has five professional Major League Baseball teams (San Francisco Giants, Oakland As, Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Angels and San Diego Padres) and now it's home to one of the most fascinating art books ever done on "America's Favorite Pastime."


Bill Anderson, a world renown artist, whose gallery is in Sunset Beach, was a star pitcher in high school, college and semi-pros. His love for the game is astonishing and his athletic history gives him special insight evident in his illustrations.

"I look at baseball aesthetically," said the Minnesota native, who also has played or coached in Wisconsin and California (where he taught middle school art for over 38 years). "I love the movement, the power, the elegance and the history. I see the game as an artist more than a player or coach."

"The individual athlete—as a hitter, fielder, catcher or base-runner—offers so much in terms of graceful power, speed, movement, excitement and energy," said the member of the 1957 Minnesota State Legion Championship Team.

He has captured the taste, the sound, the sights and the feelings found in ballparks across California, the nation and overseas. Through his stunning sketches of baseball greats, such as Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, Harmon Killebrew and Jackie Robinson, Anderson has established himself as one of the baseball-great artists.

His variety of work includes Charcoal Drawings of Mickey Mantle and Roberto Clemente; Watercolors of Mark McGwire (who first gained famed with the Oakland As), Ted Williams (a San Diego native, who became one of the greatest hitters of all time with the Boston Red Sox) and the Angel's Vladimir Guerrero; Pastels (showing the excitement of the game); Linoleum Block Prints (of pitchers); Colored Pencil art (of World Series champs celebrating) and even Etchings (illustrating a power swing in motion).

The artist, whose work is in museums and galleries around the world, really records the fun atmosphere at a ballgame from the Peanut Vendor and Cotton Candy Barker to the Broadcast Announcers and Photographers to the cheering multitudes of friends and family rooting for their home teams. He's so creative, sometimes distorting images to fit small spaces or showing the entire pitching motion from start to finish. There's even a Conte Crayon and Ink Drawing of one player hitting a ball and another catching the ball!

His impressive work is at times nostalgic, done in black and white; other times, colorful contemporary. "To me," he explains, "it's about respecting the artistic quality of the game rather than being concerned with who wins."

Anderson also shares stories from his talks with baseball icons like Goose Gossage, Pete Rose and others. The book's cover features the artist's own son, Craig, when he was a star pitcher at California Lutheran University.

This is a hard book to put down—it has so many incredible things to examine. You have to see it to believe. If you love baseball, you won't find another book like this anywhere. He even has a drawing illustrating highlights of the first 100 years of baseball (1839-1939). It shows why after all these years, it's still the Great American Pastime.

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