JUPITER, Fla. — It was so long ago that I’ve forgotten exactly how it came up, but it happened not to far from here — down Interstate 95 and just south of West Palm Beach, Fla. I grabbed a fistful of white paper from the Xerox machine nearest by desk at The Palm Bach Post. I raided an art supply store for some sketching pencils, a trusty pica pole, an industrial-strength eraser, a Uni-Ball pen, and fine-point detailing pens. I set up a rather low-frills drawing studio at a glass coffee table. And I started drawing.
It might have been the small self portrait I included on my resume, or the line about drawing a twice-weekly cartoon at The Maneater. Regardless, the sports editors at the PB-Post had a challenge and an offer for their eager intern.
There was a spot in the Sunday paper for a cartoon, if I wanted to draw them.
(Scroll down if you’re tired of reading and just want to look at the pretty drawing.)
I don’t remember how many I did that summer, back in 1996. I was most proud of one that captured John Boles big-eyed stare just right as he inspected his new troops, the cleaned-and-pressed Florida Marlins. Another featured Jimmy Johnson scuba diving for a Lombardi trophy with a friendly dolphin furiously trying to save him from the depths of glory. Somewhere in my files these originals exist. I’m more thrilled by the actual copies of the paper because, heck, it meant I was a published cartoonist in a metro daily. I doubt I could have made a career of scribbling and it’s too often you get a seat in the baseball press box as a cartoonist anymore, so writing seemed like the better way to go. I promised that when I had a kid however, I’d unpack the pens, borrow (ahem) some paper from the nearest Xerox machine and doodle again.
Awhile back a friend asked me to try cartooning again for him. I wrote a month or so ago about the challenge of getting Mike Schmidt’s mustache right as I worked on this cartoon for his new St. Louis baseball historical journal. I promised then to reprint the one-panel cartoon here when the journal went to press. The journal has had a delay, but my friend said it would be OK to pop the cartoon up here and spread it around the various webby places my print work appears. It’s fitting then that the first sports cartoon I’ve drawn since appearing in the pages of The Palm Beach Post appears while I’m in the Post’s backyard.
That’s some fitting symmetry and it’s all prelude to what I’ve been vaguely describing to friends and “The Pujols Cartoon.” I’m taking a deep breath that this is well received. Here goes:
Go ahead, try and name all of the players featured, including the ones in the memorial pictures on the wall.
We’ll see if they ask me to draw another one.