Fall Premier Auction 2019


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George Sosnak (1922-1992) was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA. He devoted his life to baseball, first as a fan of his hometown Pirates and later as an umpire in the Pioneer League (1956-58). At first, painting was just a hobby for the self-taught artist, but that changed in 1956. While he was umpiring a minor league game, a female fan -- apparently aware of his artistic skills -- asked Sosnak to paint her favorite player on a baseball. He happy obliged and, from that point on, he began to develop his niche, combining his two passions and eventually building a cult-like following as one of America's most revered folk artists. Sosnak's marvelous and incredibly tedious creations -- all 1 of 1 originals -- have been displayed at the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown and the American Folk Museum in NYC. This lovely Sosnak commemorates the 1960 World Series Champion Pittsburgh Pirates and, in particular, their star reliever Elroy Face.

Every square centimeter of this baseball is covered in Sosnak's masterful artwork and penmanship. The featured panel has the classic Pittsburgh Pirates "Jolly Roger" logo abover "1960 World Champions." The other main panel depicts Elroy Face pitching a ball labeled "802" signifying Face tying the great Walter Johnson for career appearances with one team. An adjacent panel reads, "ELROY FACE PITCHER" with his career Pittsburgh Pirates stats from 1955-1968. Face was a pioneers of modern relief pitching, considered one of the first real "closers" before the term was officially coined in the 1970s and 80s. The three-time All-Star had a 10-8 record and 2.90 ERA in 1960 for the Buccos, leading the National League in appearances (68) and games finished (61); he would have been credited with 24 "saves" had the stat been officially tracked back then. The year prior, Face finished a remarkable 18-1 in 57 relief appearances. What this Sosnak example may lack in color or asthetics, it certainly makes up for in its uniquely-themed, encyclopedic overview of a truly under-appreciated player. The ball itself displays VG-EX/EX with several scuff marks and moderate toning.

Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $400
Current Bid: $440
Number Bids: 2
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