Sam Jethroe
Sam Jethroe
mixed media w/ wood and found objects
36 x 40
Available for purchase. Please contact the artist.
Sam Jethroe was aptly named. He had blistering speed on the base paths and in the outfield and an all-star batting average. After helping the Cleveland Buckeyes clobber the Homestead Grays in the 1945 World Series, Jethroe started garnering attention from the Major League scouts. In fact, it was he and Marvin Williams who, along with Jackie Robinson, had a tryout with the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park in 1945. Despite their demonstrated ability, none were signed. Jethroe would not see the bigs again until 1950 when he was finally signed by the Boston Braves. That year as a 32-year old, he batted .272 and led the league in stolen bases to earn Rookie of the Year honors. He still holds the Major League record as the oldest person to accomplish this.
This work was the first time I introduced color into the painting medium, albeit subtle and in the background of the portrait. The painting is rife with symbolism. From the obvious Ford Fairlane hood ornament to the more openly interpreted black baseballs flanking him in distinctive fashion. Conversely, to be ‘black-balled’ was the term used for the process of being secretly rejected by a closed vote in various organizations.