Play Ball! The Perfect Gift for Baseball Fans

If you’ve got a baseball fan on your holiday gift list this year, then we have the perfect thing for you!

Play Ball! is available from The Postal Store. Click the image for more info.

Play Ball! is available from The Postal Store. Click the image for more info.

Play Ball! Great Moments in Major League Baseball® History is the perfect keepsake for baseball fans and stamp collectors alike. The 40-page softbound book is filled with the vivid paintings of artist Graig Kreindler, whose extraordinarily detailed work captures our national pastime’s biggest icons in action.

The book tells the story of baseball on stamps and comes complete with 16 postage stamps: The ten Legendary Playing Fields stamps issued in 2001, the two 2010 Negro Leagues Baseball stamps, and the four very popular Major League Baseball All-Stars stamps issued earlier this year.

We have five copies of Play Ball! to give away today. To enter all you have to do is send your name and address to uspsstamps [at] gmail [dot] com. Winners will be chosen at random. The deadline for entries is midnight EST, Tuesday, December 18. Good luck!

Three Collectible Envelopes Will Delight Baseball Fans

On Sunday, October 28, the San Francisco Giants beat the Detroit Tigers in a four-game sweep to win the 2012 World Series. It was San Francisco’s seventh World Series title, and the team’s second title in the past three years.

To commemorate this historic event, the San Francisco District is offering three collectible envelopes: one to honor the World Series Champions (WS Champs), one to honor the 2012 World Series (WS), and one to honor the National League Champions (NLCS):

World Series Champions (WS Champs)

World Series Champions (WS Champs)

2012 World Series (WS)

2012 World Series (WS)

National League Champions (NLCS)

National League Champions (NLCS)

Each envelope is available for $10. If you would like to purchase any or all of them, please send your request to:

Postmaster
PO Box 889001
San Francisco CA 94188-0066

Each request should include your name and address, the number and type of envelope being purchased (WS Champs, WS, or NLCS), and a check or money order made payable to the San Francisco Postmaster.

Any of these collectible envelopes would make the perfect gift for the baseball fan in your life!

Willie Stargell Wins Stamps Batted In Pennant Race

Congratulations to the San Francisco Giants for taking the World Series! Fans of Willie Stargell can also celebrate their own victory. They stepped up to the plate in the Stamps Batted In (SBI) pennant race to position the Pittsburgh Pirate icon as the Most Popular Player (MPP) among four icons immortalized on the Major League Baseball All-Stars Forever® stamps, which were issued in the summer.

Prior to their release on July 20, USPS started a friendly pre-order stamp competition among fans of Stargell and the other players commemorated on the stamps: Joe DiMaggio of the New York Yankees, Larry Doby of the Cleveland Indians, and Ted Williams of the Boston Red Sox.

“Fan support of their favorite players was so strong that we decided to continue this friendly competition through the end of the World Series,” Stamp Services Manager Stephen Kearney said, referring to the record 2.29 million stamps pre-ordered. “I encourage fans to continue supporting their favorite player while the stamps are still available.”

To date, more than 32 million Major League Baseball All-Stars stamps have been sold. Three million stamps on sheets of 20 were printed for each individual player in addition to the 80 million stamps on sheets of 20 honoring all four players.

Stamp Pre-Order SBI Regular Season SBI Total SBI
Willie Stargell 540,613 7,679,742 8,220,355
Ted Williams 630,353 7,578,682 8,209,035
Joe DiMaggio 626,553 7,439,302 8,065,855
Larry Doby 500,813 7,343,202 7,844,015
Totals 2,298,332 30,040,928 32,339,260

The perfect keepsake, this 40-page softbound book is filled with vivid paintings and 16 collectible stamps. Click for details.

You can view the July 20 stamps dedication ceremony here, including a tribute from Hall of Famer “Mr. Padre” Tony Gwynn.

A video tribute to the four players is available here. Information on special collectibles can be viewed here. You can purchase the stamps and individual stamp sheets depicting each player along with unique collectibles at www.usps.com/play-ball. The Major League Baseball All-Star Forever stamp collectibles can also be purchased by calling 800-STAMP24 or by visiting select Post Offices.

Major League Baseball trademarks and copyrights are used with permission of Major League Baseball Properties, Inc. Visit MLB.com

Painting Our Pastime: An Interview With Artist Graig Kreindler

Play Ball! A Celebration of Baseball’s Greatest Momentsa 40-page softbound book that showcases stamps honoring our national pastime—is filled with the beautiful paintings of artist Graig Kreindler. Here is his story.

As a boy, Graig Kreindler loved to look at the illustrated portraits of players on his father’s old baseball cards. Poring over the collection, made up of gems from the 1950s, eventually led to a minor epiphany. “You could kind of see,” Kreindler, who grew up in Rockland County, New York, said, “how art and baseball could come together.”

Not that the 32-year-old painter needed a push toward the sport. He was, after all, named after New York Yankees third baseman Graig Nettles. A lifelong baseball fan, Kreindler has spent his adult years depicting the athletes he grew up adoring. His stunning paintings have been displayed nationwide, in museums and books.

In truth, Kreindler didn’t always like to paint. “I was scared of color,” he said. Plus, he added, “I really only enjoyed painting if I was painting something that I had interest in.” Then a college assignment—he attended the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan—fulfilled that requirement. The task was to depict a relationship. “For whatever reason I thought about the relationship between a pitcher and a batter,” he said. He ended up entering the finished product, a vertical painting of Mickey Mantle at bat, in a New York Society of Illustrators competition. At that point, he knew he’d hit on something.

“Anything other than baseball just didn’t feel right,” he said.

Kreindler graduated from college in 2002 and began his professional career. His paintings aren’t merely vague interpretations of baseball scenes. Hours of research precedes each one. “It usually starts with an image,” Kreindler said. “Then I go from there.” Take, for example, the Jackie Robinson painting featured in Play Ball! A Celebration of Baseball’s Greatest Moments. It’s based on a photograph that Kreindler found. The lighting in the picture, he said, was spectacular. “Right away,” he said of the image, of Robinson sliding into home, “I thought this could be a great painting.”

From there, Kreindler gets to work. First, he’ll scour a variety of news sources to help determine when the photo was taken, ideally down to the exact date, game, and even the inning. (Baseball box scores are widely available and contain a wealth of information.) The HBO documentary series When It Was a Game, which made use of color home-movie footage, has been another great resource. Kreindler is a stickler for detail. No element—including uniforms, ballpark advertisements, the weather—is ignored.

“If you show somebody an image, if you show him a photo or a painting of Mickey Mantle, if I’ve done it right, it will transport him to being a kid,” Kreindler said. “I think in general, the best art is able to elicit some sort of emotional response. Baseball just registers with so many people in that way.”

To see more of Kreindler’s work, visit graigkreindler.com.

Stamps Play Ball! Have You Entered to Win?

Take yourself to a ball game.
Take a seat in the crowd.
Photograph pictures of postage stamps.
Everyone in the set is a champ!
So go shoot, shoot, shoot clever pictures.
Enjoy a Major League game.
There are one, two, three special prizes
For you to claim!

(sung to the tune of “Take Me Out To The Ball Game”)

The 40-page Play Ball! book includes these stamps: the ten 2001 Legendary Playing Fields stamps, two 2010 Negro Leagues Baseball stamps, and four 2012 Major League Baseball All-Stars stamps. Click the image for details or to order.

Our baseball contest is in full swing (ha!). Take a picture of your favorite Major League Baseball All-Stars stamp at any Major League ballpark, post it to Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #stampsplayball, and you’ll be entered to win one of several prizes (details here). It’s as easy as that. Contest ends October 3. See you in the stands!

Major League Baseball trademarks and copyrights are used with permission of Major League Baseball Properties, Inc.