Wishing Baseball Legend Lou Gehrig a Happy Birthday (& a Contest, Too)

USPS00STA014GHappy birthday, Lou Gehrig! Born on this day in 1903, the New York Yankees first baseman—and one of the greatest players in baseball history—was one of 20 stars of the diamond honored on the Legends of Baseball stamp sheet, which was issued in 2000.

During his career Gehrig played in what was then a Major League record 2,130 consecutive games, earning the nickname “The Iron Horse.”

Sadly, in 1939, Gehrig was stricken with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, later known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. He died in 1941, but not before leaving his mark on baseball—and America as a whole.

Today, we’re celebrating Gehrig with a quiz about the baseball legend. If you can correctly answer all three of the folloPlay Ball bookwing questions, you’ll be entered into a drawing to win one copy of Play Ball! A Celebration of Baseball’s Greatest Moments. This wonderful 8½” x 11”, 40-page softbound book features the vivid paintings of artist Graig Kreindler, as well as 16 collectible stamps: the 2001 Legendary Playing Fields (10), the 2010 Negro Leagues Baseball (2), and the 2012 Major League Baseball All-Stars (4) stamps.

Ready? Let’s play ball!

1. Which actor portrayed Gehrig in the 1942 film Pride of the Yankees?

2. In 1995, which Major League player broke Gehrig’s consecutive game record?

3. In what year did Gehrig win the American League triple crown?

To enter, send your answers, along with your name and address, to: USPS Stamps, 1300 Mercantile Ln, Ste 139C, Largo MD 20774.

Of those who answer correctly, three people will be randomly chosen to receive a copy of Play Ball! If you don’t know all the answers this time around, don’t worry. You’ll have more chances to win over the course of the season. Entries must be postmarked by Saturday, June 29. Good luck!

Let’s Celebrate “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” With A Contest

SingleThis year marks the 105th anniversary of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.” The iconic tune debuted in 1908 and since then has become a staple at American ballparks. (To celebrate the song’s 100th anniversary in 2008, USPS issued the 42-cent Take Me Out to the Ball Game stamp.) Have you been singing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” since you were a child? Well, it’s time to test your knowledge of the song.

If you can correctly answer all three of the following questions, you’ll be entered into a drawing to win one copy of Play Ball! A Celebration of Baseball’s Greatest Moments. This wonderful 8½” x 11”, 40-page softbound book features the vivid paintings of artist Graig Kreindler, as well as 16 collectible stamps: the 2001 Legendary Playing Fields (10), the 2010 Negro Leagues Baseball (2), and the 2012 Major League Baseball All-Stars (4) stamps.

Play Ball book
Let’s get started!

1. Singer/songwriter Jack Norworth was inspired to write the lyrics to “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” after seeing a sign for an upcoming game at which now-closed ballpark?

2. Which famous radio announcer helped start the Wrigley Field tradition of singing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” during the seventh inning stretch of every game? 

3. In the 1949 film Take Me Out to the Ball Game which two stars, who were known for their acting and singing prowess, belted out a verse of the titular song?

For this contest we’re trying something a little different. To enter, send your answers, along with your name and address, to: USPS Stamps, 1300 Mercantile Ln, Ste 139C, Largo MD 20774.

Of those who answer correctly, two people will be randomly chosen to receive a copy of Play Ball! If you don’t know all the answers this time around, don’t worry. You’ll have several more chances to win over the course of the season. Entries must be postmarked by Saturday, June 8. Good luck!

This contest is now over. The correct answers are: Polo Grounds, Harry Caray, and Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra. Congratulations to our randomly selected winners, William J. Graham of Staten Island, New York, and Helen Lento of Fairfax, Virginia. Thank you to everyone who entered.

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.

Celebrate Baseball’s Greatest Moments

Baseball season is heating up, and we just can’t get enough! And we have plenty of philatelic gear to fuel your love of the game.

In addition to the four Forever® stamps honoring legends Joe DiMaggio, Larry Doby, Willie Stargell, and Ted Williams, we’ve also created a wonderful keepsake: Play Ball! Featuring vivid paintings by artist Greg Kreindler, the 40-page book celebrates some of the game’s greatest moments. It includes 16 baseball stamps—2001 Legendary Playing Fields (10), 2010 Negro Leagues Baseball (2), and 2012 Major League Baseball All-Stars (4)—as well as quotes, player stats, and fascinating history of Major League Baseball.

This beautiful, limited edition book is a great addition to any collection (stamp or baseball-related) and would make a wonderful gift for the baseball lovers in your life. Pre-order yours today!

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