In baseball, when the greats retire and take their last pass through the parks, typically they are honored on the field by the teams they played. Often to express their reverence and appreciation a symbolic gift is given. A surf board from a coastal team, a framed piece of their history like a broken bat, or sometimes a loving jab in the ribs like a rocking chair. In the case of Boston Red Sox’ David Ortiz last visit to Anaheim, the Angels arranged with sports artist great Stephen Holland to have an original painting of the “Big Papi” himself that would be presented on the field by their own all-stars Albert Pujols and Mike Trout.
Receiving a Stephen Holland painting as a retirement gift is without a doubt a very special gesture. But it is not an unusual one. This too, in recent years has taken shape as it’s own tradition in baseball (and other sports as well). Over the past few years Holland paintings have been commissioned and presented on the field to a number of retiring players, including Jim Thome and Mariano Rivera.
“I’m humbled by the honor of being asked to create a painting that singularly captures an entire team’s deeply felt admiration for one of the very best players of their time” – Stephen Holland.
“There are no gift registries on these player tours. You can’t go to Macy’s and say, ‘What am I going to give to Derek Jeter?’ ” – Minnesota Twins President Dave St. Peter.