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 Sosnak masterpiece commemorates the 1979 World Champion Pittsburgh Pirates, his hometown team that inspired his love for the game at an early age.
A classic example, this Sosnak ball is among the finest and most colorful we’ve ever encountered. Pirates legend Willie Stargell and John Candelaria each are beautifully depicted on their own panels. The Stargell panel depicts the World Series MVP swinging for the fence and watching his home run sail out of the park. The Candelaria panel depicts him throwing six innings of shutout ball in Baltimore. A third panel depicts shortstop Tim Foli and infielder Phil Garner, whose efforts on both sides of the ball helped Pittsburgh secure the title.
The level of written detail, from play-by-play narration and game summaries to both team and individual stats, is astounding. The NM-MT ball has been well preserved over the decades.