Monday, May 30, 2011

Negro League Baseball Stamp Art

Where: National Postal Museum

When: through June 5, 2011

On display are several examples of the stamps issued in 2010 honoring the Negro League. The league was quite popular during its heyday, although the integration of Major League Baseball brought about its demise. Innovations the league brought to the majors include bunting and stealing bases, without which baseball as we know it today would be distinctly less interesting.

Kadir Nelson is the artist who was commissioned to do the artwork; he had produced several paintings of Negro League baseball and was the author of a book on the Negro League. He based his design for the stamps on historical photographs. The stamps were issued se tenant, meaning that one picture was spread across two stamps.

The Postal Service had previously honored Negro League players Josh Gibson, Satchel Paige and Jackie Robinson in its "Legends of Baseball" series issued in 2000. Whereas the Negro League stamps were more action-oriented, the 2000 series were designed to look like trading cards.

This display is so small you might miss it - it's on the ground floor, right by the entrance. I'm glad I saw this on my way to run an errand elsewhere - if I'd walked all the way over to the Postal Museum to spend about 10 minutes, I would have been a bit miffed. Combine it with a trip to the Union Station food court for lunch, and you'll feel like your walk was worth it.

Verdict: if you are interested in baseball, check it out. Otherwise, it's not what I'd call a major show.

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