28 August 2015

Outta Nowhere! A Surprise Package from Kettle aka John Soukup!

(I started writing this a couple of days ago. I don't really feel like going through and changing it all, so I am leaving it as if this all still occurred today.) I came home today and found a box on my desk. That's not all that surprising or unusual as more often than not I've got some kind of package inbound, but I wasn't really expecting anything today. And when I saw the name 'Soukup' on top of the package I knew that 1) it wasn't something I was expecting and 2) it was probably going to be awesome. The box held a note and an Ultra-Pro Ball Holder box. The note said that the artist, John Soukup, had done a Stan Musial ball for someone and thought he ought to do one for me as well. I opened up the box and found this:

John Soukup, who is the artist behind this sketch card and this surprise package as well as a couple of things I haven't yet posted about, had taken the time to paint a baseball and send it to me as a surprise gift. I took pictures of every angle to show off here. The top of the ball has Ken Griffey Jr.'s name on it.

One side features The Kid in a batting stance, wearing his Seattle uniform and trademark eye black.

The other side features a Mariners logo. Some of the paint on a few sides of the ball has rubbed off onto the ball holder. I need to see if there is something I can spray it or brush it with to protect it without causing more damage to the paint. In painting miniature figures for my wargaming hobby I found out the hard way that some sealants used with some paints can cause more harm than good.

This side of the ball shows the honors that Griffey earned during his career. One digit is off on the year for Griffey's MVP award, but we'll just give it Beckett's UER designation and be just fine. He's got a pretty good resume, and I think he might just get into the Hall of Fame when he gets eligible next year.

The other side of the ball tells the statistical story that led to all of those awards and honors. If he hadn't missed so much time he might have had some even better numbers, especially that magical 3000-hit mark. He's been in the news lately for appearing on Macklemore's new music video in a reenactment of his famous Upper Deck Rookie card:

There's quite a bit of gray in that goatee and he's gotten a little thicker, but it's definitely the same guy. I imagine he'll be in the news a bit more as the Hall of Fame discussion ramps up and all the sports writers argue about whether his qualifications and whether or not he came through the Steroid Era cleanly.

It was great to find this surprise in the mail, and it's awesome that John thought of me when it came time to do a baseball project. I don't know that I ever did anything to deserve his generosity, but I sure do appreciate it. I actually have a couple more things from him that I haven't even posted yet because they are part of a post about all sorts of deep meaningful questions that have been on my mind lately. I don't know if I'll ever really get that post finished, but I will eventually be posting more work by him. You can check out his DeviantArt gallery here to see some of his other work. It looks like he updates it from time to time with a sampling of his work.


  1. That is really cool that he would take the time to make something personal for your collection.

    For years I have been using Krylon Crystal Clear, it is an acrylic coating, on my paintings and drawings (including some sketch cards). I don't know how it will work on a painted ball but you can find it pretty much anywhere that you can find arts and craft supplies.

    1. I will have to check that Krylon stuff out. Thanks for the recommendation!