One last magic moment in the Bronx...2014 Derek Jeter Last Yankee Stadium Hit Original Artwork by James Fiorentino. For most lovers of baseball history, the affection is rooted in the belief that there was a purity to the early game that has been since been corrupted. We view the sport's childhood much like our own--uncomplicated, magical in its innocence, free of the guile and the compromise that tends to accompany progress. There were problems in the old days--serious ones solved only by brave men like Judge Landis and Jackie Robinson in their very different times--but we didn't yearn so desperately to kill our idols, and those old idols never seemed quite so ready to break our hearts either.
For one thing, they were always there, from kindergarten through college graduation sometimes, through births and deaths, unbroken chains of years until they were as familiar as family. The weight of American principle that Curt Flood took to the fight for free agency left little doubt but that his cause was just, but then we fans had only ever seen the good in our team "belonging" to us. Just because Flood was right didn't stop it from hurting. The game was forever changed. And so our baseball families would gradually be replaced by strangers, who would soon vanish themselves if they got much better, or much worse. The days of Teddy Ballgame were over. No more Stan the Mans. No more Micks.
The last of that noble tradition is captured here in remarkable photorealism, as Derek Jeter bade goodbye to the Bronx with the brand of clutch heroics that had been his trademark ever since his 1996 Rookie of the Year campaign. It is unlikely we'll ever again see a top ten finisher in any pedigree Major League statistic to wear a single uniform to record each digit in the tally. In short, Derek Jeter may well have been the last great franchise superstar.
Rising star James Fiorentino misses no detail in his study of that final Yankee Stadium swing on September 25, 2014, a walk-off winner against the visiting Baltimore Orioles. Fiorentino's work has appeared as cover art for official commemorative programs for the 1995 Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Ceremonies, Don Mattingly Day in 1997 at Yankee Stadium, 1996 Red Cross Calendar, and the 1995 and 2001-2003 covers of the Ted Williams Museum and Hitters Hall of Fame Induction program, as well as upon trading cards for Topps, Upper Deck and others. James was also the official artist for Cal Ripken Jr's 2131 Consecutive Game Streak and 2632 Ending of the Streak for which he created limited edition lithographs.
The presented watercolor on board masterpiece measures a commanding 29x57" and is enhanced by a massive black sharpie signature (10/10) from its future Hall of Fame subject. Professional framing completes the dimensions at 35.5x64". COA from Steiner Sports (Jeter autograph). Full LOA from PSA/DNA. Full LOA from James Spence Authentication.
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