Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Countdown to 2017 Topps #15: Before Harvey's Wallbangers- The Wall

My dad was, by trade, a commercial artist. And a damn good one, at that. That's not just a biased son speaking about his father (we haven't had a close relationship since I don't know when), it's just the truth. He did a lot of lettering and sign painting during his career, but where he really shined was in the use of an airbrush. Race cars, boats, motor cycle tanks and a couple of my guitars all bore his signature. His incredible talent extended beyond just paint and brush: the custom woodwork, stained glass and sandblasted windows that made up part of what we called home all pointed to a talent unlike any other.

One other area of our house that bore his mark was my bedroom. Shortly after purchasing the house in the fall of '77, my dad went to work on an extensive remodel (as well as a later addition to the house) that would last until my senior year- 1987. Part of that process included a makeover of my bedroom. A bed frame, desk, dresser, and cabinet- all custom built by him- would have their place in my living quarters. But the thing that made that room distinctly mine (other than the sandblasted window on my door that declared 'Private') was the 'Wall'. The wall had to have been done sometime after the winter of 1977, because of a painting he did on it.

This Wall included a mural of a scene from the gridiron- a running back running into the defensive line, stopped by a defender. On the other half of the Wall were three 'blocks', each featuring the logo of a professional team: the Seattle Supersonics, the Denver Broncos and the Milwaukee Brewers. These 'blocks' were all a part of some larger design that I can not describe (it's been 23 years since I last saw the old room) and were somehow connected. Anyway, the choice in teams was simple: besides being a fan of the Portland Trailblazers, I also rooted for the other regional team- the Sonics; on the gridiron, the Seahawks and Buccaneers were just infants and I was still rooting for the Broncos at the time- but just barely, as my allegiance shifted shortly after the painting was finished; on the diamond, I was never a Brewers fan, but the upstart Mariners had just completed their first season (I was just becoming a fan) and the Braves and TBS were still a few years away.  I loved that Brewers logo, however. Oh, how I loved that logo.




Probably the most favorite logo among Milwaukee Brewer fans, the yellow and blue mitt logo was first introduced during the winter of 1977 and would be a fixture on team hats and helmets for the next sixteen years. The usage of this logo coincided with the most successful seasons in team history, so perhaps the team's success- not nostalgia- explains the popularity. I like to think it's because it's just a great design that incorporates the teams initials (and a ball) to form a baseball glove. Pure genius on the part of Tom Meindel, the Art History student at the University of Wisconsin- Eau Claire, who earned a $2,000 first place prize for his creation.






It never occurred to me until now, but there has been some kind of six degrees of separation taking place in my baseball interests: Milwaukee had a baseball franchise that moved to Atlanta; Seattle gains an MLB franchise that exists for one season- which just happened to be the year I was born (1969); Seattle loses franchise when it moves to Milwaukee and the team becomes known as the Brewers; Seattle gains another franchise, with the Mariners' first year of existence being the same year I become a full-blown baseball nut (as well as a fan of their team); about that same time I get a Milwaukee Brewers logo on the Wall- although I'm not really a fan; shortly thereafter, we get TBS and I become an Atlanta Braves fan (that team that had moved from Milwaukee). In the meantime, the Seattle Mariners was always on the peripheral, taking a backseat to Braves baseball until Atlanta management decides to deconstruct the roster and trades away my favorite player. And here I am, now rooting for the M's. 

Where do the Milwaukee Brewers fit in all of this now? I have no idea. I was just some kid with their logo on my wall.


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