Dodgers Team News

Dodgers’ Orel Hershier Buys Rare Jackie Robinson Artwork

Former Los Angeles Dodger great and current broadcaster Orel Hershiser is celebrating Jackie Robinson Day on Monday a little differently than the rest of Major League Baseball.

Hershiser recently purchased 10 Dodgers art pieces of world-renowned sports artist Dave Hobrecht, including a piece titled “Grace” featuring Robinson praying around a dinner table with former Dodger great Roy Campanella and Don Newcombe and social rights activist Martin Luther King Jr.

Hobrecht is a world-renowned sports artist whose work is collected by art patrons across the globe. He is known for his classic, yet innovative black-and-white sports paintings, dramatic sports subjects, and masterful technique.

The painting has been a part of the Negro League Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Mo., and Hershiser intends to keep it there.

“I’ve told Negro Leagues Baseball Museum President Bob Kendrick that this piece of art belongs right where it is,” said Hershiser via press release. “I’m honored to be its owner.  It marks a very important historical time, and it is important to keep this piece where people can learn about this moment. My goal is to enhance all sports fans’ experiences; whether it be in Legends’ Attic, a museum, or a ballpark.”

The original “Grace” painting was a result of a conversation between Newcombe and former Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti. Colletti teamed up with Hobrecht to produce “The All-Time Dodgers Art Book.”

“Dave informed me of the change of ownership of ‘Grace.’ I was so happy to hear it was Dodger legend Orel Hershiser.  After hearing Orel’s passion for us and “Grace”, we agreed it was in the perfect place!  Grace is a powerful and important piece that helps convey the Negro League’s importance in helping advance civil rights in this country.”

— Bob Kendrick, President of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum

The piece was donated to the museum in 2020 but was damaged en route. The wooden canvas arrived with a crack completely detaching the bottom portion of the painting from the rest.

“Not having a breakable spirit—that’s Jackie Robinson. The painting is broken, but you won’t break our spirit.  So we decided to unveil it with the damage and that it would be a metaphor that beautifully captures what Jackie was all about.”

— Bob Kendrick, President of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum

“I remember when I heard the painting was broken in half by FedEx I was so upset, frustrated…actually mad!”, said Hobrecht. “I remember flying to Kansas City to try and touch up ‘Grace’ before the ceremony for Jackie Robinson Day the following afternoon.  Once I arrived…that anger left.  It is impossible to not be inspired at The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. This place is magical.

“As I was touching up Jackie Robinson, Don Newcombe, Roy Campanella, and Martin Luther King Jr….a smiling Buck O’Neil portrait was in front of me.  It was an incredible feeling.  To top it off…listening to Bob Kendrick do his interviews all day…and hearing his knowledge…it’s something special.

“If you are anywhere near Kansas City, stop by and see ‘Grace.’ The story I heard had to be told on canvas.  Even more important…stop by the museum…to help celebrate, learn, and educate yourself on thousands of these untold stories in one of the most important sports museums in our country.”

Image Source: Steve Brener

Maren Angus

Maren Angus-Coombs was born in Los Angeles and raised in Nashville, Tenn. She is a graduate of Middle Tennessee State University and has been a sports writer since 2008. Despite being raised in the South, her sports obsession has always been in Los Angeles. She is currently a staff writer for Dodgers Nation and the LA Sports Report Network.

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