From luminaries like Stan the Man and Yogi Berra, to kids playing sandlot ball, The Saturday Evening Post knew no equal when it came to great baseball covers.
Not only did these St. Louis kids have to miss school (awww!), they had to sit and pose with Stan the Man Musial. What a rough life. The lucky youngsters wound up with forty Musial autographs. “Wow!” one said in awe. “Will we clean up selling these at school!” We’re sure at least one of them has wished he’d kept it.
Who doesn’t love Yogi Berra? Long before he became famous for maiming the English language, Berra was catcher for the New York Yankees. Artist Earl Mayan got him to pose in Yankee Stadium for this cover. Love the fan faces! The editors informed us they were friends of the artist and “were real nice-looking people till he asked them to look like baseball fans.”
While we admire the pros, there’s nothing like a family baseball game. It’s 1950 and Uncle Baldy can’t decide whether to pitch or throw to Aunt Sally in the yellow dress on second base and catch the guy out. We have to say Aunt Martha’s batter’s stance is interesting. The editors speculated that the umpire was selected “because he has a natural chest protector”. Well, a natural belly protector, anyway.
It’s no surprise that they played baseball in 1910, as we see in this cover. What surprised us was the artist – none other than Anton Otto Fischer. Mostly famous for his masted ships rolling over foaming waves, Fischer also was great at painting people. This slice-of-landlubber-life captures the action perfectly. Interesting catcher’s mitt!
Artist John Clymer was known for his beautiful landscapes. Sure, he manages here to paint Oregon in all its spring glory, pink blooms, Mount Hood and all. But the eye is drawn here to the fine pitching form of Miss Pigtails and the concentration of the batter. The trees may be budding and the grass greening, but kids’ thoughts turn to baseball. It must be spring!
Descriptions by Diana Denny.
“It’s like déjà vu all over again!”
What a career! Yogi Berra spent almost 19 years with the Yankees as an outfielder and catcher, was named American League Most Valuable Player three times, and participated in 21 World Series (as a player, manager, and coach).
And he’s one of the most quotable people on the planet.
Earl Mayan posed Berra in Yankee Stadium for this 1957 cover. Most of the yelling, cat-calling, complaining fans behind the catcher were friends of the artist who, editors assured us, “were real nice-looking people till he asked them to look like baseball fans.”
The “fans” are keeping an eye on the action, heeding Berra’s advice, “You can observe a lot just by watching.”
Berra is playing his part well, concentrating on that high, fly ball because, “baseball is 90 percent mental—the other half is physical.” But, actually, we don’t know how much of this is true, since, “I didn’t really say everything I said.”
Gotta love the guy.
“Mr. Moore” to the left isn’t overly concerned with nature’s bounty. He had one little bloom and let it get all droopy.
Although the sign on the house says “Moore,” he doesn’t fool us: As our cover artists sometimes liked to do, the part of the disappointed golfer was played by illustrator Earl Mayan himself. A Long Island buddy of the artist posed for the part of the happy gardener.
Mayan illustrated 10 Post covers and over a hundred fictional stories that appeared in the magazine in the ’50s and ’60s. The stories ran the gamut from spy thrillers to detective mysteries to this gem we found from 1951.
A saloon singer in the gold mine camps of 1853, Prudence Ledyard, came out with two revolvers blazing when she came across some toughs trying to jump her claim. Turns out they weren’t as tough as they thought they were, and thereafter the demure saloon girl was known as “Madame Forty-Four,” which was the title of this 1951 story by Michael Foster.
“Wedding and Rehearsal”
One thing we can say about the slackers in the first panel: They clean up good. The groomsmen are slouching, the bridesmaids are yawning or applying make-up and the flower girl is yo-yoing. But a magic wand was waved and somehow this group materialized into a proper ceremony. And it was an actual wedding that Mayan painted.
Editors noted “when Mayan felt sorry about having to paint the Very Rev. Albert Greanoff’s back view, he then put him in the pews a couple of times, front face. This may surprise the rector.”
In the post-war ’50s, urban sprawl created problems such as traffic jams. Or perhaps it was just pretty girls.
Frustrated drivers are understandably irate as the traffic cop lingers in a female-induced coma, but we get a terrific view of the mid-1950 automobiles.
Geeze! Dey complain if you don’t plow, then complain if you do!
Okay, we know you’ve heard this story before, but isn’t it nice seeing all that snow during the summer sizzle?
One more, because this is one Earl Mayan cover I can’t resist. It’s the top of the ninth, the score is tied, and there are two strikes on the board, for crying out loud.
What I love most is the “what can you do?” look on dad’s face as he hauls away the little fan who couldn’t last any longer.