Number 29 for your Torotno Blue Jays

I turned eleven years old nine days before the Blue Jays won their first World Series, and I don't remember watching a lot of baseball before that. Sure, there are memories of driving people from their seats in the late 80's with the help of some blue and white plastic noisemakers, and a t-shirt to commemorate the 1989 ALCS, but nothing concrete.

Joe Carter, July 14th 1994

Photo: Paul K. Buck/AFP/Getty Images

I turned twelve just eight days before they won their second championship, and I don't remember a whole lot of baseball after that -- until recently, of course. I do remember a very long game, a picture of Ernie Whitt in my grandparents' foyer for some reason (on a program, I believe) and of course, hero to Torontonians everywhere, Joe Carter what with the touch-em-all and such.

One thing I don't remember about Carter was that on July 14th, 1994, he spent six innings roaming around right field in a jersey that read Torotno. Read that again: Torotno. Not only was it a bad day for the embroiderer who had their hands on said jersey, it was a bad day for Carter, who went 0-for-4 with two popouts, a flyout and a groundout. This particular photo captures so much ennui, so much hopelessness, with the drab background, the look on Carter's face, it's just perfect. Oh, on top of all that, the Jays lost that game 3-7.

Take the misspelled jersey, Carter's body language, his line for the game and the loss. Stretch your imagination a bit and combine them with the loss of the 1994 season, and you can't help but feel something about it. I know I certainly felt something, so I decided to commemorate it, and for the first time since high school, I painted.

Joe Carter Torotno

11" x 14" Acrylic on Canvas

After an hour here and an hour there, (mostly during pointless Raptors games) I now have Joe Carter and his misspelled jersey looking down on me when I sit on the couch, pondering my own futility. (Oh, so melodramatic!)

I think my next subject will be Colby Rasmus. Or my cat. Based on the picture below I'm going to have to start painting something soon because the wall is looking pretty bare.

This project is the final stage of something I made reference to in an earlier blog post, an Adobe Illustrator single-frame-rotoscope-esque drawing of the man in question. 

My wall. She's bare.

Joe Carter, Torotno detail

Joe Carter, Torotno detail

Bonus Joe Carter Fun Fact: Another thing I missed while not paying attention to baseball. Joe Carter wore the number 29 for his entire career, except for about a week at the end of the 1997 season when he wore the number 43. He made the switch to honor his manager and friend Cito Gaston who had been fired, and he wanted to show his displeasure at the situation. Stand up guy, that Joe.