2012 Jerry Malloy Negro League Conference Art Contest winners announced

The third annual Jerry Malloy Negro League Conference Art Contest attracted artwork from all over the nation in three categories: professional, amateur and youth. Art from the winners and runners-up will be on display in a special area at the conference, scheduled for July 19-21, 2012, at the Renaissance Cleveland hotel in Cleveland, Ohio.

The winning entry in the professional and amateur categories will receive a $400 prize and a certificate. The winning entry in the youth category will receive $200 and a certificate.

The winners and runners-up art will also be displayed this summer at Baseball Heritage Museum in Cleveland, along with two college campuses. Photos of the art will also be included in an upcoming issue of Black Ball: A Negro Leagues Journal, published by McFarland & Co.

Click on each image to see this year’s winning entries below:

Professional category: Darryl Shelton, “Memories Locked Away in a Drawer” 

Artist’s description: This painting depicts many facets of Satchel Paige and his life as a ballplayer. The drawer is a metaphor for the memories we lock away and occasionally go back to and remember the past. There is an acrylic canvas painting of Paige in a famous windup, barbwire so show the prejudice lines which kept African American players out of professional baseball, a section of a stadium seat with Satchel’s number 25 stenciled on it, a glazed over baseball, playing cards, a cigarette box and actual photos taken by me at the Rickwood Baseball Park in Birmingham, AL, where Paige and many other Negro League great played.

Artist’s bio: Darryl Shelton is a Bay Area artist and baseball fanatic who works as a successful illustrator, artist and college professor. He attended San Jose State University where he received his Bachelor’s degree in graphic design in 1985. After working in the design and advertising field for seven years, Darryl opened his own business in 1992 as a technical and conceptual illustrator creating work for companies such as Ericsson, Nokia, Cisco Systems, Apple, Redback Networks and many national magazines and agencies throughout the U.S. Darryl also works and is represented by Helen Ravenhill Represents, Kansas City, MO. He is also a popular adjunct college professor at the Art Institute, where he teaches all levels of graphic design, typography, illustration and advertising classes. Darryl’s baseball art has appeared in the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame, the Louisville Slugger Hall of Fame, the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame, a book and traveling show on Willie Mays entitled 24@75, Beckett Baseball Magazine and currently three pieces on exhibit at George Krevsky Gallery and two pieces at the Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, NY. Darryl has painted all his life, but in the past years has gotten back to painting what he loves—baseball.

Judges’ comments:

  • An evocative, intriguing construction of a Negro Leagues twirler. The screen-printed pitcher; the yellowed but gleaming baseball; agate type wraparound; and scattered memorabilia all combine to make a wonderful homage to players and days gone by.
  • It speaks to me as a fan, the way one collects mementos that have so much personal meaning (and yet end up destined to spend most of eternity in a drawer). I was surprised this one had so much power—I really enjoyed it a lot.
  • This reminds me of the shadow boxes (sometimes called “three-dimensional collages” or “combines”) of Joseph Cornell.  The items have been chosen carefully and arranged artfully.  The barbed wire certainly has special meaning regarding the Negro Leagues.  The final, almost melancholy touch is the inclusion of the Paige items in a drawing – putting a career and life away where it will be forgotten (eventually).  This is an outstanding work of art.


Amateur category: Milbert O. Brown Jr., “The Dream: Scoring by Inches”

Artist’s bio: Milbert O. Brown Jr. has loved baseball all of his life. As a fifth-grader, he met future Hall of Famer Lou Brock in the Chicago Cubs dugout on a sunny afternoon at Wrigley Field. When, Brock was traded to St. Louis, a young Brown listened to Cardinal games on the radio as he sat with his grandfather on the porch. Brown, a Gary, Indiana native, grew up near Chicago, but most of his family settled in St. Louis. So, he is both, a Cubs and Cardinals fan, because of his childhood meeting with Brock and his grandfather’s love for the Cardinals. Even though, Brown uses the camera and writing as an extension of his creative expression, painting has always remained as his hobby. The inspiration for his acrylic piece, “The Dream: Scoring by Inches” came years after listening to stories by former Negro League players as a newspaper journalist. He photographed, interviewed and wrote stories about several Negro players including his favorite, the late Ted “Double Duty” Radcliffe, a Chicago American Giant. Brown graduated from Ball State University with a B.S. in journalism and he holds a Master’s
degree from Ohio University. Currently, Brown is a college communication instructor in the Washington, D.C. area. He is also completing doctoral studies at Morgan State University. Brown, still watches the Cubs and paints when he is inspired.

Judges’ comments:

  • This artist’s work brings to mind the work of the great painter, Archibald Motley. It is a rare accomplishment; the artist is one of those gifted souls who project himself empathetically into every character he depicts. It is he flying, ball in hand, he skidding into home, he raising the score card, and he who feels the inner excitement of every fan in the stands. There are too many wonderful design details to enumerate; the two foreground figures, home-base and triangular lines create a single beautiful unit, the pennant echoes the flight of the catcher-just to name a couple. Bravo!
  • This is an outstanding example of the “naïve” art form used to portray action. The artist has taken full advantage of the informality and freedom of this art form. The catcher, on the left, is flying toward the base runner, attempting to make the tag. The runner is sliding under the tag to the joy of the Giants’ fans in the stands. According to the scoreboard this is the winning run of the game. This captures the excitement of the play perfectly. Very well done!
  • Love everything about this. The colors, the action, the scene, the flying hat of the catcher, the scorekeeper being so excited he’s putting up the score immediately, the reaction of the fans! Everything. Love it!


Youth category: Manning Feldner, “Baltimore Elite”

Artist’s bio: Manning is a fourth-grader at Conway Elementary School in Conway, South Carolina.

Comment from his art teacher: He is a self-motivated young man that loves art and sports. He also plays the guitar! He excels academically, and he is an absolute pleasure to be around. When this contest was introduced at CES, he immediately got to work in his spare time at home — researching the teams from a league he knew very little about. According to his mom, he settled on the Baltimore Elites because he loved the uniforms. Once he finished his piece, I knew immediately that he was on to something — the composition was just outstanding. Winning the youth division could not have happened to a better kid with a brighter future than Manning Feldner. He also loves wakeboarding, the South Carolina Gamecocks, and hunting & fishing.

Judges’ comments:

  • What I like about the artwork is that the artist did not use portraits but elements of the game to create a different look. A very smart composition and good use of color.
  • This artist has chosen to emphasize design values and succeeds with a nice assortment of interesting positive and negative shapes. Small shapes embellish the larger shapes they overlap. There is also an inventive use of ambiguous space.
  • Outstanding features include the outfielder catching the fly in front of the fence in the lower right corner; and the infielders who are attentively watching the play. The scale of the hat is intriguing as is the patch of blue in the upper left corner.


A special thanks to our panel who served as judges for this year’s art contest, including committee chair and renowned artist Benjamin Blackburn. Our judges are respected artists and experts in their fields and we thank each of them for their time:

  • John Wolfe
  • Audrey Vernick
  • Michael Massenburg
  • Byron Motley
  • Todd Peterson
  • David Baldwin
  • Jennifer Ettinger

The annual Jerry Malloy Negro League Conference is hosted by SABR’s Negro Leagues Research Committee, which encourages the study and research of African-American baseball and its influence on society and sport history. The conference promotes activities to enhance scholarly, educational, and literary objectives.

For the past 14 years, the conference has been the only symposium dedicated exclusively to the examination and promotion of black baseball history. The conference is open to baseball and history fans of all ages, not just SABR members.

To register for the 2012 Jerry Malloy Negro League Conference, visit SABR.org/Malloy.

Originally published: June 13, 2012. Last Updated: April 22, 2020.