Friday, December 16, 2011

Ted Williams, Arthur Griffin, and me...

I've got some very exciting news about my upcoming book, There Goes Ted Williams. But first, a little background...

One day during the 1939 baseball season, acclaimed photographer Arthur Griffin spent a couple hours at Fenway Park, taking pictures of lanky Red Sox rookie, Ted Williams. Griffin took several rolls of pictures using his usual 35mm black and white camera, but he also brought along a new 4"x 5" view camera, because Eastman Kodak had asked him if he would test out their newly-created color film.

These color photos that Griffin took of Ted Williams back in 1939 are some of the most beautiful baseball photographs I've ever seen, and the very first color photographs ever taken of Ted Williams. It's amazing to see him in full color at 20 years old. You can tell why they called him "The Kid".

You my have seen some of these pictures without even realizing it. Remember this image of Ted Williams that graced the cover of Sports Illustrated after he passed away in 2002? This is one of the pictures Arthur Griffin took that day in 1939:

Fast forward to October of 2011. A family friend visited my parents, and brought a gift to pass along to me- two photographs of Ted Williams that had belonged to her husband, a childhood friend of my father's, who passed away recently. They didn't mean much to her, and she thought I might appreciate them, since she knew I had been working on a book about Ted Williams. Here they are:

I've got them up on my studio wall, and I just keep staring at them. Two 11 x 14 color prints, taken by Arthur Griffin that day in 1939, autographed by Arthur Griffin AND by Ted Williams! 

I'm sure she could have gotten a lot of money for these treasures, and I'm blown away that she decided to give them to me. Here's a closer look at each:

I think this one is my favorite, because it captures Ted Williams so well. Even when he's posing with his glove, he's still working on his batting stance.

Or maybe this one is my favorite...
Getting this amazing gift gave me an idea. I was hoping to find somewhere in the Boston area to host a launch party for There Goes Ted Williams. Seeing these pictures made me think that maybe the Arthur Griffin Museum in my hometown, Winchester, Massachusetts would be the perfect place. I could sign copies of my book while people enjoy an exhibit of Arthur Griffin's amazing Ted Williams photographs.

To make a long story slightly less long... I mentioned the idea to Judy Manzo, bookseller extraordinaire and owner of my hometown independent bookstore, Book Ends. She loved the idea, and offered to show an advance copy of the book to the people at the Arthur Griffin Museum, which she did. Their response was so much better than I even hoped for. They don't just want to host a launch party. They want to host an exhibit of Arthur Griffin's 1939 photographs AND my original artwork from my book, There Goes Ted Williams!

So that's the exciting news! I'll have more formal promo materials as the date approaches, but for now, here are the details:

There Goes Ted Williams: Matt Tavares and Arthur Griffin
The Griffin Museum of Photography, in Winchester, Mass
Exhibit will run April 5 through May 27, 2012
Opening reception: Thursday, April 12, 7:00-8:30pm
Artist talk and book signing:  Sunday, April 22, 3:00pm
(signed books will also be available at the opening reception)

Winchester's excellent independent bookstore, Book Ends, will be handling book sales at both events.

I'm really looking forward to this, and I'm so honored to know that my Ted Williams illustrations will be up on the wall with Arther Griffin's photographs. If you're anywhere near Winchester, Mass, I hope to see you at the opening!

illustration from There Goes Ted Williams: The Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived, by Matt Tavares


  1. Hey Matt,

    That is really exciting news. If I'm in town that weekend, I'll try to swing by the signing. I'll also be sure to pass this on to some friends who are now living in Winchester. The Arthur Griffin museum will be a great venue for this event.

    Congratulations and I love those photos. What a gift!

  2. Thanks Joe! I hope to see you then. And thanks for spreading the word. It should be a lot of fun.

  3. Hi Matt, I will certainly come by! That is so exciting! My parents and my kids, really my whole family are not only Red Sox/ Ted Williams fans but huge fans of YOURS!!!! I will make sure we all mark it on our calanders so we can be there!! Keep up your amazing work!!!
    ~Ellen (Weber) Stenmon

  4. Thanks so much Ellen! Looking forward to seeing you there!

  5. Judy Manzo - Book Ends ownerDecember 27, 2011 at 10:37 AM

    Part of your "long story short" is that with the publication of your first book in 2000- Zachary's Ball - about Fenway Park -you had your debut "book signing" at Book Ends and then had a family celebration party at the Griffin Museum for Photographic Art ---so the hometown ties are strong and you continue to be a one of the outstanding alumni of Winchester Public Schools!

  6. Thank you Judy! I'm so grateful for all that you and Book Ends have done for me and my books. I'm planning on posting something about Book Ends as this event appraoches, with some of those great photos you took at my very first book signing ever, back in 2000.

  7. A few years ago a client sent me an autographed picture of Ted Williams and Arthur Griffin from 1939. He told me there were only 200 made. This is the same picture as the one you have. I had no idea the back story of this pucture. Thank you for sharing!!

    Tom Adamek

  8. Matt- I just found your site and this post. Well done on the book. I also have several Griffin photographs autographed by Williams. I was hoping to find out the date Williams posed for Griffin. Do you happen to know the date?