Baseball Hall of Fame’s loss is the Museum of Bad Art’s gain


It’s official: My creepy, ghoulish $11 oil painting will NOT be joining Ty Cobb’s wooden dentures or Curt Schilling’s bloody sock in Cooperstown.

Here’s the letter I received from the curators at the National Baseball Hall of Fame:


After purchasing this painting at an estate auction for Ted Williams’ third wife, I conducted an unscientific, nonbinding poll about which museum most deserved “Portrait of a Woman in Agony” as a donation. The Ted Williams Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida edged out the Museum of Bad Art (MOBA) in Boston by a 36-33 percent margin.

Because the poll is nonbinding, and reliable reports that Ted Williams’ family is not fond of my writing, I have no guilt whatsoever going the MOBA route.

MOBA, which is devoted to preserving “Art Too Bad to Be Ignored,” secured the donation this week after extensive e-mail negotiations between me and curator-in-chief Michael Frank — who recently authored a spectacular coffee table book. There will be a formal acceptance ceremony at a major MOBA art show this spring (Details TBA).


At left is the Claudia Williams painting, which will join artworks such as the “Mana Lisa,” a beardstubbled version of the original, at the cherished Boston institution.

I will also be donating the Baseball Hall of Fame rejection letter and the art auction’s certificate of authenticity, should any authenticity issues ever arise.

It should be noted that MOBA does NOT accept just any piece of horrific art. Just like the snobby art museums, they have standards and claim to reject more than 80 percent of the paintings offered to them.

“The pieces that we look for would never hang in a museum or commercial gallery, yet they have some quality that draws you to them — or perhaps grabs you by the throat and won’t let go.”

“As a rule we do not accept:

1. Works painted on velvet.

2. Paint-by-Number

3. Any of the well-known kitschy motifs (dogs playing cards, big-eyed kids and all that) unless they break new ground in a startling way.”

Keep your eye on this space for upcoming details about the gala affair celebrating “Portrait of a Woman in Agony.”

The Baseball Hall of Fame keeps rejecting Jim Rice, the most feared hitter of my generation. So I suppose, it’s not a shock that they turned down this precious slice of Americana. No hard feelings, though. I hope to revisit Ty Cobb’s dentures soon.


Filed under Museum of Bad Art (MOBA), Sports

7 responses to “Baseball Hall of Fame’s loss is the Museum of Bad Art’s gain

  1. Ted

    Wish I could make it to the unveiling!

  2. While the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY and the The Ted Williams Museum in St. Petersburg, FL are worthy institutions, Mr. Garnick has clearly chosen the appropriate repository for Miss Williams’ painting. “Portrait of a Woman in Agony” will be exhibited in one of our galleries after extensive review by our Conservation and Curatorial Departments. I look forward to receiving this fine addition to our collection in the near future.

  3. Marty

    The woman in agony has larger ears than Johnny Pesky, which is saying a lot.

  4. Darren

    I put up a link to this article on my site today.

    Let’s hope Jim Ed finds his way there next week.

    The Q

  5. Congratulations Darren. As Director of Everything Else for MOBA, your inclusion will assure us of continued high standings in the world of low art.

  6. This year the hall of fame accepted Jim Rice… Perhaps to make it up to you for the painting rejection?

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