Now is the time for all good Berkeleyside readers to come to the aid of the party.
The bas-relief (or for those who prefer the Italian to the French, the basso-rilievo) on a converted garage of this 9th Street home is vernacular art at its finest. The panels reflect on the glory of Oakland A’s of decades past. Repeated efforts to find out who made this art and why have led nowhere. All I know is that the Google Street View of the house in April 2011, shows no bas-relief, but when I walked by in late January 2013, it was there. Nothing more. Nobody’s home when I knock.
Surely a Berkeleyside reader can help?
These panels celebrate early minor league California League baseball in Oakland in the 19th century, professional cheerleader Krazy George Henderson who claims to have invented the “wave” crowd cheer on October 15, 1981, in an ALCS game between the Oakland A’s and the New York Yankees, and Rickey Henderson’s 1991 stolen base #939 that broke Lou Brock’s record.
The panels continue left to right, interspersed with several tiles that for all the world look like lovely child’s art.
The panels on the right celebrate the 1989 world champion A’s who defeated the Giants in a World Series interrupted by the Loma Prieta earthquake, the 1972 world champion A’s who won the World Series for the first time since 1930, and the late Bill King with his “Holy Toledo” home run calls. Bill King was also famous for “Not in your wildest alcoholic nightmare would you ever imagine such events unfolding!” but it apparently did not fit.
On the way to the front door of the house is another tribute to Bill King, whose laconic and intellectual analysis of sports was legendary and is missed.
The boys of summer live on here, Gene Tenace and his 1972 World Series heroics, Rickey “The Man of Steal” Henderson, the Bash Brothers, Billy Ball, and the voices of summer, Bill King and Lon Simmons.
If a Berkeleyside reader can fill in the blanks on the artist and backstory, please have at it. This is too wonderful a piece of quirky art to remain anonymous.
Tom Dalzell, a labor lawyer, created a website, Quirky Berkeley, to share all the whimsical objects he has captured with his iPhone. The site now has more than 8,600 photographs of quirky objects around town as well as posts where the 30-year resident muses on what it all means.
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