The Blackwing 56, the DiMaggio pencil, sold out in 8 days, but there are still some available on our sister site Pencils.com and in our retail stores around the world. Here’s a list of stores that carry the pinstripe pencil:
Rock Paper Scissors
Baseball is etched into our national consciousness in graphite. The “Shot Heard ‘Round the World,” Gibson’s walk off against Eckersley, and every game of Joe DiMaggio’s 56 game hitting streak have been catalogued and chronicled using the time-tested art of baseball scoring.
Baseball scorekeeping was invented by Henry Chadwick, the “father of baseball,” in the 1870s. Though the game has evolved and the complexities of scorekeeping have changed over the past 140+ years, the goal of scorekeeping has remained the same: to record each play as it unfolds. To the untrained eye, a baseball scorecard can look like a random series of numbers, letters and shapes. Once you know what you’re looking for, the art of scorekeeping opens up a whole new side of the sport. Using a series of abbreviations, designations and shorthand, scorekeepers can paint a vivid picture of a baseball game.
There is no definitive method of scorekeeping; baseball scoring is as unique to the scorer as the scorecard is to a particular game. But there are some basic principals that carry over, no matter the scorer. Below is a collection of some commonly used abbreviations and scoring techniques.
Major League Baseball provided their own take on the art form in a blog post on MLB.com.
“If the hitter grounds out to shortstop, for example, write in “6-3,” which shows the shortstop threw him out at first base. If the hitter flies out to left field, write a “7.”
If the batter gets a hit, write in the hit according to which base he reached. Each corner of the box represents a base, with the lower-right corner being first.
If he singles, put a “-” in the lower right. If he doubles, write a “=” in the upper right, and so on. For a walk, use “BB” in the lower right. As the runner advances, mark the appropriate symbol in the appropriate corner.
If a runner scores, put a circle at the bottom of the box, and inside the circle put the symbol of the play and/or the player that drove him in. For example, if the No. 5 hitter drives in two runs with a single, mark his single in the bottom right of his box and mark a circle with the number “5” in it in the boxes of the runners who score (Some people like to use uniform numbers here, so you can tell who did what, even after lineup changes).
At the end of each inning, total the hits and runs for that inning only. At the end of the game you’ll be able to add the innings total to get the game score.”
Included with every Volumes subscription is a scorecard of the 56th game of Joe DiMaggio’s hitting streak. Every play of that historic game has been chronicled using a Blackwing 56 pencil. You’ll also find a blank scorecard, so you can create your own baseball memory.
If you aren’t a subscriber, or are just a really avid scorer, you can download our scorecard below.
The release of the Blackwing 56 was very much a labor of love for a team full of baseball enthusiasts. Along the way, we discovered some pretty astounding things about Joe DiMaggio’s famous streak. Hours spent scouring sites like Baseball-Reference.com and Baseball-Almanac.com, even helped us make a few connections that have never been published (to our knowledge). Here are the the 17 most interesting facts we discovered about Joe DiMaggio’s 56 game hitting streak while making the Blackwing 56 pencil.
Note: the number 17 is significant in that, well, that’s how many we came up with.
1. Joe DiMaggio won the American League MVP award in 1941 over Ted Williams who hit .406 – the last time anyone hit .400 for an entire season. Incredibly, White Sox pitcher Thornton Lee and his 22-game winning performance actually received a first place vote over two of the most iconic single season performances in baseball history. It was the only first-place MVP vote Lee, who finished fourth overall in the voting behind Bob Feller, ever received.
2. Lost in the streak season was White Sox OF Taft Wright setting an AL record with at least one RBI in 13 consecutive games.
3. DiMaggio’s salary for the 1941 season was $37,500. Phillies 1B Ryan Howard is currently hitting .150 yet makes over $150,000 PER AT BAT, four times as much as DiMaggio earned all season.
4. DiMaggio’s failure to extend the streak just one more game may have cost him $10,000 (which which would have equated to a 25% pay increase). The Heinz Corporation reportedly offered Dimaggio a bonus in that amount for endorsing their popular “Heinz 57” line had the streak reached 57 games.
5. DiMaggio had 91 hits during the streak, with 15 HRs and 55 RBIs.
6. St. Louis Browns teammates Bob Harris and Elden Auker gave up more hits to DiMaggio during the streak than any other pitchers. Auker was an All-american QB at Kansas State and turned down an offer to play QB for the Chicago Bears to pursue professional baseball. His reward? The first batter he faced in the big leagues was Babe Ruth. (Ruth struck out on four pitches).
7. DiMaggio struck out just five times during the streak. His last strikeout during the streak was on June 8. He did not whiff for the final 32 games of the hitting streak, and not again until July 26, 42 games later.
8. DiMaggio did not bunt for a hit during the streak.
9. DiMaggio used a 42-ounce Louisville Slugger during the streak.
10. May 28th marked the first ever night game at Washington DC’s Griffith Stadium. DiMaggio tripled as the Yanks beat the Senators 6-5 and extend his streak to 13 games.
11. After DiMaggio recorded two hits off future hall of famer Bob Feller on June 2nd, the New York Times reported: “DiMaggio, incidentally, has hit safely in nineteen straight games’’. This was believed to be the first printed reference to the streak.
12. On June 19th, Cheerios invented their now famous O-shaped cereal. Joe D. had 3 hits and an HR against the White Sox that day to extend his streak to 32 games. No idea if the Yankee Clipper ate his Wheaties that morning.
13. The streak was interrupted by the 1941 All-Star Game at Briggs Stadium in Detroit. DiMaggio was 1-for-4 against the National League, which means he technically hit in 57 straight games.
14. The streak almost ended at 35 games. On June 24 against St. Louis, DiMaggio was hitless when he stepped in against Browns’ right-hander Bob Muncrief in the bottom of the 7th. Browns manager Luke Sewell ordered Muncrief to walk DiMaggio, but Muncrief refused. Instead he delivered a strike that DiMaggio batted into LF for a single to keep the streak alive.
15. When the streak began on May 15th, the Yankees were in fourth place with a record of 14-14, 5 1/2 games behind Cleveland. After Game #56, they were 55-27 and in first place with a six game lead over the Indians.
16. The Yankees’ previous record for a hitting streak was 29 games shared by Roger Peckinpaugh in 1919 and Earle Combs in 1931. Combs was Yankees’ first-base coach in 1941 while Peckinpaugh watched Game #56 from across the diamond – as the Indians’ manager.
17. DiMaggio once had a 61-game hit streak with the Pacific Coast League’s San Francisco Seals in 1933.
Subscribers who have been with us since the beginning will find a little something extra in their shipment. Inspired by the challenge coins used by military members, philanthropic organizations and other groups, we’ve created a coin for the founding members of the Blackwing Volumes program.
Side one of the coin features the numbers of the first four Volumes releases (725, 211, 1138 & 24). Side two features a drawing of a Calocedrus decurrens frond. Celocedrus decurrens is commonly known as Genuine Incense-cedar, the best wood in the world for pencil making, and the only wood used in Blackwing pencils.
Challenge coins are traditionally used to prove membership. Some groups and members take it a step further, forcing members caught without their coin to answer any challenge presented to them. We can’t tell you how to use it; how a challenge coin is used is dictated by the members who carry it. But we can give you a few ideas:
- General challenge. Like truth or dare, but you can only pick dare. Members caught without their coin must accept any challenge made by the challenging party.
- Pencil steal. Members caught without their coin must sacrifice a pencil to the challenging party.
- Create-off. Members caught without their coin must create something (doodle, haiku, photo-realistic portrait) for the challenging party.
- POG revival. Is it just us, or would this coin make an awesome slammer?
Whether you use the coin to steal pencils and issue challenges, or put it on your shelf alongside your other trophies, we hope you’ll accept it as a symbol of our thanks. Without you, Blackwing Volumes would not have had the success that it has.
Sam Larson is a freelance artist from Portland Oregon and founder of the Steel Bison brand.