Notes from Shim
Warren C. Giles Trophy awarded to the winner of the NLCS (National League Championship Series)
Writing by Dana Shimrock
In the Spring of 2014, a representative of the National Baseball League contacted me. He had received a recommendation from someone familiar with my work who knew I had done some sports trophies and other larger commissions. He wanted to know if I was interested in designing a new Warren C. Giles trophy for the National Baseball League, and if I could submit some portfolio work for the executive committee to review. They then reviewed my portfolio and asked me to submit renderings for a new trophy. Once I completed the design proposals, I conferred with the MLB trophy committee to arrive at a final design and began getting to work.
The original Warren C. Giles trophy was created in 1967. The trophy stays with the winner of the NCLS (National League Championship Series) for the entire year, until the completion of the next baseball season, when it moves on to the home of the next winners of the NCLS.
When designing the piece, I wanted to pay homage to the original Giles trophy, and therefore maintained some of the original elements, while at the same time modernizing the trophy and creating my own artistic interpretation.
The original trophy had 16 columns to represent the 16 teams at the start of the League; but, that number kept changing, which was one of the reasons the League wanted a new trophy. Therefore, I retained some of the column design, but did not want those columns to represent a finite number, so they were placed on the 5 points of the home plate-shaped motif that I created.
The wooden baseball at the top of the original trophy was significant, so I included it in the design, but rather than wood it is cast it in bronze, then plated in nickel and 24 carat gold.
The original trophy was all square, but I wanted to create a more unique shape. I decided to not have a single right angle anywhere, and I chose to use the shape of home plate as the central motif. The plates were cut into aluminum to reduce weight, then plated in nickel and trimmed in black nickel. Many thanks to Mike Goetz of Augustine Die and Mold in Somerset, PA, and his workers, for their expertise in helping to design the infrastructure that makes the trophy strong enough to be handled by the wildly excited ball players that receive it!
All of the wood was Koa, the only true figured American exotic…The columns were turned on a lathe then capped with finials plated in nickel/24carat gold.
Now the really challenging part was the creation of the center piece that displayed baseball players in action poses. I wanted to retain the concept of action figures that were on the original trophy, but I did not want to have the normal scratch type engravings, so the hunt was on to find an engraver that would have the ability to create a process that would allow me to get the intaglio effect for the action player figures. Seven months into the project, I found an embossing die company, Metal Magic out of Phoenix, AR, and convinced them that we could work together to achieve the sharp detail I needed. They normally only work on embossing dies in flat surfaces of brass, so I had to convince them that if they could engrave what I designed, I could cut out the sides and solder them together for the final sculptural piece. It was the toughest soldering job I have ever attempted and after much nervous anticipation, it, thankfully, came out just the way I wanted it to look. After that central sculpture was assembled and finished, it was also plated in nickel/24 gold.
The base for the center structure was acid etched with the signatures of all the past presidents of the National League.
Working in, what I now call the “longest-EVER slide into home plate” I was definitely pushed to the limits of my abilities and patience. The learning curve I experienced left me with a new found sense of confidence in the fact that “it can be done” with enough perseverance and passion, no matter how difficult and challenging the job, and that is a gift that will stay with me. Not to mention the thrill of seeing the new Warren G. Giles trophy raised in the air by Tom Ricketts, owner of the Chicago Cubs, after the Cubs triumphed over the LA Dodgers 5-0 in the historic game 6 of the NLCS. This was the first time the Cubs have earned a trip to the World Series since 1945! I like to think maybe the new trophy was a good luck charm and helped to break the 70 year long drought the Chicago Cubs endured before winning the 2016 National League Championship Series. If the Cubs win the World Series, it will be their first championship since 1908!
A few weeks back I got the chance to meet an amazing local wood artist, Tom Shimrock (Shimbo). I was invited out to his art studio to grab some shots of the latest piece of Shimrock Wood Art. The recently completed National League Championship Series Trophy… before he shipped it off to New York.
Now that the Trophy has been awarded to Cubs owner Tom Ricketts, after their triumph over the Dodgers two days ago, I thought I’d share Shimbo’s triumph in the creation of such an amazing piece of work.
There’re so many intricacies…from the Koa wood structure to the gold relief carving. Below is a small collection of images, along with the NLCS trophy hand-off video to the Cubs