The old saying is that a picture is worth a thousand words. Daniel Duffy does it the other way around.
The Philadelphia artist set out recently to render Camden Yards the only way he knows: as handwritten “word art,” illustrating his subject with text inspired by the source material. He’s done 2Pac with the rapper’s lyrics; the Philadelphia Eagle with the team’s all-time roster; even José Altuve with every date, score and opponent of every Houston Astros game this past season.
Camden Yards was a similar challenge. The name of every Orioles player since 1954, the year the franchise moved to Baltimore, would make up the vista. All 1,046 of ’em. The planning alone took about five hours, Duffy said. Early on, he considered giving Cal Ripken Jr. and Brooks Robinson plum positions. Then he decided against it.
“I was only 3 years old for the Orioles vs Phillies 1983 World Series,” the Philadelphia Phillies fan wrote in an email, “but I still haven't forgotten it. I've carried that chip on my shoulder ever since.”
Once he figured out the perspective of the picture that would be most accommodating, he went to work on his 16-by-20-inch canvas.
He labored for two weeks over the piece, planning, sketching, shading, coloring. Camden Yards “literally started a stadium revolution,” Duffy said, inspiring even the design of his beloved Citizens Bank Park, but some of its most distinctive features were a real pain in the back to flesh out. Incorporating Baltimore’s skyline was as tough as finding quality starting pitching. The Warehouse, with its rows of windows stretching wide, unwittingly cutting into Duffy’s names, was an inconvenience.
But on Friday, at last, he wrote the 1,046th name.