Graphic artist has a role for models He builds baseball parks in miniature, to sell

THE BALTIMORE SUN

As a boy, Steve Wolf had two passions -- baseball and model trains.

He used to draw pictures of ballparks and built working models of bridges and other structures for his train layout.

Now the suburban Chicago graphic artist builds models of baseball parks, complete with working scoreboards and lights.

"I've been drawing pictures of ballparks since I can remember," he says. "I decided, why not build one? . . . I adore all the old ballparks of the past. Fields are all different. The outfields, the stands are all different."

His first project was 12 1/2 feet worth of Wrigley Field bleachers, authentic but not to any scale, because "I thought it would be cool."

Wolf, a Chicago White Sox fan, also figured he could sell it. He contacted all the Chicago television stations, thinking one might like it as a backdrop for a sports show. Two wanted to interview him but not to buy the model. He sold it to a Cubs fan.

He also has made a model of Forbes Field and a quarter-inch-scale model of the original Comiskey Park. He's making an eighth-inch-scale Wrigley Field.

"I just build 'em 'cause I love 'em," he says.

Wolf, 42, says a model can take 1,200 hours. Models are made of wood (balsa, pine, some hardwoods), aluminum, plaster, composite materials, steel bracing and Plexiglas. His Wrigley Field project sits on a 7 1/2 -foot square platform. "I've never done a complete one this large," he says.

Although his customers have been fans, Wolf envisions other roles for his models -- as trade-show booths and in sports-theme bars and restaurants. "I'm taking it from a hobby thing," he says.

Wolf says price depends on size (desktop or larger, the whole park or a section) and complexity. Contact him at Major League Models, 1262 Ranch View Court, Buffalo Grove, Ill. 60089 or phone (708) 821-0656.

Keys' holiday sale

Frederick Keys merchandise is on sale at the Keys Cafe at Harry Grove Stadium in Frederick.

In addition to discounted 1995 merchandise, the Keys are selling 1996 season-ticket plans.

Holiday sale hours are Monday-Friday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from noon to 4 p.m.

Bowman football

Bowman Football is a 357-card set featuring veterans, draft picks and 27 expansion team players on all-foil cards.

Look for them this week.

Finest Football II

Topps' Finest Football Series II is due in mid-December with 110 cards that include rookies Rashaan Salaam and Frank Sanders.

SP football

Upper Deck completes its Joe Montana trilogy insert with four cards in SP football. SP football, in its third season, is a hobby-only set with 200 basic cards plus inserts.

There are also tribute cards of Montana and Dan Marino.

Coming events

Through Dec. 31, "The Faces of Baseball," exhibit featuring more than 40 photographic portraits of baseball's most famous faces, Babe Ruth Museum, 216 Emory St., 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., (410) 727-1539.

Through Jan. 2, card show, Golden Ring Mall (I-695, Exit 34), mall hours.

Today, card show, Essex CC (expected signers include Robin Roberts, Rich Ashburn, Rollie Fingers and George Kell), 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., (800) 542-3976.

Today, card show, State Farm Show Complex East Building, Harrisburg, Pa. (I-83, Exit 23), (expected signers include Rich Ashburn), 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., (717) 939-1075.

Card of the week

SkyBox Premium NBA cards have a new logo for 1995-96. Series 1 has 150 cards, and insert cards include three draft pick exchange cards. (Shown is Dunbar graduate Muggsy Bogues of the Charlotte Hornets.)

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