Former pro baseball player swings soul into painting

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Locklear, James. “Former pro baseball player swings soul into painting.” Fayetteville Observer Friday, 6 July 2001.


Gene Locklear, who was born in Mount Airy (northwest of Pembroke), was the first Lumbee to play major league baseball. He began his professional baseball career in 1969, when he signed with the Cincinnati Reds as a free agent. In 1973 he was traded to the San Diego Padres and in 1977 to the New York Yankees. After the 1977 season he left the Yankees and played in Japan. He retired from baseball in 1979. His career highlights include batting titles for the minor leagues in 1971 and 1972; hitting four home runs in one game; and his best season in 1975 (he hit .321 with the Padres and was the National League's pinch hit leader). Lowry had loved art since his school days. After retiring from baseball, he used the money he had saved to develop an art career. Now living in California, he paints sports personalities and themes; many of his works are commissioned. He has work on display in the White House and the Baseball Hall of Fame. He was the 1998 Super Bowl's official artist and is presently the official artist for the Arena Football League. He has painted baseball Hall of Fame player Ted Williams, golfer Phil Mickelson, and weightlifter Harold “Chief Iron Bear” Collins. He also paints Native American themes; his works have frequently been auctioned at the annual “Strike at the Wind!” fundraiser.

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Gene Locklear | Lumbee baseball players | Lumbee artists