Bonnie Baseball: The Instructional League Photographs

June 1, 2005 - September 30, 2005
Central Library, Youth Wing
Bonnie Baseball: The Instructional League Photographs

by James Ferguson

In 1949 at the height of Brooklyn's post-war love affair with the Dodgers, Albert Bonnie Sr., a successful business owner in East Flatbush, realized his dream of bringing sandlot baseball to the community's youth. Today, under the leadership of Athletic Director and President, Jerry Katzke, the Bonnie Youth Club continues to provide a full-time year round baseball and mentoring program for over 400 of our community's youth between the ages of 5 and 21. This dedicated and determined corps of coaches and managers teach the fundamentals of baseball, sportsmanship and fair play, while providing necessary leadership and guidance. Many of the children cultivate a life-long passion for the game, move through the ranks of the organization, return as managers or coaches, and earn baseball scholarships along the way.

These photographs document the 2004 season that ran from June to September. Our players, under the guidance of league director Max Sanchez and his expert coaching staff, spent many hours performing drills. In a sense, baseball is a medium by which these children "learn how to learn." They cultivate kinesthetic awareness, gross motor skills, self-discipline and teamwork. These young people develop the confidence and self-esteem that comes from hard work and achievement while making friends and having fun. The photographs - silver gelatin prints - capture the intensity of their experience.

BPL Exhibition, James FergusonDuring the 1980s, James Ferguson established himself as a promising new voice in contemporary American poetry. Since the early 1990s, he has directed his energies toward fine-art black and white photography. In 2000, he was awarded the prestigious Conde-Nast grand prize for travel photography and was a 2004 My Brooklyn finalist for outstanding photography. Last year, Ferguson was an assistant coach for the Bonnie Lions. His son, Gil, is enjoying his second season playing baseball the Bonnie way.