Kansas City Artist Reaches the National Baseball Hall of Fame
“The Acquisitions Committee met yesterday afternoon and voted
to formally accept your artwork into the permanent collection.”
August 21, 2018. Baseball and art have always been a major part of Todd Aaron Smith’s life. He played baseball. He watched baseball. He knew every player’s name and statistics. He had a big collection of baseball cards, looked at them frequently and studied the backs of the cards. Todd also loved art. He could draw as well as anyone. Besides the usual comic book and cartoon characters, Todd also drew his favorite baseball players.
Fast-forwarding many years, Todd is still an artist and still has a love of the game of baseball. But now he
spends quite a bit of his time creating art for Topps Major League Baseball trading cards. It was a natural
connection. “I am so grateful to be able to make cards that will be found in packs of baseball cards,” said Todd,
“because I can remember the magic of opening a pack of cards when I was a kid and looking for my favorite
players.” Now Todd gets to contribute to that magic.
After his third set of Topps baseball cards, Todd found himself in contact with the Director of Collections for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York. The Museum Acquisitions Committee met and discussed Todd’s work and determined that there would be a high educational value to creating a display that shows the process for making art for baseball cards. This display will show the initial rough sketches, the final artwork, and the printed card. “I will never be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame,” Todd said, “but this is certainly the next best thing.” For his donation, Todd was given a Certificate of Donation from the Board of Directors and a Lifetime Pass into the Hall of Fame. More than 300,000 people visit the Museum each year, so plenty of people will be seeing this display. “I sometimes think about how anybody will remember me,” said Todd. “My artwork will be in the museum collection long after I am gone. I am so grateful for this opportunity and I hope people will enjoy the display. Perhaps many years from now, my descendants will visit the Museum and see my artwork. They will know that one of their ancestors contributed to art that is in the permanent collection of the National Baseball Hall of Fame.”
After his education at the Columbus College of Art & Design in Columbus, Ohio, Todd Aaron Smith went on to a career as a professional animator, working on such well-known properties as Batman: The Animated Series, Spider-Man, Family Guy, Godzilla, and many others. He has both written and illustrated nineteen children’s books, four of which appeared on the best-seller list. Todd has just completed the artwork for his fourteenth set of Star Wars trading cards, licensed by Lucasfilm, Ltd and distributed by Topps. He has also done licensed work for Marvel Comics, DC Comics, New Line Cinema, CBS Television, Columbia Pictures, 20th Century Fox, and others. He is also an accomplished Graphic Designer. While working on his third set of Topps Major League Baseball cards, Todd attracted the attention of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York. Todd’s artwork is in the permanent collection of the Hall of Fame with other well-known artists such as Norman Rockwell, LeRoy Neiman and Andy Warhol.