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Who Is ... Mike Carmichael?

We've heard of a pitcher painting the corners, but come on....
Carmichael, a 57-year-old housepainter from Alexandria, Ind.,
began painting a regulation baseball in 1977. Now, 18,000 layers
later, the ball is 35 inches in diameter and weighs 1,300 pounds.
He recently applied for its inclusion in Guinness World Records
as the largest ball of paint.

WHAT IS HIS INSPIRATION? Carmichael says that when he was in high
school, he was playing catch with a pal when the ball got away
and came to rest in some paint. Carmichael took that ball and put
a few coats on it. It wasn't until years later, though, that he
began painting his current ball. "I did it for the heck of it,"
he says. "My first thought was that I'd put 1,000 coats on it to
see what it looked like. But when it got bigger and bigger,
friends encouraged me to keep working on it because they've seen
it grow."

WHAT HAS HE INVESTED? Mainly time (each morning he'll paint it
once and will often apply a couple of coats at night) and space
(the ball has moved from a spare room to a backyard shed, and
this summer Carmichael plans to build a barn to house it). One
thing he no longer needs to invest in is his primary material: He
recently signed a sponsorship deal with Sherwin-Williams, which
supplies his paint.

COLOR PHOTO: JOE KRUPA (CARMICHAEL) PAINT BY NUMBERS Carmichael hopes to put 20,000 coats on hisball.