A Norman Rockwell painting of the Boston Red Sox locker room that appeared on the Saturday Evening Post cover in March 1957 is set to be auctioned off by Christie’s, an auction house in Boston, with a pre-auction estimate of $20 million to $30 million, according to Boston.com.
The painting, titled “The Rookie (Red Sox Locker Room),” features former Sox pitcher Frank Sullivan, right fielder Jackie Jensen, catcher Sammy White, second baseman Billy Goodman and Hall of Famer Ted Williams all sitting in the team locker room, facing an awkward newcomer arriving for spring training.
Sullivan and Rockwell’s model for the rookie, Sherman Safford, were at Fenway Park on Monday with the painting. Sullivan said he and his teammates didn’t even know who Rockwell was when they were asked to pose for the painting at Rockwell’s home in Stockbridge, Mass.
“We were just ballplayers,” Sullivan said, via The Troy Record. “We were just doing what we were told to do, and then to have it go like it has and become something of value as they claim it’s gonna be, it’s just unbelievable.”
Safford was a high school athlete at the time, from the nearby town of Pittsfield, Mass., when Rockwell asked him to pose for the painting. Rockwell paid him $120, which Safford said he used to pay for his car insurance.
Williams, who was nearing the end of his career, was the only player who did not pose in Rockwell’s hometown, according to The Record. The artist relied on baseball cards and photographs for the details of Williams’ face.
The painting hits the auction block May 22.
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