the rookie

Norman Rockwell’s “The Rookie” Sells for $22.5 Million

When The Saturday Evening Post featuring Norman Rockwell’s painting “The Rookie” on its cover hit newsstands in March 1957, it would cost you 15 cents to the magazine home.

Now, close to sixty years later, the iconic painting, which featured former Boston Red Sox players Frank Sullivan, Billy Goodman, Sammy White and Jackie Jensen is worth millions.  A lot of them actually.  Recently, during an auction at Christie’s auction house, the painting sold for $22.5 million…just a hair more than half the Houston Astros payroll.

But this wasn’t the first time “The Rookie” has changed hands.  In 1986, the painting sold for $600,000.  I’m guessing you can feel free to blame the asking price on the Red Sox winning the World Series and not losing a heartbreaker to the New York Mets.

And while Norman Rockwell died in 1978…the rookie himself is still around.  Sherman “Scottie” Safford, now 75, was a high school student, when he was offered a job by the well known painter.

“Rockwell paid me $60 for each posing session,” Safford told The Berkshire Eagle. “I wish I had kept those checks; they might be worth more than that now.”

But back to that $22.5 price tag.

Experts had predicted “The Rookie” would end up selling for $20 million to $30 million…a far cry from the record amount spent on a Rockwell painting.  Back in December, Rockwell’s “Saying Grace” went for a cool $46 million.

Phenom! High school kid Sherman "Scotty" Safford poses as an up-and-coming pitcher for the Red Sox. The model never met the other players, most of whom posed for the painting in separate sessions.

Shawn Anderson

About Shawn Anderson

Shawn Anderson is that guy who, instead of sitting there talking about the game going on around him, is talking wise about the history of baseball. He believes baseball figures such as Tommy John, Harold Baines, Ron Guidry and Billy Martin deserve their own plaque somewhere if not in Cooperstown. You can follow him on Twitter at @HOVG.