The Dugout

17½”H X 21”W X 16”D • 168 LBS


The Dugout
Artwork - The Dugout

Norman Rockwell’s most famous baseball painting resides in the Brooklyn Museum. The line up in the dugout that day: Bob Rush the pitcher, Charlie Grimm, the manager, Al-Rube-Walker, the catcher and Johnny Schmitz, the All-Star Pitcher.

The young man standing on the grass was the Boston Braves batboy Frank McNulty, and Rockwell had a hard time getting him to stop smiling because his team was beating the Cubs!

The Dugout Feature Image 1

It’s the bottom of the ninth and it’s not looking good for the Chicago Cubs as they are about to lose their 2nd game of the day in a double header against the Boston Braves here at wrigley Stadium. The crowd is in an uproar as braves fans are jeering at the losing Cubs and celebrating their home team’s certain win.

We take a look inside the dugout to see if the Cubs manager, Charlie Grimm, has anything up his sleeve to try and pull off a miracle win but seems like he’s in as much disbelief as the rest of the crowd at what a defeat the Cubs have had to endure today.

The Dugout Feature Image 2

Grimm is slouching on the bench in between his pitcher Bob Rush to his left, and his catcher, Al Walker, to his right. The team’s despair is best seen in the batboy’s forlorn face. It looks like someone ran over his dog!

All star pitcher, Johnny Schmitz, stands next up for bat as another player strikes out. And just think, it was only 3 years ago that the Cubs won the pennant. At this rate, it won’t be another 100 years before the Cubs do that again!

The Dugout Feature Image 3

Norman Rockwell was on the field that day to take pictures of the Cubs players for an upcoming cover of the Saturday Evening Post, except the photos were taken before the double header even began.

The Cubs would go on to lose both games with a score of 5-8 the first game and 4-12 the second. The Cubs had been doing poorly all season and by the time the magazine was released in October, the Cubs had the worst record in the National League. It’s a wonder how the players ever agreed to be a part of a photo shoot and magazine cover highlighting their failure.

The Dugout Feature Image 4

The magazine hit stands September 4, 1948 and it may have been the beginning of the Cubs’ image of loveable losers which would continue to describe the team until their historic win 108 years later.

Rockwell had begun to take photographs of his models and work with those over livemodels. At Wrigley’s stadium, he and a photographer had several fans hold specific poses for the photos so that Rockwell could later compile a jeering crowd. He included other models for this painting such as neighbors and friends and even a self-portrait can be seen in the upper left-hand corner.

The Dugout Feature Image 5

The players all posed for the photos themselves and the bat boy, Frank McNulty, who was the actual batboy for the Boston Braves, was asked to stand in as the Cub’s batboy. He found it hard to keep a sad face as his team was doing so well, and he was excited to be featured on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post!

Frank was given a Cubs uniform to wear and after several attempts Rockwell had to finally tell him “Try to think of how you would feel if your dog died – that’s the look I want.”

The Dugout Feature Image 6

The Dugout was one of the few Saturday Evening Post covers that was done in watercolor. Needing to hit a deadline, Rockwell had to abandon the oil painting he was working on and opt for the fast drying watercolor version.

The watercolor version can now be seen in the Brooklyn Museum. Rockwell did complete two other versions in oil, one of which sold at auction in 2001 for $345,000.

Related Links

The Dugout by Norman Rockwell, Brooklyn Museum

The Dugout, The Saturday Evening Post, September 4,1948

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