Remember, there’s only 4 days left to like Baseblog on Facebook, follow on Twitter or Tumblr and be entered to win ten free months of Sports Illustrated. Keep spreading the word and at the end of January we’ll find out who wins! In the meantime, the “Reliving SI Covers” mini-series will feature some of my favorite covers from the NL Central Division since the year 2000. Take a look at today’s installment.
Perhaps deciding to do top five lists with these covers after seeing what the Cardinals had in recent years was a bit premature. The Cincinnati Reds barely have five covers in the time frame that I’m looking at, one of which is very minor and probably shouldn’t even count. Oh well, onto the list:
5. Ken Griffey Jr., “Out at Home” – May 20th, 2002
Does this even count? Griffey is showing his swing in the top lefthand corner. However, Mike Tyson scares me, so I’ll just leave it at that.
4. Ken Griffey Jr., “Welcome Back” – June 14th, 2004
Six days after this issue came out, Junior hit his 500th home run, becoming the 20th player ever to accomplish such a feat on June 20th. Despite this cover’s description of a “healthy” Ken Griffey Jr., the outfielder ended up on the disabled list right before the All-Star Game. There are now 25 players in the 500 home run club, including two active players: Alex Rodriguez and Jim Thome (and, Manny Ramirez, if he finds a job).
3. Pete Rose, “Confession” – January 12th, 2004
A search for “Pete Rose” on the SI cover vault website yields seventeen results, the latest of which you see here. Rose was newsworthy not only for his contributions on the field but for his controversy off it. His 4,256 hits are the most all time, 67 ahead of the number two man Ty Cobb and 1,168 ahead of the current active leader Derek Jeter. The quote on this cover is straightforward, short, and powerful.
2. Joey Votto, “Time To Get Mean” – August 30th, 2010
The star first baseman for the Reds had a great season in 2010, leading the league in OBP (.424), SLG (.600), and in turn, OPS (1.024) on his way to a National League Most Valuable Player award. As for the first of September being the “time to get mean,” I’m not so sure. By August 31st the Reds were 77-55 with a 7 game lead over the St. Louis Cardinals. That lead isn’t as comfortable as it could be, but it’s not like they were two games behind. Going further back, Votto had this to say: “We’re taught to hate everything in the Central division.” It seems the mean attitude was there all along.
1. Ken Griffey Jr., “How the Reds Got Junior” – February 21st, 2000
Before Votto emerged into stardom, the Reds had Griffey, acquired from the Seattle Mariners for four players. Eleven days later, this cover hit the newsstands. Nothing could be a more perfect representation of Junior that this photograph: hat backwards, likable smile, and a bat to do some damage. And now, the color that he would wear for eight years. Griffey was in three all-star games and hit 210 home runs with the Reds before being traded to the Chicago White Sox in 2008. I think I’m in the majority when I say this is a very enjoyable magazine cover.