Great Baseball Magazine Covers

Great Baseball Magazine Covers April 4 is Major League Baseball's opening day, with the World Champion New York Yankees playing the always dangerous Boston Red Sox at 8p in Fenway Park. The New York Mets open the following day, with a home game against the Florida Marlins. We've dug deep into our archives to present some great baseball magazine covers to celebrate the start of the season.

This story was co-produced by Linda Rubes.

Above: GQ, April 2011, featuring Derek Jeter.
Design Director: Fred Woodward, Photograph by Terry Richardson.

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Above: The New Yorker, February 23, 2009, illustration by Barry Blitt. The illustration features  three-time American League MVP New York Yankee third baseman Alex "A-Rod" Rodriguez, who in 2009 admitted to using steroids as a player during the years 2001-2003.

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(Left): Time, August 28, 1971, illustration by Bob Peak. Left-handed Oakland Athletics pitcher Vida Blue was the American League Cy Young Award winner and MVP in 1971 as he posted a 24-8 record. 

(Right): Esquire, July 1966, design by George Lois. "What's Joe DiMaggio doing with himself these days?" asked the cover headline. That's Lois posed as Joltin' Joe in Yankee Stadium.

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(Left): Time, September 8, 1969, the year the New York Mets won their first World Series. Illustration by Willard Mullin, the long time New York World-Telegram sports cartoonist who created the famous Brooklyn Bum character. 

(Right): Sports Illustrated, August 21, 1995, marking the death of New York Yankee Mickey Mantle. The Mick played his entire 18-year career for the Yankees, winning three Most Valuable Player awards, 16 All-Star nods, and seven world championship rings. In 1956 Mantle won the Triple Crown crown, leading the American League in home runs, batting average, and RBIs. Design: Steve Hoffman. Photograph by George Silk.

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(Left): Jet, April 26, 1962. "Black Gold on Green Diamonds" features five African American baseball stars: New York Yankees catcher Elston Howard (1963 American League MVP, first black player on the Yankees); Chicago White Sox left fielder Saturnino Orestes Armas "Minnie" Minoso, ("The Cuban Comet," first black player on the White Sox, he led the league in getting hit by pitches 10 times); Chicago Cubs left fielder Billy Williams ("Sweet Billy" was the 1961 Rookie of the Year); Los Angeles Dodger infielder Jim Gilliam (1953 Rookie of the Year), and New York Giants centerfielder Willie Mays, the Say Hey Kid (1951 Rookie of the Year, two-time MVP, and the man many consider to be the greatest all-around player of all time). 

(Right): Time, September 22, 1947. Illustration of Jackie Robinson by Ernest Hamlin Baker. Robinson was the first African American Major League Baseball player of the modern era when he broke the color line playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. He was named Rookie of the Year that year, and went on to win the MVP title in 1949.

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(Left): Baseball Monthly, May 1962. Powerful slugging right fielder Rocky Colavito was better known as a Cleveland Indian, but was traded to the Detroit Tigers in 1960 after winning the home run title the year before for the Tribe. Cleveland fans never forgave team owners for trading The Rock, and it began The Curse of Rocky Colavito, which has kept the Indians from winning a World Series ever since.  

(Right): Sport, August 1951. New York Yankees catcher Lawrence "Yogi" Berra was a three-time MVP, 15 time All Star, won 10 World Series rings, and as manager took teams from both the American and National Leagues to the World Series. Berra got his nickname from a friend who said he resembled a Hindu holy man (a yogi) whenever he sat with arms and legs crossed waiting to bat.

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(Left): Baseball Digest, August 1948. The accurate-hitting infielder Lou Boudreau became player-manager of the Cleveland Indians in 1942 at the age of 24. An eight-time American League All-Star, he won the batting title in 1944 with a .327 mark. In 1948, the year he appeared on this cover, Boudreau won the AL Most Valuable Player award and managed the Indians to their last World Series championship. Boudreau is often named to the shortstop position on all-time All-Jewish baseball team lists.

(Right): Life, April 25, 1938. John Thomas "Long Tom" Winsett was a left fielder for the Brooklyn Dodgers when he appeared on the cover of Life magazine. He had his most productive career in 1937 when he belted 15 doubles and five HRs, and batted in 42 runs. Winsett slugged a home run in his first major league at-bat for the Boston Red Sox, but after an erratic career he retired in 1938 after a final season with the "Daffy Dodgers."

See all these plus 10 more classic baseball covers here.

Jesse Marinoff Reyes has a collection of 25 baseball book, magazine, and program covers.

Special thanks to Cover Browser, which was the source for a number of these cover scans.
[Updated: 03.16.11]

...and another one, Texas Monthly's May 2011 cover featuring the Texas Rangers, from Creative Director T.J. Tucker:
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