Classic Sports Illustrated Covers: Ken Griffey, Jr. vs. Jeff Francoeur? | The Golden Sombrero Baseball Blog | MLB, Fantasy, College & High School Baseball News

Classic Sports Illustrated Covers: Ken Griffey, Jr. vs. Jeff Francoeur?

As I was browsing Sports Illustrated’s archive of covers, I came across something so disturbing that it forced me to reevaluate their legitimacy, and consider a moratorium on my ‘Classic Sports Illustrated Covers’ series.  Sure, I know that it is part of their business to market what is trending across sports, but it is not their business to disgrace living legends.  I get that Jeff Francoeur was one of the most exciting, young, baseball players when he graced the cover in 2005, but there is no way that Sports Illustrated could have honestly believed that he was Cooperstown bound.  To make matters worse, SI’s contentious cover proclaimed Francoeur as “The Natural,” exactly as it did when Ken Griffey, Jr. burst on the scene in 1990.  Comparing an over-producing rookie to what Junior had done in the 15 years since that first cover is a blatant insult.  Hell, even Robert Redford should be pissed off.

Ken Griffey, Jr.

May 7, 1990

Jeff Francoeur

August 29, 2005

“Can anyone be this good?”

Really? Pretend for a second that you did believe that Francoeur was the next star, is it in any way logical, or professional for that matter, to compare him to “the Kid”? I would have figured(hoped) that Junior’s relentless career set a new precedent for such recognitions and labels.  But hey, what do I know? I’m only realistic.


  1. RealityChuck says:

    Who’s comparing him to Griffey? Where in the article does it state that? It certainly makes no mention of Griffey on the cover with Francoeur.

    The two covers are independent: SI using the phrase to describe a ballplayer. It’s not even the player’s nickname. They are making a reference to the movie, not Griffey. How can you not understand that?

    It’s no more an insult than to put Joe Charbonneau on the cover as “Rookie of the Year.” No one calls that an insult to Cal Ripken, do they?

  2. Mike Rosenbaum says:

    Dear Jeff Francoeur’s Only Fan,
    I think that you’re missing the point. Sports Illustrated is inherently comparing Griffey and Francoeur by issuing nearly identical cover stories for each player. You’re telling me they weren’t aware of what they were doing? Exactly.

    Sure Frenchy was a stud when he first came up, the dude raked! But to hastily compare him to a player with 15 outstanding major league seasons under his belt? I don’t think so.

    The title of the article, and the series for that matter, is called “Classic Sports Illustrated Covers.” At no time within my article do I reference Sports Illustrated’s article, let alone base my arguments on any aspect of it. Also, thank you for informing me on a possible tie to some movie called, “The Natural.” As an avid fan of baseball, and having played it my entire life, I clearly had no clue that this movie existed! However, I’m sure that you realized that when when I referenced Roy Hobbs in my article, and linked his name to a photo of him from the movie.

    Now if my memory is correct, I’m pretty sure that this Roy Hobbs fella was the best ballplayer alive, maybe even the best ever. Maybe it’s just me, but I think that it clearly makes sense why they would label Griffey, “The Natural.” It is equally as obvious that this was their intention for the Francoeur cover as well, which is what I have a serious problem with.

    Now, how can you not understand that?!

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