By Ashley Dunkak
For many athletes over the years, an appearance on the front of Sports Illustrated has been the precursor to an immediate fall. This “cover jinx” has apparently taken down hundreds of athletes. SI even did an article in 2002 about the supposed jinx after Kurt Warner refused to pose for the magazine’s cover. In its research, SI found that roughly 37 percent of athletes who appeared on the cover – 913, to be exact – experienced a decline in performance shortly thereafter.
Of course, there is the small fact that high levels of achievement are usually not sustainable over long periods of time, so it really makes perfect sense that when an athlete has performed well enough long enough to be chosen for the cover of SI, he or she is likely headed for a tumble in the near future.
Jinx or no jinx, the Detroit Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera certainly has not been slowed by his appearance with Prince Fielder on last week’s cover. Cabrera still leads the major leagues with a .358 average and 71 RBI, 10 more than the player with the second-highest total.
For all his impressive stats, though, Cabrera is better described with stories.
In Monday’s game against the Baltimore Orioles at Comerica Park, the slugger belted an opposite field home run on the first pitch of his first at bat of the series.
Not much surprises venerable manager Jim Leyland, but even he could not believe it.
“I don’t know how you do that,” Leyland said. “You go up there the first pitch you see of the night, you hit it to the opposite field for a long home run. That’s hard to believe, really. The fact that it was the first pitch, the first time he’s seen the guy [in] forever … to do that on the first pitch is mind-boggling.”