Sunday, November 9, 2014

How Off-Base Do These Covers Look?

I was flipping through ESPN The Magazine the other day, and I saw a photographic reference to an old issue of the magazine:

You see the problem with that cover, right? Derek Jeter's defense has been a constant battleground for argumentative fans, and it now seems doubtful that he ever actually possessed one of "BASEBALL'S BEST GLOVES." Even shortly after that cover was printed, it was seen as a mistake by some savvier writers.

The Jeter "KILLER D" cover got me thinking about some other classic swings-and-misses by the magazine industry. We all know about the concept of the cover jinx, but I want to highlight 10 covers that were simply poor attempts to take the pulse of their subject matter -- sports or otherwise -- at the time. I'll probably miss a few because this is off the top of my head, but here are 10 of the most regrettable magazine covers I've ever seen:


Baseball nerds have been linking to and laughing about this one for years. Jeff Francoeur, the so-called "Natural," has been a decidedly below-average player for the majority of his career since this cover appeared in 2005.


I don't mean to be a jerk, but...

There's just no way Julia should have been named the most beautiful person in the world on multiple occasions. Sure, she's a good actress and you could even talk me into believing that she's pretty. But the most beautiful? In the world? I say neigh to that.


Two years after the Monica Lewinsky scandal, Clinton struck a, um, familiar pose on the cover of Esquire. I remember seeing Slick Willie's suppressed smile in this photo and wondering if he gave any f's whatsoever. The dude nearly lost his presidential seat then showed up with a crotch shot on the cover of a national magazine soon afterwards.


This one blurs the line between a bad cover and a jinx, but as a St. John's fan, it's heartbreaking to look back on. Felipe Lopez was supposed to lead the Red Storm back to national prominence, but it never quite clicked for him. Too much, too soon. Including that SI cover.


I don't mean to pick on Sports Illustrated here, but a weekly magazine is bound to have some miscues. Plus, as a long-time SI subscriber, I tend to remember its old issues more than I remember other magazines.

As for the cover above, it's absolutely comical now. McGwire's arm looks like a freakin' anaconda. And everyone really just went along with that at the time? Amazing.

While we're on this depressing topic...

5. Every Cover Canonizing Lance Armstrong
Austin Murphy of SI recently expressed his regrets about being duped by Armstrong, who appeared on so many inspirational, lovey-dovey covers that it's startling to look back on. The Armstrong cover mistakes weren't confined to sports magazines, but there's really only one cover where he belonged the whole time:


Inside this issue from 1997, Wired featured a story called "101 Ways to Save Apple." Steve Jobs and Co. must have prayed pretty damn hard, huh?


Editor 1: "Hey, I know she looks old, but do you think we can squeeze another cover out of Diana?"
Editor 2: "Princess Diana's dead."
Editor 1: "Yeah, but still."


Just a fucking disgrace.

And as for the worst, most unfathomable magazine cover I can remember...


Unlike the Rolling Stone cover, at least this one has comedic value. That kid is just barely younger than Billy Madison was when he told Veronica Vaughn that the milk could be "our milk."

I'm pretty sure the Time cover will be a tad embarrassing for that kid when he gets older. In the meantime, at least he looks well-fed.

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