— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) August 19, 2014
Hooray for Mo’ne!
This week, the 13-year-old pitching sensation will become the first Little League player in history — or, uh, herstory — to make the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine. Not only has her team, the Taney Dragons, captured the city’s hearts, the pitcher has captivated the nation. Even First Lady Michelle Obama has given her a shout-out — and we wouldn’t be a bit surprised to see Mo’ne sitting next to FLOTUS at the next State of the Union Address.
— The First Lady (@FLOTUS) August 16, 2014
Should we be worried about the SI cover jinx?
The story goes that when an athlete or team is featured on the front of Sports Illustrated, bad luck follows. It supposedly started in 1954, when the magazine’s first issue featured Eddie Mathews, a superstar third baseman for the Milwaukee Braves. Then Mathews broke his hand and missed several games.
Examples suggesting a connection between landing on the cover and having bad luck — even career-ending injuries — are many, though some chalk the supposed curse up to simple superstition.
To be clear: We here at NewsWorks wish Mo’Ne and her teammates nothing but luck and health and many years of success. On the other hand, we also believe giving voice to our fears — even the silly ones — can take away their powers. So in that vein, here are some other notable examples of the so-called SI cover jinx. Decide for yourself:
1955: Skier Jill Kinmont is on the cover. In the same week, she crashes on the slopes and is left paralyzed from the waist down.
1969: Golfer Lee Trevino appears on the cover just before defending his U.S. Open title, then fails to make the cut for the tournament.
1978: Pete Rose appears on the cover, and the same week breaks a 44-game hitting streak.
1982: Boxer Gerry Cooney makes the cover, then loses in a 13-round match to Larry Holmes four days later.
1998: Figure skater Michelle Kwan is featured on the cover, with the headline “America’s Gold Standard.” Then she lost the gold to Tara Lipinski.
2010: Skier Lindsey Vonn appears on the cover of an Olympics issue then crashes and injures her leg. She recovers enough to compete but doesn’t fare well in the games.
“Though no specific origin has been named as the reason for the curse, the common consequences that these athletes have suffered suggests a common cause to some.”
We know Philadelphians are, by nature, a superstitious bunch — don’t even pretend that some of those scenes in “Silver Linings Playbook” didn’t hit uncomfortably close to home.
And many, including at least one sportswriter here in town, swear the mere idea of the curse is “idiotic.”
But with Mo’ne and her teammates set to play Nevada on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m., do we really want to take that risk?
So tell us: What can or should we do, as a city, to combat this bad juju? What are your go-to sports good-luck charms?