If you haven’t seen Matt Wieters on the cover of the most recent issue of Sports Illustrated, make sure you don’t miss it.
Tom Verducci’s feature makes Wieters the first Oriole to grace an SI cover since the IronMan himself, Cal Ripken Jr., who was certainly no stranger to the pages of Sports Illustrated.
Cal’s image made the cover nine times over the years, including four times in 1995 alone! (May, August, September and December)
Billy Ripken and Cal Ripken Sr. also had covers all to themselves, and the whole family made an appearance together in March of 1987.
Other Orioles that Bird fans would be proud to claim on a cover, including Earl Weaver, Rick Dempsey, Jim Palmer, Frank Robinson, Brooks Robinson, Boog Powell, Andy Etchebarren, and Eddie Murray (and some who may have muddied the welcome mat a bit like Mike Mussina, Roberto Alomar, and Rafael Palmeiro) combined to assert more than 30 SI covers since 1958.
You can click here for the whole list and to see the cover photos in Sports Illustrated’s archives.
As for Matt Wieters, Verducci says there’s “No two ways about it: The Orioles are sitting on the most sought-after commodity in the game.”
The article is a good read and reveals the day and circumstances that prompted Wieters’ Georgia Tech teammates to start calling the switch-hitting catcher/closer “God.” And yep, you read it correctly - closer. The power-hitting catcher also tried his cannon arm on the mound during college.
Wieters’ accomplishments and potential make it no mystery that he arrived in Baltimore on a tidal wave of hype, and with Sports Illustrated cover articles still coming, it doesn’t appear as if the tide’s going out.
Remember the excitement radiating from Oriole Park the day Matt Wieters made his major league debut? O’s fans were so hopeful and excited. So while we know the marvels on mattwietersfacts.com are only in fun, I’m interested in legitimate predictions for Wieters this season...Where do you put him come the end of 2010?