When Major League Baseball player Eddie Mathews, pictured on the cover of Volume 1, Issue 1, suffered a hand injury a week later that forced him to miss seven games, the "Sports Illustrated Cover Jinx" -- a.k.a. "The Dreaded SI Cover Jinx" -- was born, as some noted that bad things seemed to happen to people soon after they appeared on the magazine's cover. Other notable cover coincidences include:

  • January 31, 1955 - The week that an issue featuring her was on the stands, skier Jill Kinmont struck a tree during a practice run and was paralyzed from the neck down.
  • November 18, 1957 -- The University of Oklahoma had won 47 consecutive games, which remains the longest winning streak in the history of college football. The cover carried the headline "Why Oklahoma is unbeatable." In their very next game, Oklahoma lost to the University of Notre Dame, which was in the middle of a down period. Notre Dame had also been the last team to defeat Oklahoma before the streak began, in 1953.
  • May 26, 1958 - SI's 1958 Indianapolis 500 preview issue featured Pat O'Connor, who was killed in a 15-car pileup during the first lap of the race.
  • February 13, 1961 - Laurence Owen was billed as "America's Most Exciting Girl Skater." Two days after the cover date, Owen and the rest of the United States figure skating team perished in a plane crash.

While the list of "examples" of the jinx is extensive, an individual record 49 cover appearances by Michael Jordan and team record 61 covers by the New York Yankees have not hindered their success.

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