“Who Got the Cover?”

Found a copy of the Sept. 23, 1968, edition of Sports Illustrated in the bookcase along with a number of other SI copies with a Tennessee theme to them.

This issue recounts two of the major events of that week’s sporting scene. Time has not dulled the significance of that issue.

Alfred Wright wrote about Denny McLain winning his 30th game (“Golden 30 for Show Biz Denny”) in a Sept. 14 game against Oakland and featured McLain pictured with Dizzy Dean and Sandy Koufax and with a number of other celebrities, including CBS’ Ed Sullivan. All the photos were black and white.

Dan Jenkins wrote a four-page story (with five color photos by Walter Iooss, Jr.) about Tennessee’s 17-17 tie in the season opener against Georgia (“A Rouser on a Rug”). That game was also played on Sept. 14.

Vol wide receiver Gary Kreis is pictured coming perilously close to dropping the final TD pass from quarterback Bubba Wyche. Tight end Ken DeLong has a firmer grasp on the two-point conversion reception that tied the game.

So what was on the cover?

There was a color shot of Al Kaline congratulating McLain once the game safely belonged to the Tigers. Ernie Harwell had probably just said so.

Which raises this question: Do five color pictures inside the issue as part of the magazine’s lead story trump the one color picture of McLain on the cover?

By the way, you can find this issue on eBay.com, under the heading “Sports Illustrated Al Kaline Denny McLain 9/23 1968.”

It’s definitely a keeper. If you’re a Vol fan and a Tigers fan, it’s a double keeper.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013