Monday, May 24, 2021

Sports Illustrated April 9, 1984

NCAA basketball championship on the cover.

Despite being on the cusp of opening day, there was very little baseball content in here. Stephen Jay Gould reviewed a book about Ty Cobb by Charles C. Alexander. When quoting a line about Cobb's racism, Gould writes out a word that would get the magazine banned today. 

This section had some baseball-related content, including a somewhat-funny bit about Mario Soto and baseball cards of guys who homered off of him. The bit about the "Dope Book" is ironic as LaMarr Hoyt had not yet been implicated with drug use yet. And I guess all you Steve Garvey fans might enjoy his little pun at the end.

Closest other thing to baseball content was this photo from a profile of Lakers announcer Chick Hearn. He comes off very badly in this article - egomaniacal, a lousy father, and borderline racist.

I did find a lot of the non-baseball content interesting. In addition to the cover stories, there were pieces on the Colts move to Indianapolis, which was breaking news; golfer Fred Couples; the racehorse Swale, Olympic swimming hopefuls, boxers Marvin Hagler and Wilfredo Gomez, racer Mario Andretti, and marathoner Michael Baughman. There were three pieces on young female athletes - the NCAA champion USC basketball team, 18-year old tennis player Andrea Jaeger, and 17-year-old South African runner Zola Budd, who was controversially trying to gain UK citizenship to compete in the Olympics (South Africa was ineligible to compete due to Apartheid; Budd was apolitical and her father at least somewhat supportive of the regime). These articles all had a lot of pop culture references, such as music that they listened to (Somebody's Watching Me for Jaeger, This Town is Our Town for USC) and this photo of Budd with a very 1984 doll collection:

It was interesting to look some of these people up and see what happened to them. Budd ended up competing in the Olympics and was involved in a famous collision with Mary Decker; she has had a lot of personal drama in her life but stayed out of Apartheid politics and now lives in the US. Jaeger quit tennis, became a nun for a while and is now in tax trouble over a charity she runs.

There was some interesting advertising in the magazine. This one comes off as particularly dated:

McDonald's high school basketball All-Americans. I'm not a basketball fan but as a New Yorker I recognized former Knick Charles Smith. Danny Manning is the only other name I recognize here.
Other notable advertisements include Isiah Thomas for Converse, Sunoco, Canon copiers, Levi's, Civil War book series from Time-Life Books, Valvoline, Kodak copiers, Northwestern Mutual Life, Corning Lenses that Change (transition sunglasses - brand new at the time), Texaco, Old Spice, True Value (with Pat Summerall), New Balance, FTD (with Merlin Olsen), American Airlines, and all the big car, beer and cigarette brands. Again, happy to take photos of any articles or ads that you readers want to see.


  1. If only we could have another Mcdonalds baseball card set.

  2. David Rivers played for Notre Dame and then was an original Timberwolf.
    John Williams and Andrew Lang both made it to the NBA.
    Chris Washburn was more famous for his drug problem than his career.