What does it mean for a professional athlete to be on the cover of their sport’s most prominent video game? I guess the answer depends on who you ask, but I imagine it’s somewhere between an honor and a flex. It takes more than just being great at your sport, ya know? You have to be somewhat of an icon or superstar to be considered the literal face of the game. For example, in 2022 Shohei Ohtani sported the cover of the illustrious video game franchise, MLB The Show. Just four years before him, the Yankees very own Aaron Judge graced the cover after his historic reason.
This year was a bit different though. The standard version of the game will feature Marlins young star, Jazz Chisholm. That’s not my focus of this piece though. Instead, I want to talk about one of the most iconic athletes in baseball history, Derek Jeter.
After staying out of the public eye while running the Miami Marlins, we hardly ever saw Jeter. But in the last year we’ve seen him re-enter the baseball discourse with a documentary, number retirement in Yankee Stadium, and a media tour. And to top that off he’s capped off his re-entrance into the public baseball world by making another appearance on a baseball video game. Jeter will be featured on the cover of the deluxe version of MLB The Show.
This is the third, yes I said third, different video game that Jeter will be the cover athlete. Back in the early 2000s Jeter was a three-peat cover athlete for All-Star Baseball. Do you remember that classic? Most people my age first remember playing games like Slugfest and MVP Baseball, but those weren’t the only two selling copies. All-Star Baseball was a decent game that had a run from 1997 through 2005, with Jeter donning the pinstripes on the final three. It played like any game in the early-2000s but most importantly, the creators had good taste.
After that three-year run, Jeter managed to pull of yet another with MLB 2K from 2005 to 2007. I’m a little confused at how Jeter managed to be the cover of two separate games in the same year, but my guess here is that the games were released with a big gap between one another, and it was clear that All-Star Baseball would be no more. That’s the only logical explanation for it, but either way, the switch gave Jeter six straight years on video game covers. That is unbelievable and likely will never, and I mean never, happen again in any sports game. Unless LeBron James decides he wants to be the official cover athlete for NBA 2K forever, I bet Jeter’s record will reign.
Even after his career has been over for almost 10 years (it’s been that long already?), Jeter’s lure as a baseball icon is still strong enough for him to be a video game cover. And I must add the cover is an awesome design. I’m not sure how copyrighting issues work with video games so I’m going to link you to it here. They went with an animated version of Jeter making his signature jump play with the New York City skyline in the background along with the various World Series trophies from his career. It’s a unique design that we haven’t seen on any major sports video game.
It’s neat, really. Yankees fans are deeply connected to Derek Jeter, whether he likes it or not. Seeing him as often as we have this last year has been great, and now, we will get to play with the best version of himself from his career in a very fun video game. For all you nerds like me out there, buckle up, it’s time get our parallel grind on Jeter in a few weeks when the game drops.