One month later than usual, MLB: The Show is finally releasing their 2021 installment. Although the game itself doesn’t fully come out until Tuesday, April 20, today begins the early access release period, meaning if you pre-ordered the game, you’re probably playing it right now.
With the highly anticipated release of baseball’s strongest virtual franchise, let’s look back at all 15 previous cover athletes from the MLB: The Show era, which began with David Ortiz in 2006. We’re not ranking the players themselves, per se, but from who least to who most justified their place on the cover for that particular baseball season.
Fernando Tatís Jr. is absent from the list because we’ve just recently started the 2021 season, as is Jackie Robinson, who covers this year’s Special Edition. But everyone else from 2006-2020 is eligible based on their individual season combined with their team success, because cover athletes are rarely intended to be the face of games while on bad teams. This also won’t include the specialized Canadian, Taiwanese, or Korean covers.
The individual success matters more for this list, but don’t let that deter you from telling your kids that teamwork makes the dreamwork, blah blah blah, and all that good shit.