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On Aug. 16, 1954, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED made its debut, announcing itself as "the full, coherent weekly recital of that fascinating world in itself, the Wonderful World of Sport."

Eddie Mathews of the Milwaukee Braves graced that initial cover, and over the next six years a wealth of superstars would follow in his footsteps: Willie Mays, Bob Cousy, Gordie Howe and Johnny Unitas, to name a few.

And the cover wasn't limited to professional athletes. Everything from rainbow trout to bulldogs landed on the front page as SPORTS ILLUSTRATED looked to cover all aspects of sporting life.