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Where does Anthony Rizzo rank among the all-time great baseball video game cover athletes?

Ranking Rizzo among great video game cover athletes

Console classic R.B.I. Baseball made its triumphant return a year ago, filling the hearts of adults and children alike with love and glee.

Well, prepare to feel your nostalgia strings pulled once again as R.B.I. Baseball 15 debuts fresh in time for the new MLB campaign.

Anthony Rizzo, coming off a breakout season in which he smashed 32 homers and made his first All-Star appearance, will serve as the youthful but rugged face of the new game. 

The Cubs first baseman will be the first Major Leaguer to grace an R.B.I. cover since Todd Random in the original: 

Todd Random

But Rizzo is just the latest in a long line of great baseball video game superstars. 

Ken Griffey Jr. released roughly 23 different video games. Why this isn't available as a large format poster to hang in my home or place of business, I have no idea. 

Ken Griffey Jr.

Frank Thomas may have traveled to Tron for his cover art. 

Frank Thomas

The Big Hurt franchise eventually morphed into All-Star Baseball and included versions touting Larry Walker, Derek Jeter, Derek Jeter, Derek Jeter, Derek Jeter, Derek Jeter ... and Derek Jeter on covers, respectively.


If you've ever played a baseball video game in an arcade, chances are that it was Sega's World Series Baseball. Later home versions of the game featured the likes of Deion Sanders, John Burkett (yeah, we don't get it, either), and Manny Ramirez. In Japan, a version of World Series Baseball was sponsored by Hideo Nomo and featured his picture on the cover.


This series was eventually consolidated to give birth to the 2K Baseball franchise everyone's more familiar with. Jeter was the cover player here, too, for three years before giving way to Jose Reyes, Tim Lincecum (twice), Evan Longoria, Roy Halladay, Justin Verlander and David Price.

Cal Ripken Jr. baseball allowed you to play as a team full of Cals! Or, if you're a slightly odder fellow, a team of Bert Mikobs. 

Cal Ripken

With Bo Jackson, you can play as either a baseball player or a football player. Even better, it features something that is similar to, but isn't exactly the same as instant replay. 


MLB Slugfest brought the tenacity of NFL Blitz to America's pastime in 2003 and featured a prominent Rangers shortstop on its cover. Later installments featured Jim Edmonds and Sammy Sosa. In 2006, six different MLB All-Stars shared the cover.


Sosa's mug was also on the cover of High Heat: Major League Baseball in its third year of existence. (Later versions donned Vladimir Guerrero (LONG LIVE THE EXPOS!), and Curt Schilling.)


Oh, and Triple Play 2000.


WAY back in the early days of video games, kids were blowing dust out of their Major League Baseball cartridges to experience the glory of America's pastime on NES. That landmark achievement in home gaming history featured the likes of Kirby Puckett and Ozzie Smith on its cover.


Even earlier than that, there was Earl Weaver Baseball, which helped serve as the foundation for EA Sports (the more ya know).



While we're looking at the past, let's go back to the future with Base Wars, the game featuring very real baseball tanks that were surely part of some government defense program. 


Just look how dangerous these creatures are! Who in their right mind would invent them?!

Fortunately, we have one champion who can best even the tanks in a battle of good and evil. His name is Anthony Rizzo. And he's your face of R.B.I. Baseball 15. 

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