A new feature on the Sports Illustrated Web site, The Vault, now offers free access to an archive of past articles, photos, and covers that were published during the magazine's 54 year history. One can search by keyword and refine by date as well as browse individual issues cover to cover.
For an example of some of the riches one can find on this database, see the following links:
An article about Golden Gate Park circa July 20, 1959:
"Strange and frequently momentous doings are almost always afoot in the gorgeous greenery of San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, a squared-off tract three and a half miles long that was once a shifting Sahara of 50-foot dunes. In the proper season hordes of young athletes are at large on Big Rec Field, their backs emblazoned with legends that read "Johnson's Tamales" or "Wally's Fork Lifts," identifying the sponsors of the park's sandlot league which has spawned three DiMaggios, Tony Lazzeri, Babe Pinelli, Willie Kamm and such current lights as Gil McDougald, Gerry Coleman and Gus Triandos.
In the mating season buffalo bulls fight it out for the supremacy of a herd that roams a great green paddock undulating over Golden Gate's northwest acres. Just down the curving South Drive, past the bowling green where septuagenarians in the blue blazers and white ducks of the Bowling Club roll spheroids down the Kelly-green grass, young tennists gambol on Golden Gate's orange-and-green courts. Knowingly or not, they tread on territory hallowed by that oldtime great, Maurice McLoughlin, and later by Don Budge, Alice Marble, Art Larsen and Tom Brown, all of whom began the long climb by bouncing up the rungs of the park's peppy tournament program. And while all these efforts are expended in behalf of glory, on autumn Sundays the 49ers, those hard-blocking Hessians, perform for pay in Kezar Stadium, home of the East-West football game, which occupies a corner of the park too."
The most famous baseball pitcher to have never played a game
"The phenomenon the three young batters faced, and about whom only Reynolds, Stottlemyre and a few members of the Mets' front office know, is a 28-year-old, somewhat eccentric mystic named Hayden (Sidd) Finch. He may well change the course of baseball history. On St. Patrick's Day, to make sure they were not all victims of a crazy hallucination, the Mets brought in a radar gun to measure the speed of Finch's fastball. The model used was a JUGS Supergun II. It looks like a black space gun with a big snout, weighs about five pounds and is usually pointed at the pitcher from behind the catcher. A glass plate in the back of the gun shows the pitch's velocity—accurate, so the manufacturer claims, to within plus or minus 1 mph. The figure at the top of the gauge is 200 mph. The fastest projectile ever measured by the JUGS (which is named after the oldtimer's descriptive—the "jug-handled" curveball) was a Roscoe Tanner serve that registered 153 mph. The highest number that the JUGS had ever turned for a baseball was 103 mph, which it did, curiously, twice on one day, July 11, at the 1978 All-Star game when both Goose Gossage and Nolan Ryan threw the ball at that speed. On March 17, the gun was handled by Stottlemyre. He heard the pop of the ball in Reynolds's mitt and the little squeak of pain from the catcher. Then the astonishing figure 168 appeared on the glass plate. Stottlemyre remembers whistling in amazement, and then he heard Reynolds say, "Don't tell me, Mel, I don't want to know...."