Stevenson Ranch resident Hunter Greene first learned in March of Sports Illustrated’s interest in writing a story about him.
However, there was no guarantee the Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks senior would make the cover, a feat accomplished previously by 12 high schoolers, including LeBron James and Bryce Harper.
“As much as I wanted to be on the cover,” Greene told The Signal via Twitter, “I was just thankful they wanted to cover me.”
Then, sitting in psychology class Tuesday, Greene received a text from his dad, Russell.
The text included a photo of SI’s May 1 cover, Greene standing on a pitcher’s mound and looking toward home plate for a sign, alongside the text: “He’s 17. He mashes. He throws 102. Hunter Greene is the star baseball needs (First he has to finish high school).”
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) April 26, 2017
The issue hits newsstands today. The revelation took a few minutes to sink in with Greene.
“Once I saw it, I became a little emotional because it was one of my dreams to be on the front cover,” Greene said. “My dad always told me if I worked hard and kept my nose to the grindstone that good things would happen for me. So sitting in my seat at that moment it all kinda just came back to me.”
Greene, a candidate for the No. 1 overall pick in June’s MLB Draft, has been highlighted across countless sports mediums over the last year – whether it be Baseball America, MLB.com or USA Today.
This might be loftier territory, even for him.
SI’s cover story, written by senior writer Lee Jenkins, details Greene’s development as a pitching-and-shortstop-playing prodigy and as a person.
It delves into his sister Libriti’s battle with leukemia and how, for a time, Hunter lived in her room at the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Hollywood, sleeping “on the pull-out, sometimes on the floor, sometimes on two chairs facing each other.”
Jenkins also deals with Greene’s role as an African-American in a sport grappling “with a dearth of African-American players” and whether Greene will play shortstop or pitcher at the next level (that’s still undecided).
“It would be sweet,” Greene says in Jenkins’ story, “to do both.”
Greene has been clocked at 102 mph on the mound and has launched home runs out of major league ball parks.
He is at least the second Santa Clarita Valley product to appear on the cover of a regular issue of SI.
Former Canyon High star Cory Snyder appeared on the cover in 1987 as a member of the Cleveland Indians.
On the cover of a 2016 commemorative issue, you can see Hart High graduate Mike Montgomery amid the Chicago Cubs’ celebration of their first World Series victory in 108 years last fall.
Greene, who according to multiple reports this week won’t pitch in high school again this season but will continue to play shortstop, knows his journey doesn’t stop with an SI cover.
“The real work will begin the day after June 12th,” Greene said, referencing the draft.