This is SPORTS ILLUSTRATED'S first Christmas Bonus Issue. With it our editors have tried to create an opportunity at the close of the year to wrap up in one package a number of special holiday offerings which they might otherwise be unable to present in separate weekly issues.
This is, as we have been calling it around the office for some time, in reality a "two-in-one" issue and takes the place of what would usually be our issues of Dec. 24 and Dec. 31. The next SPORTS ILLUSTRATED will be the Sportsman of the Year Issue, which will come out two weeks from now, dated Jan. 7.
Among the bonuses in this week's special year-end magazine is the preview of the bowl games, which are now as much a holiday institution as New Year's resolutions (and undoubtedly better observed). Here in all its color is the Rose Bowl, with the exclusive SPORTS ILLUSTRATED SCOUTING REPORTS on the five major contests. But football is far more than the games alone, and in this issue the announcement of the selections for the first Silver Anniversary All-America is, we hope, only the beginning of an annual event which will soon become as welcome and traditional as the bowl games themselves. For this new All-America reflects what is finest not only in football but in the values which sport lends to our lives.
Our feature on the Italian custom coachbuilders and Enzo Ferrari reveals in all their beauty, as colorful as Christmas, the most perfect works of the aristocrats of European automotive art. Christmas is also a time for indoor games, and we believe that you will enjoy the challenge to your sports knowledge in the feature on the various kinds of balls used in different competitions. We have no partridge in a pear tree this year. But there are birds in quantity, painted by Alexander Wilson, whose remarkable work preceded the great Audubon and is now reproduced in color from the originals for the first time in more than 100 years.
December 24, 1956
All in all, including its familiar excursions into the rest of the world of sport which are the weekly foundation of every IL SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, this is truly a two-in-one issue. Standing as it does on the threshold of 1957, it offers the right place to look forward to some of the editorial high moments and surprises our editors have already planned—beyond the week-by-week unfolding of the news of sport—for the seasons to come. The announcement of our Sportsman of the Year leads off our 1957 plans. With at least 50 logical candidates, the final choice is as difficult as usual. But the winner will appear on our Jan. 7 cover, and in the issue will be drawings or photographs of most of the other contenders. In the same issue will be 16 color pages of Olympic photographs, a sort of reprise by our Melbourne team of the great international contest which so dramatically climaxed the sports year of 1956.
More than ever in 1957 SPORTS ILLUSTRATED will report the atmosphere and environment in which travel and sports meet. The Jan. 14 issue, for instance, brings five color pages on skiing in the Salt Lake area and a timely roundup of this far-flung winter sport. You'll also find a guide to 27 places along the Atlantic and in the Caribbean where, if you share that common urge to dig for pirate treasure, your chances are at least not hopeless, for (our sources swear by the bones of Captain Kidd) the treasure should be there no matter how elusively buried. Later on you can take a cruise on the Southern Ocean Racing Circuit and a mile-by-mile trip through the Outland Waterway from San Diego to Acapulco, comparable to last year's trip down the Inland Waterway (SI, Nov. 28, 1955).
In 1957 you will meet new friends of the wild in Dr. Long's intimate accounts of nature; and visit with old friends, often wilder, at J.P. Marquand's Happy Knoll Country Club. As for real-life country clubs, Herb Wind will explore the universal and serious question of club finances. Other golf specials include a story on a dream course fashioned out of the greatest golf holes in England and, in early March, a series of major articles about which I can only say now that they should take their place as the finest single work ever written on how to play golf.
SPORTS ILLUSTRATED will also publish, in several parts, the first treatise ever written on fly-fishing. Its author: Dame Juliana Berners, a 15th century English nun, part-time fisherman and the earliest of anglers to organize trout fishing into a philosophy and the art of tying flies into a manual of instructions.
Spring will bring a discussion, with this magazine's conclusions, on the subject of Little League baseball, now exposed to the criticism of being too advanced in competition for players not yet advanced in years. And in the Special Baseball Issue of April 15, a story on pitching, so revolutionary that it may easily change pitching procedures of the future, casts an entirely new light on the reasons why pitchers win and lose games.
Despite the fact that this two-in-one issue gives me twice my usual space, I have been able to tell only a part of our immediate editorial plans. But they are enough, I think, to promise a most full and pleasant year in 1957.
Rather naturally, in thinking of it, I have been reminded of some facts on the year drawing to a close. With this issue we have reported on more than 100 sports in more than 3,000 editorial pages. The volume of our advertising pages has been growing too and is 50% higher than in 1955. Circulation now approaches 700,000, more than 50% beyond the base figure with which SPORTS ILLUSTRATED began its career in August 1954. In fact, we have grown in all areas, and we continue to grow. So the future is something we face with eagerness—and we hope you do too.
But right now is the present, certainly the time (and this issue the place) to wish you a tried-and-true two-in-one greeting—from everyone on SPORTS ILLUSTRATED:
MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR