This time of year brings the height of the award season, and SPORTS ILLUSTRATED has been happy to be right in the thick of it. So I've had occasion lately to mention some pleasant developments at a Silver Anniversary All-America presentation to Keith Mets (SI, Jan. 26) and the banquet honoring Sportsman of the Year Rafer Johnson (SI, Feb. 9).
It also happened last month that SPORTS ILLUSTRATED was host at a reception for Phil Hill, whom our editors named as Sports Car Driver of the Year (SI, Jan. 19). Among our guests was another sports car driver of renown: Briggs Cunningham. For him, however, 1958 was predominantly a year when he kept his foot off the pedal so that he could keep his hands on the wheel. And in this case the wheel belonged to Columbia, the successful defender of the America's Cup.
At the reception Columbia's skipper fell into a retrospective discussion of the cup defense. Almost wistfully, he said, "You know, I've never been able to see her going." He meant that because he was aboard during the entirety of the tests, trials and defense he had never enjoyed the spectator's-eye view of the magnificent 12-meter in action. Although he had, he said, put together a considerable collection of photographs, there was one particular perspective he could not find anywhere.
We invited Mr. Cunningham to inspect the more than 1,200 pictures of Columbia in the SPORTS ILLUSTRATED collection. He did; but unfortunately our files too are missing the picture. It occurred to me that perhaps one of our many readers who are photographers may have shot it. I'd like to enlist your aid.
February 16, 1959
What Briggs Cunningham is looking for is Columbia as Vim appears in this picture by Morris Rosenfeld, which was in our May 12 issue. In nautical terms this would be a leeward view of all of Columbia directly abeam, as she sails alone and close-hauled.
I hope someone can join us in presenting such a photograph to the skipper of Columbia. For it is, if it exists, an "award" he richly deserves.