The beginning of one year is the ending of another, a chronological circumstance so obvious I would hesitate to bring it up save for its timely bearing on our next issue (which comes two weeks from now). In that issue SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, according to annual custom, salutes the New Year by saluting the Sportsman of the Year.
The selection of our sportsman is always a taxing, but pleasant, decision—taxing because the quantity of candidates is broad, pleasant because the quality is high. If the Sportsman finally chosen for 1959 may be judged by the company he keeps, he keeps good company. For with him will be some 14 others whose performance during 1959 merits almost equal honor, as the various editors endorsing them explain. Altogether it is a galaxy of sportsmen who shine in two directions, not only bringing great credit to 1959 but giving a hard challenge to those who would bring greater to 1960.
At this particular division between years we arrive at a division between decades. From such a point the usual year-end perspective inevitably lengthens. So there's the thought that a decade in sport like the '50s, marked by achievements, among others, like the conquest of Everest and the breaking of the four-minute barrier, might possibly be a prelude to 10 years of diminishing returns.
Somehow I doubt that the '60s will turn out that way and my reasons are simple. In reporting Sport for more than half the '50s, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED has learned that the assignment involves an expanding universe that just goes on expanding. It's a characteristic of Sport in this era. And in any era a characteristic of Sport is its everlasting assault on existing standards of excellence. The two conditions suggest, for the '60s and more time than that, returns which can only increase.
December 21, 1959
But now the time is the present, and the present is surely the time:
HAPPY NEW YEAR