As you will notice, a new signature appears at the top of this page, replacing one that to readers of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED must seem the mark of an old and valued friend. Sidney L. James, organizer and first Managing Editor of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED and for the last five years its Publisher, has now become a Time Inc. Vice-President, representing all our magazines at the corporate level. As a man who has been privileged to work closely with Sid for more than two years, I am well aware that it is a tough signature to follow.
This is an article from the July 26, 1965 issue
In assuming the Publisher's duties just one month short of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED's 11th anniversary, I am taking over from a man whose career has been both typical of and unusual for a high level Time Inc. executive, full of noteworthy "firsts." While on the staff of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in 1929, Sid became TIME'S first correspondent for his home state of Missouri. In 1936 he came to work for TIME in New York as a National Affairs writer and two years later returned to the Midwest as chief of the Chicago news bureau. From there he moved to the West Coast to become first area editorial chief of Time Inc. publications, with headquarters in Los Angeles. In 1946 he joined the LIFE Board of Editors, and in 1950 he became Assistant Managing Editor. While in that post he brought about one of the magazine's greatest editorial coups: the procurement and first publication of Ernest Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea.
When Henry R. Luce decided in 1952 to investigate the desirability of creating a national sports weekly, his first crew of investigators reported back that such a magazine could not succeed. Luce was more amused than discouraged. He turned to Sid James who has, among other qualities, one that was particularly attractive to the Editor-in-chief: Sid believes that no enterprise with which he is connected can ever conceivably fail.
James threw out all dissenting reports and began afresh. The result, after hundreds of conferences, job interviews, sample text and photographic assignments and two impressive dummy issues, was the first copy of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED in August of 1954.
Aside from the success of the magazine itself—and Sid's contributions are everywhere visible even today—perhaps the greatest tribute to the first Managing Editor is the enthusiasm and talent of the staff that he assembled, many of whose names are still listed on the masthead in the next column. As Publisher, Sid has proved as effective as in his editorial role, and the business establishment that I now inherit is an equally impressive one. My job is to keep it moving smoothly forward.
In that regard perhaps I should append a brief autobiographical note. After graduation from Colgate in 1941 and a hitch in the Army Air Forces during World War II, I went to work in the Time Inc. mail room in 1946. Some months later I joined TIME'S Promotion Department, moved to the sales staff in 1948 and in 1953 became Eastern Sales Manager. There followed appointments as Assistant Advertising Director and, in 1959, Advertising Manager. In 1962 I became Assistant Managing Director of Time-Life International and in 1963 Associate Publisher of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED. I take over the Publisher's Office after a year as General Manager. It is a big office, I only hope that I may fill it as capably as did Sid James.