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LETTER FROM THE PUBLISHER

Dec. 24, 1973
Dec. 24, 1973

Table of Contents
Dec. 24, 1973

Bowl Games
Sportsman
  • By Robert F. Jones

    He is Jackie Stewart, the 1973 World Driving Champion, who has brought to his sport a combination of qualities unique in its history: a marvelous physical talent; the intelligence and perspective to be an eminent spokesman for auto racing; and the discipline to retire at the peak of his career, a simple yet infinitely complicated personal act that few celebrated athletes have ever achieved. It is for the sum of these characteristics that Stewart is named Sportsman of 1973, a year that offered two other distinguished candidates. One is Secretariat, the winner of the Triple Crown whose triumphs focused a degree of public attention on horse racing that it had not received in a quarter century. The other is O. J. Simpson of the struggling Buffalo Bills, who added his own special stimulation to the pro football season and set an example of spirit and perseverance for every professional athlete as he broke Jim Brown's alltime NFL rushing record.

The Power
19th Hole: The Readers Take Over
Departments

LETTER FROM THE PUBLISHER

For the fifth time, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED'S Sportsman of the Year is someone who has proved very good at going fast. Racing Driver Jackie Stewart went very fast indeed, roughly 12 times faster than Roger Bannister did when he was chosen as SI's first Sportsman for running the first sub-four-minute mile in 1954. But then Stewart is the only one of our winners to employ anything but his own natural-born wheels.

This is an article from the Dec. 24, 1973 issue

Stewart, a Scotsman, is the fourth foreigner to be named Sportsman: Sweden's Ingemar Johansson, Canada's Bobby Orr and England's Bannister are the others. Dr. Bannister, now a London neurologist, no longer runs competitively but athletics still lay a large claim on his time and interest: he has been chairman of the British Sports Council since 1971. Most of our first 19 Sportsmen (plus our one Sportswoman) are still doing their thing in one way or another. Only five, in fact, are not. Sprinter Bobby Morrow farms in southern Texas; Olympic decathlon champion Rafer Johnson, who worked hard for Bobby Kennedy, is a vice-president of Continental Telephone in California; Heavyweight champ Johansson struggles with various enterprises in Sweden and elsewhere; Oregon State Quarterback Terry Baker is an attorney in Portland, Ore.; and Sandy Koufax, his pitching career ended by arthritis, is keeping to himself in Maine. You could argue about three other cases. Brooklyn Dodger Pitcher Johnny Podres now coaches Padres pitchers in San Diego, or is it Washington? Stan Musial is still with the St. Louis Cardinals, but as a non-playing vice-president. And Boston Celtic Player-Coach Bill Russell is now strictly a coach, of the Seattle SuperSonics.

The pros on our roster heavily outnumber the amateurs: 13 to six among the men and one (Billie Jean King) to zero on the female side. Only two Sportsmen have not been athletes—Pete Rozelle, who commissions the NFL, and UCLA Basketball Coach John Wooden. Baseball has had five Sportsmen. Track and field follows with four, golf and basketball have three each, football two and boxing, hockey and tennis one apiece. As readers remind us from time to time, the distribution seems to slight football. But the holidays split the football season into two distinct parts and create an awkward situation. At year's end the regular season is over but the decisive bowl and playoff games are still ahead. And too often by the next December, January's football deeds have somehow been diminished. Nonetheless, pro football's O. J. Simpson this year provided an eminent runner-up whose performance cannot be tarnished.

So ends our 1973. After a pause of one week we will return with an issue (dated Jan. 7) highlighting a feast of football championships: the NFC, the AFC and that sweet Sugar Bowl brawl over who's No. 1.

PHOTO

THE WINNERS

1954 Roger Bannister
1955 Johnny Podres
1956 Bobby Morrow
1957 Stan Musial
1958 Rafer Johnson
1959 Ingemar Johansson
1960 Arnold Palmer
1961 Jerry Lucas
1962 Terry Baker
1963 Pete Rozelle
1964 Ken Venturi
1965 Sandy Koufax
1966 Jim Ryun
1967 Carl Yastrzemski
1968 Bill Russell
1969 Tom Seaver
1970 Bobby Orr
1971 Lee Trevino
1972 John Wooden and Billie Jean King