The appointment this week of Ray Cave as executive editor and Gilbert Rogin as assistant managing editor (see masthead, left) is a signal tribute to the considerable abilities of these two men, but their advancement also serves to emphasize the qualities that, we believe, make SPORTS ILLUSTRATED unique in the magazine field. For both men combine what is essentially a layman's interest in sport (they are fans, rather than professional sports people) with a dedication to journalism, to good writing, to the blending of these ingredients in this magazine.
This is an article from the June 24, 1974 issue
Cave, 45, was a newspaperman when he came to us in 1959. He had been with Baltimore's Evening Sun since 1952, first as a police reporter, then an investigative reporter and later as a foreign correspondent in North Africa during the fighting in Algeria and Morocco. While there, he spent three weeks with the French Foreign Legion, going into the Sahara to join an outpost of that legendary force. Back in Baltimore he had a stint as rewrite man and then was made assistant city editor. He says he had no intention of ever becoming a magazine writer, but in his spare time he served as our Baltimore correspondent and so many of his contributions ended up in the magazine that we persuaded him to come to New York and write for us full time.
Cave had never been a sportswriter but his articles for us on such subjects as college basketball and golf were consistently superior. In 1962 he switched to editing, and in 1970 was made an assistant managing editor. Now he becomes the No. 2 man on our staff, Managing Editor Roy Terrell's alter ego, and an important influence on the direction the magazine takes. He says, "I've always felt that SPORTS ILLUSTRATED'S greatest strength is its ability to make our readers not take us for granted. To make them say, sometimes, 'What is this? Why this story?' A reader is occasionally outraged when we don't do the obvious, the story he anticipates. But sport is not always the obvious. We have to go beyond that, beyond the score, the result. Today people expect more, because sport and recreation have become such an integral part of their lives.
"I admire straight sports coverage—but we need change of pace, too: reports that last, that make us special."
Gil Rogin is in many ways a perfect example of what Cave means, the unanticipated something else. At 44 he swims every day, is in splendid shape, is an intense fan of pro basketball and boxing, loves to watch pro football. But Rogin is also a bird watcher and, significantly, a distinguished writer of American fiction. He won the $3,000 National Institute of Arts and Letters prize in 1972 for his book What Happens Next?, which critic L. E. Sissman called "a great novel."
We hired Rogin in 1955 to clip newspaper stories for our research files. His extraordinary writing ability ("the sad beauty and dark wit of Rogin's prose," another critic said) soon became evident, and he began to write for us, notably on boxing. Later he became a specialist in personality pieces, sensitive accounts of distinctive individuals, some of them oddball, some as solidly successful as Peter Snell, the Olympic gold medalist from New Zealand, and the Montreal Canadiens' volatile Maurice Richard.
As a senior editor, Rogin handled such sports as pro football, pro basketball, swimming, track and field, the Olympic Games. What he enjoys most about editing, he says, is conceiving an idea and then having it well executed, of seeing it grow and develop. A story, in other words, that is more than a routine account of an event. You look, as Cave points out, for the truth: don't settle for the score, tell the people what really is happening.
That is what SPORTS ILLUSTRATED strives to do.