We are always pleased when Athletes we have featured in our FACES IN THE CROWD section go on to bigger and better things, and many have, including 13 who have been SI Sportsman or Sportswoman of the Year: Bobby Morrow, Stan Musial, Rafer Johnson, Ingemar Johansson,, Jerry Lucas, Ken Venturi, Carl Yastrzemski, Chris Evert, Steve Cauthen, Jack Nicklaus, Terry Bradshaw, Neal Broten and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
But to our knowledge, SI has never run two FACES in the same week who have gone on to such prominence as golfer Payne Stewart (who is profiled in Rick Reilly's story beginning on page 44) and New York Yankee first baseman Don Mattingly, both of whom appeared in our July 16, 1979 issue. "I don't know how to explain it," says Steve Wulf, now an SI senior editor, who made the selections for FACES that week, "except to say that it was the last batch of FACES that I wrote. I wanted to make sure they were keepers."
Stewart made his appearance with his father, Bill, after they won the Missouri amateur title and state senior championship, respectively. As for Mattingly, who was featured as a high school baseball star, his FACES entry was recently cited by Yankee owner George Steinbrenner as the reason the young slugger wound up in pinstripes. "I was on a plane one day, reading SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, and I saw Mattingly in that FACES IN THE CROWD section. It caught my eye because he's from Evansville, and I'm familiar with the area because my son attended Culver [Ind.] Academy," recalled the Boss. "I checked with my people and asked if they knew about this kid, and nobody had ever heard of him. So I told them to get a scout there and check him out. That's how [scout] Jax Robertson found him. It was my find, because I read SPORTS ILLUSTRATED."
Steinbrenner's memory fails him—in fact, the Yanks picked Mattingly in the 18th round of the 1979 draft one month before the FACES item ran—but we're flattered that the Boss reads SI right down to the six-point type. And we're delighted that two more of our FACES IN THE CROWD discoveries are now faces above the crowd.
May 17, 1987
BILL and PAYNE STEWART
Bill, 58, won the Missouri senior amateur golf title in Columbia, and two weeks later in Kansas City his son Payne, 22, became the state amateur champion. The elder Stewart, who won the state amateur in 1953 and 1957, tied Jim Jackson of St. Louis in 36 holes of regulation play (75-75) and beat him on the first playoff hole. Payne, cowinner of the 1979 Southwest Conference golf title while playing for SMU, defeated Walker Cupper Jim Holtgrieve of St. Louis eight and seven for the amateur crown.
Mattingly, 18, an outfielder-pitcher, batted .500 and .552 over the past two seasons to lead Reitz Memorial High to a 59-1 record. He had 140 RBIs in four years for the Tigers, equaling the highest total ever in scholastic baseball.