SI Vault
Steve Wulf
November 15, 1989
The first SI was a far cry—in both form and substance—from the one we now publish, but we have always been guided by Henry Luce's promise to cover sport with heart and humor
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November 15, 1989

Puppies, Poison Ivy And A Dashing Duke

The first SI was a far cry—in both form and substance—from the one we now publish, but we have always been guided by Henry Luce's promise to cover sport with heart and humor

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GREAT MOMENTS, NO. 8. From our preview of Super Bowl III: "With the common draft of the last two years, the AFL is getting its share of the truly competitive, gung-ho athletes, and it will soon achieve parity with the NFL. But that parity has not yet been reached, and the Colts should demonstrate this with an authority that may shock Jets' fans."

GREAT MOMENTS, NO. 9. Can we call 'em, or what? This is from a Jan. 15, 1973, SCORECARD item on the New York Yankees' change of ownership: "The sale of the New York Yankees to George Steinbrenner and his a welcome change in baseball's ownership structure."

By 1964, our 10th anniversary, SI had become profitable. In 1974, after having built SI into the third-largest news magazine—after TIME and Newsweek—Laguerre stepped down as managing editor. His successors, Roy Terrell, Gilbert Rogin and Mark Mulvoy—all former SI writers—found ways to improve the product. Terrell maintained the high standards of writing and illustration that he had inherited, while placing greater emphasis on college and amateur sports.

Rogin, who took over in 1979, improved the quality of the writing even further and provided more comprehensive coverage of major events, such as the Olympics and the Super Bowl. Under Rogin, SI became the first all-color national magazine. Mulvoy, who rose to managing editor in 1984, has made the magazine more dramatic and dynamic through the use of larger photos and greater responsiveness to late-breaking news. In addition, he has overseen the first major redesign of the magazine since the early days of Laguerre.

"The magazine just keeps getting better and better," says Tax. "Oh, there are certain things I don't like about it, and every now and then I'll complain. But I can talk about it endlessly, and that's because I love it so much. I came to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED when I was 39 years old, and for 35 years now I've been fiercely proud of my association with the magazine and all of the people who work there."

Back when we were celebrating our fifth anniversary, in 1959, Henry Luce sent a message to our readers that we think has stood the test of the time: "We cannot promise you what victories we will report in the months ahead, what dramatic moments our writers and artists and photographers will capture for you—sport is too unpredictable for that. But we do promise to bring the best of sport, all in one place—and to bring it to you with an eye for action, a nose for news and an ear for truth. And, we might add, with heart and humor."

GREAT MOMENTS, NO. 10. In our 1989 baseball preview issue, somebody wrote, "The Cubs, who haven't won a world championship since 1908, have had only one winning season since 1972. You can be certain this will not be their second."

We've made some wrong choices in the last 35 years, trying to decide what's meat and what's poison. But looking back, we take pride in what we have brought to sports and to our readers, an achievement recognized last April by the American Society of Magazine Editors, which gave SPORTS ILLUSTRATED the 1989 National Magazine Award for general excellence among magazines with a circulation of more than a million. Yes, we've come a long way since '54. That first 25-cent issue, in mint condition, is now worth $250.

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