There is a new book in the stores this week called The Wonderful World of Sport, and if that sounds familiar to some of our older readers, there is a good reason. In the early days of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED that was the name given a weekly pictorial section of the magazine. Some of the spectacular sports photographs that appear in this new book were reprinted from that section. The whole book is designed to present to the most casual reader, in the words of Sid James, who conceived and edited it, "the very essence of the sport this magazine has celebrated." Sid was the first managing editor of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED and my predecessor as publisher. He took on the task of editing The Wonderful World of Sport before moving last June to Washington, where he functions as a vice-president of Time Inc., representing the corporation's interests in the nation's capital. "We divided the material into the chapters," says Sid, "The Moment Preserved, The Crowds, The Violent Action, The College Coach, The Superstars, and so on—and I was surprised at my own mental processes, because so many pictures came instantly to mind in each division."
The Wonderful World of Sport serves as a fitting transition in Sid's career. In his 38 years with Time Inc. he has worked as a stringer in his native St. Louis (where his father was a distinguished writer on the St. Louis Post-Dispatch), a National Affairs writer for TIME, Assistant Managing Editor of LIFE, and a bureau chief and correspondent for both magazines in Chicago and Los Angeles. Until now, aside from occasional assignments in his days writing politics, James has spent little time in Washington. President Eisenhower appointed him to the executive committee of the Council on Youth Fitness, which called for regular visits to the capital. President Kennedy asked him to come to Washington to head up the President's Council on Physical Fitness, but the invitation came at the moment Sid was taking over as publisher of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, and he regretfully declined. Thus far, getting settled in Washington has not given him much chance to enjoy the two sports, sailing and golf, that occupied his leisure time in his old home at Rye, N.Y. though he is still president of the ancient Apawamis Country Club there. In the meantime, work on The Wonderful World of Sport has come to mean to him the equivalent of the excitement of challenge in sport. Sid says that to distill the spirit of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED would be akin to pitching a no-hit game or making a hole in one, or running a kickoff back for a touchdown. "If this effort has come even close to capturing between covers the essence of this lively magazine's world—glory be."