This is the first issue of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED in which the name of Honor Fitzpatrick does not appear as Chief of our reporters and researchers. In Volume 1, No. 1, more than 14 years and 700 issues ago, she was in charge of a minuscule staff of researchers whose job it was to verify the factual accuracy of statements made by our contributors. It was relatively easy in those days. Was Lake Hopatcong really 35 feet deep, as was asserted by a writer on the then-novel sport of scuba diving? Were there more than a thousand poison-ivy remedies on the market, as stated by our nature columnist?
As this magazine grew to maturity, Honor's responsibilities became a good deal more complex and demanding. And now, with our circulation pushing 1,700,000, we have millions of additional sharp-eyed mistake spotters. "They find two or three errors a week," says Honor, with her customary fidelity to facts, no matter how unwelcome. Out of the thousands of factual statements in each issue, that is not many. Honor can remember them all.
She is now joining the research staff that is working on the history of Time Inc. The first volume, recently published, has been a critical success and a publishing sensation. The second volume will cover, among other matters, the history of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, which will be Honor's new research task.
Mervin Hyman, who takes over Honor's post, was a member of the writing and research team on the first issue of this magazine. Devotion to factual accuracy in his case has been tested in a field where violent partisanship is normal. He wrote FOOTBALL'S WEEK and BASKETBALL'S WEEK. Each season, for example, he winnowed the significant events from some 500 to 800 college football games, patiently making allowances for exaggerated claims, local enthusiasms and sectional pride. How did he manage to maintain a detached objectivity? "I'm just a fan," he says. "I think every season is the greatest I've ever seen."
Arlie W. Schardt, who follows the late Earl Burton as Chief of Correspondents, first joined SPORTS ILLUSTRATED in 1959. In those days, five years after he graduated from the University of Wisconsin, Arlie's favorite sport was water polo. He used to work out with the U.S. Olympic team. In less strenuous intervals he covered hockey, track, basketball, swimming and college football. After four years with us Arlie was drafted to TIME'S news bureau, first serving in Chicago and then Atlanta, where his territory was the South, and his assignments, for the most part, were on civil rights conflicts. Not that it was all tension. He did write on sports for TIME magazine whenever possible, and developed an awed admiration for the vitality of Southern interest in sports. Arlie still actively participates, enjoying swimming and tennis. But at 35 he has had to give up water polo because of those long periods of involuntary submersion. "The day of the wise old man is over," he says, "at least in water polo."