Selections of "all-everything" teams is nothing new, nor is the issuance of commemorative stamps, nor the establishment of sport halls of fame. But with characteristic enterprise and imagination, promoter William Drought Cox has managed to unite all three elements and come up with the world's first combined all-world all-star team, stamp issue and Hall of Fame for soccer players. Some of the fruits of his labors are seen in the reproductions of Nicaraguan postage stamps arrayed above, depicting the 11 players selected as the best since World War II by a panel of sportswriters from 35 soccer-playing countries.
Cox and World Sports magazine, which undertook sponsorship of the poll at Cox' urging, restricted any nation from having more than four writers on the selection panel and forbade any panelist from voting for a player from his own country. These restrictions were aimed at preventing another ballot-stuffing incident, such as the one that marred the 1957 All-Star baseball selection.
The precautions seem to have worked, since the team reflects a strong continental mix and includes three players from behind the Iron Curtain.
Top vote-getter among the select 11 was, unsurprisingly, Brazil's Pel�, with 76. Lev Yashin of Russia was second, with 69, and Alfredo di Stefano of Argentina got 68. Others, in descending order, were Djalma Santos ( Brazil) 57, Joseph Boszik ( Hungary) 45, Franz Beckenbauer ( West Germany) and Ferenc Puskas ( Hungary) 44, Stanley Matthews ( England) 40, Billy Wright ( England) and Giacinto Facchetti ( Italy) 38, and Bobby Charlton ( England) 37. Of the top 11, five are still active: Yashin, Facchetti, Beckenbauer, Pel� and Charlton.
The choice of Nicaragua as the focus for Cox' scheme stemmed less from that nation's importance in the soccer firmament than from the imperatives of the postage-stamp business. Issuing a new line of stamps means perhaps a million dollars to the nation's treasury, and thousands to Cox'.