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THEY HAD A BIG YEAR TO TOP OFF 20
George Plimpton
December 23, 1974
In the fall of 1954 a sobbing 12-year-old boy walked into the Columbia Gym in Louisville and expressed an interest in whupping whoever had stolen his new bike. So a man there began teaching Cassius Clay how to box. The careers of the illustrious sportsmen below and on the next two pages also span two decades, and they, too, had outstanding campaigns in 1974.
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December 23, 1974

They Had A Big Year To Top Off 20

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In the fall of 1954 a sobbing 12-year-old boy walked into the Columbia Gym in Louisville and expressed an interest in whupping whoever had stolen his new bike. So a man there began teaching Cassius Clay how to box. The careers of the illustrious sportsmen below and on the next two pages also span two decades, and they, too, had outstanding campaigns in 1974.

Henry Aaron In '54 he hit the first 13 of 733 big-league homers. He was MVP in '57 and has been an All-Star every year since. This season, with consummate grace and power, he surpassed a Ruthian mark.

Willie Shoemaker His third national riding title came in '54. This year, at the venerable age of 43, this highly disciplined jockey is fifth on the money-winning list, which he has led a record 10 times.

Gordie Howe Already an eight-year NHL star, he was the league's scoring leader in '54. He has played more games and scored more everything than anybody else, and in '73-'74 he was MVP of the WHA.

Ken Rosewall Twenty years ago he was runner-up at Wimbledon to Jaroslav Drobny. Alter winning numerous national and WCT titles. Muscles finished second this year at both Wimbledon and Forest Hills.

Bobby Unser In '54, 20-year-old Bobby was fearing up tracks all over New Mexico. In '74, after many wins, including an Indy 500, he took the USAC driving championship, was named Driver of the Year.

Olin Stephens, Ted Hood In '54, a Stephens-designed yacht won Class A in the Bermuda race and sailmaker Hood took the International One-design. Their Courageous won the '74 America's Cup.

Sam Snead In '54 he won the Masters and, after 84 tournament victories, was voted greatest golfer of all time. In '74, 32 years after first winning the PGA, he finished third in it. He sure putts funny, though.

Walter Alston Quietly, in '54, the man from Hamilton, Ohio signed the first of 21 one-year contracts as Dodger manager. This year his team won a pennant for the seventh time. Quietly, he signed again.

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