Lately the 19th hole has been reporting early nominations for 1957's Sportsman of the Year. Among the first were two from last year's Sportsman of the Year, Bobby Morrow, who nominated Pole Vaulter Bob Gutowski and Heavyweight Champion Floyd Patterson (SI, Oct. 7). Then along came a cable from our charter Sportsman of the Year, Roger Bannister. He proposed Racing Driver Stirling Moss and gave his cogent reasons why (SI, Oct. 14). It was now plainly time to hear from the leading citizen of Witherbee, N.Y., Johnny Podres, our Sportsman in 1955.
The first few telephone calls to that quiet mining town in the Adirondack foothills failed in their mission. The ace left-hander of the Dodgers, having thrown his last pitch this season, was out catching up on his golf. But on the theory that nothing would keep Podres from watching the World Series, we called him a few minutes before the start of the fifth game in Milwaukee. Podres himself answered the phone.
Naturally, as a National Leaguer, he was pulling for the Braves to beat the Yankees. And the man who in 1955 showed how to turn this tough trick thought they could. Sure hoped so.
On a candidate for 1957's Sportsman of the Year, Podres said, "Well, with me he's got to be in baseball. And in baseball he's got to be Ted Williams. It's just wonderful how that guy can go on doing it." (Podres then went on to mention that he had never pitched against Williams, but that thought didn't seem to be spoiling his vacation. Next week, he said, he'd catch some live minnows and start fishing for bass and pike. With the opening of the season, October 25, he'd be out deer hunting. Then back to Brooklyn, where during the winter he is an automobile salesman.)
The first three Sportsmen of the Year have now cast their votes for the fourth. So have many others among our readers, some of whose nominations appear in this week's 19TH HOLE. And I hope that we will be hearing from many more of you during the next few weeks.
This year the Sportsman of the Year will be a major story in our YEAREND ISSUE, which will also include two other special features already scheduled, the Bowl Game Previews and the announcement of the second annual Silver Anniversary All-America. In keeping with the holiday season, it goes without saying that the YEAREND ISSUE will again be big and bountiful.