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SPORTSMEN OF THE YEAR 1954 ∼ 2008
December 08, 2008
Fifty-four years ago, in announcing the inaugural award, SI wrote that the annual honoree would be one who "gave to the quality of unprecedented performance the sense of unrepeatable performance." That description fits perfectly the latest recipient, Michael Phelps, who now keeps company with this distinguished elite.
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December 08, 2008

Sportsmen Of The Year 1954 ∼ 2008

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Fifty-four years ago, in announcing the inaugural award, SI wrote that the annual honoree would be one who "gave to the quality of unprecedented performance the sense of unrepeatable performance." That description fits perfectly the latest recipient, Michael Phelps, who now keeps company with this distinguished elite.

1954
Roger Bannister
SI's first Sportsman was a 25-year-old from England—and history's first sub-four-minute miler.

1955
Johnny Podres
The Brooklyn southpaw's superb Series against the Yankees culminated with a Game 7 masterpiece.

1956
Bobby Morrow
At the Melbourne Olympics he was the first U.S. man in 20 years to win gold in both the 100 and 200 meters.

1957
Stan Musial
Mr. Cardinal was 37 when he led the National League with a .351 average to win his seventh batting title.

1958
Rafer Johnson
He broke the world decathlon record in Moscow, winning over the crowd even as the cold war raged.

1959
Ingemar Johansson
The Hammer of Thor became the heavyweight champ after flattening Floyd Patterson at Yankee Stadium.

1960
Arnold Palmer
The Palmer era began with Arnie's banner year: eight wins, including the Masters and the U.S. Open.

1961
Jerry Lucas
Ohio State's junior center led the Buckeyes to their second of three straight NCAA-final appearances.

1962
Terry Baker
A Heisman Trophy winner, the Oregon State quarterback doubled as the Beavers' point guard.

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