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Encyclopedia > SPORT magazine
The inaugural issue of SPORT magazine, September, 1946, depicting New York Yankees' centrefielder Joe DiMaggio together with his son Joe Jr.

SPORT magazine was the original major general interest American sports magazine. Launched in September 1946 by a small New York-based publisher, Macfadden Publications Inc., SPORT pioneered the generous use of color photography – it carried eight full colour plates in its first edition – and almost immediately became half-bible, half-guru to a generation of men coming of age. SPORT predated the launch of Sports Illustrated by eight years, and is remembered for bringing several editorial innovations to the genre, as well as creating, in 1955, the SPORT Magazine Award. The SPORT Award, given initially to the outstanding player in baseball’s World Series (Johnny Podres of the Brooklyn Dodgers was the inaugural winner), was later expanded to include the pre-eminent post-season performer in the other three major North American team sports. What made SPORT the most distinctive from Sports Illustrated, however, was the fact it was a monthly magazine as opposed to SI's weekly distribution. Major league affiliations American League (1901–present) East Division (1969–present) Current uniform Retired Numbers 1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 8, 9, 10, 15, 16, 23, 32, 37, 44, 49 Name New York Yankees (1913–present) New York Highlanders (1903-1912) Baltimore Orioles (1901-1902) (Also referred to as... Joseph Paul DiMaggio, born Giuseppe Paolo DiMaggio, Jr. ... The first issue of Sports Illustrated, August 16, 1954, showing Milwaukee Braves star Eddie Mathews at bat in Milwaukee County Stadium. ... For other events named World Series, see World Series (disambiguation). ... John Joseph Johnny Podres (born September 30, 1932 in Witherbee, New York) is a former Major League Baseball left-handed starting pitcher who played with the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers (1953-55, 1957-67); Detroit Tigers (1966-67), and San Diego Padres (1969). ... The Brooklyn Dodgers were a Major League Baseball team that played from 1890-1957. ...

SPORT was published continually between its launch and August 2000, when its then-owner, emap plc, made the decision to close the money-losing title. EMAP plc is a British media company, specialising in the production of magazines, and the organization of business events and conferences. ...


For many of the middle years of the 20th century, the king of sport magazines in North America was not Time Inc.'s Sports Illustrated, but the brainchild of a much smaller publishing house, MacFadden Publications. Launched in September 1946, MacFadden's SPORT magazine broke new ground, as the first mainstream national sports publication, but also in its editorial innovations. In those years, SPORT had the market for magazine-style sports journalism virtually to itself and, under founding editor Ernest Heyn, pioneered a brand of behind-the-scenes glimpses of the heroes of the day not previously attempted. The emphasis was not on the games or the teams, but on the elements of human drama that lay beneath. SPORT was an icon in the league of Life and Look and the Saturday Evening Post.

Many of the magazine’s editorial innovations -- such as its SPORTtalk digest of short items at the front of the magazine, the SPORT Special long feature at the back and, in particular, the use of full-page colour portraits of the stars of the day -- were later borrowed by the new kid on the block, SI, when it made its debut as a weekly in 1954. In fact, Time Inc., tried to purchase the name SPORT, but the company's final offer of $200,000 fell on deaf ears at MacFadden -- who would have sold for $50,000 more -- so Time Inc. went instead with Sports Illustrated, a name used by two, previous failed sports journals. Time Inc. ...

From its launch in September 1946, SPORT magazine thrived. Each month its pages were filled with evocative writing by the likes of Grantland Rice, Roger Kahn and Dick Schaap, and exquisite photographs by such shooting stars as Ozzie Sweet, George Heyer, Marvin Newman, Hy Peskin and Martin Blumenthal. It continued to thrive for a quarter-century or so, as SI struggled to reach profitability, and to find the right blend of spectator and participatory sports. Representative of SPORT magazine's stature, in the hearts and minds of the reading public, but also of the men who ran the leagues and teams across North America, was the magazine's success in establishing the SPORT Award in 1955 for the most valuable player in the World Series. The concept was expanded over the years until a SPORT magazine award was presented to the outstanding post-season performer in all four major team sports, as sanctioned by the leagues. Grantland Rice (November 1, 1880–July 13, 1954) was an early 20th century American sportswriter. ... Roger Kahn Roger Kahn (born October 31, 1927 in Brooklyn, New York) is one of Americas transcendent writers about sport - especially baseball. ... Richard J. Schaap (September 27, 1934 – December 21, 2001) was a 20th century American sportswriter, broadcaster, and the author or co-author of 33 books. ... Hy Peskin (born November 5, 1915 - June 2, 2005) was an American photographer notable for several famous photographs of American sports people and celebrities published by Sports Illustrated and Life. ...

But by the early 1970s, MacFadden, lacking Time's deep pockets, was fading and there ensued a dizzying succession of ownership changes for the magazine. There was also a corresponding zig-zag in editorial direction, and gradually SPORT lost its way, its distinctive voice and, eventually, its presence. In August 2000, after appearing every month for 54 years under 10 different owners, SPORT magazine ceased publication.

SPORT's demise was duly mourned. Allen Barra, writing in Salon.com, put it this way: "Though it didn't make any headlines, the news of the death of SPORT magazine ... must have put a lump in the throat of those old enough to remember the greatest of all American sports magazines ... Sports Illustrated was great, but SI, in an era when you couldn't see all the highlights every night, was read for news; SPORT was for reflection." And, in a rare departure for the competitive magazine industry, SI itself paid tribute to SPORT on its own pages with a poignant piece that began, "They closed the barbershop last week, the one in town, the first place -- not counting school or a friend's house -- where your mother would drop you off and leave you ..." Screenshot of Salon. ...

Such was the comfort afforded by SPORT magazine.

Today, the archive of the magazine, comprising approximately a quarter million photographic images and illustrations, lives on, forming the base of The SPORT Collection, which is housed in Toronto, Canada.

External Links

The SPORT Gallery



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