One question that frequently comes my way is, "What has been the most talked about SI story?"
Recently, I've had a chance to ask the question of some of the country's outstanding sportscasters, and their answers provide, I think, an informal but highly interesting "survey."
Many of these experts in talking about sports agree with Bill Stern of ABC, who tags the series on boxing as our all-out "news-making" lead. "However," Bill added, "I got one of my finest reading thrills from the simple eloquence of your Connie Mack piece." At CBS, John Derr reported that Herb Wind's golf stories had given him more quotable information than anything else in SI. "Of course," said John, "golf just happens to be my favorite sport."
Commentator Bud Palmer, whose broadcasting experiences range from Madison Square Garden's Westminster Dog Show and the National Horse Show to hockey and, currently, basketball, credits SCOREBOARD as the feature he refers to most often. Bud also told me that a story so far removed from sport's ordinary events as a feature on girl cheerleaders had once very handily filled a program spot for him.
Walter (Red) Barber, in the first line of sportscasters more than 20 years, explained the diversity of opinion this way: "I keep and use bound volumes of SI. You see," said Barber, "the really important thing to me is that SPORTS ILLUSTRATED wouldn't be on my library shelf if I didn't truly believe in the magazine as a whole."
In a way, I suppose, Red takes the edge off my survey of most talked about stories in SI, because while boxing surely wins the informal poll, more talked about than any single story is the whole showcase—the myriad of pleasant, colorful, significant, timely events that fill our pages and sport's weeks all year long.