This week when you come to PAT ON THE BACK in its customary place on the last page, the name that you read is likely to be more familiar than the face that you see. The whole country knows Musial, Stan. The reputation of Musial, Dick, on the other hand, has not yet spread far beyond St. Louis, where he goes to high school. But it's a reputation that makes Dick deserve a commendation as much as his father last year deserved the biggest pat that SPORTS ILLUSTRATED can give, Sportsman of the Year.
There aren't any specific rules for a pat on the back. It's a kind of feeling, like my no-trump bid. In its early days we used to say it was "a salute to some who have earned the good opinion of the world of sport, if not yet its tallest headlines." This is close to the general idea. But then there came weeks when it was right to salute Rocky Marciano, for his golf; Billy Martin, for coaching Little Leaguers; and Ty Cobb, for endowing a hospital. And somehow it turned out that tall headlines didn't have much to do with it.
PAT ON THE BACK is a recognition of quality more than quantity, of character more than skill, or simply a bow to performance above and beyond the call of duty.
One man who has kept every PAT ON THE BACK since the beginning is Mr. David Greenhouse, the president of the Arlen Trophy Co. of Brooklyn, who watches almost instinctively whenever they pass out the compliments. Naturally he likes to see a trophy in the act. A trophy, he says, is real. It's something you can hold in your hand, put on the mantel or give to a favorite grandchild.
So the Arlen Trophy Co. asked if it could donate an engraved statuette to each person honored in PAT ON THE BACK. It certainly could and, starting with Dick Musial, it's going to. Dick will receive his trophy in a premi√®re presentation on Bob Ingham's Sports Show over station KSD-TV in St. Louis at 6:05 p.m., May 8.
And from now on, whenever it's possible, the people in PAT ON THE BACK, individuals or teams, one or many, will receive their trophies in fitting ceremony. But if there's no ceremonial way, by parcel post or dog sled.
Unlike Oscar or Emmy, this one has no name yet. Seems likely though to end up as a Patrick.