SPORT Magazine

SPORT magazine launched in 1946, as the first-general interest sports magazine. It seized an unappreciated subject like sports and took it mainstream.

Fondly remembered today as pure Americana, SPORT was the brainchild of a small New York publisher, MacFadden Publications Inc, and became a triumph from the day its first issue hit the street with a color image of Joe DiMaggio and his son Joe, Jr. on the cover.

That inaugural edition included eight full color plates — unheard of at the time — and almost immediately SPORT rose to over a million in circulation and became half bible, half guru to a generation of men coming of age in post-war America.

In its early 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.

Insightful essays as long as 5,000 words - or, on occasions, such as the case of a Babe Ruth epic by Jack Sher in the January 1947 edition, 13,000! – focused on the personalities and human drama of sport.

Each month SPORT was filled with evocative writing from its own stable of staff writers, plus submissions from the likes of Grantland Rice, Jimmy Breslin, David Halberstam, William F. Buckley and Dick Schaap.

But it was SPORT‘s groundbreaking use of color photography, particularly during its first 30 years, which captivated a generation of sports fans, many of whom wallpapered their bedrooms with the exquisite full-page photos that were the magazine’s signature item.

Representative of SPORT‘s superiority, 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.

But by the early 1970s, MacFadden, lacking Time’s deep pockets, was fading and thus 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.

Its passing was mourned in many quarters. As The Wall Street Journal‘s Allen Barra, writing in Salon.com, put it, “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.”

Bob Ryan of the Boston Globe described SPORT as “an irreplaceable part of the American sports experience.”

And, in a rare departure for the competitive magazine industry, SI itself paid tribute to SPORT on its own pages with a heartfelt 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 …”

Such was the comfort afforded by SPORT magazine.

SPORT published 647 issues comprising approximately 10,000 articles and 40 million words between September 1946 and August 2000.

Archived SPORT Articles

Ali & Frazier Three Years Later

By Jimmy Breslin She saw herself in the ring, I knew that. When it became extremely hard for Muhammad Ali, when he couldn’t get his feet off the floor, the…

Muhammad Ali Then and Now

By Dick Schaap In some ways, it seems so long ago: John F. Kennedy was a hand­some young Senator, starting to cam­paign for the presidency of the United States. In…

Maurice Richard: Hockey Was A Better Game In My Day

Maurice Richard: Hockey Was A Better Game In My Day

By Maurice Richard as told to Stan Fischler November 1969 When I played for the Montreal Canadiens in the 40s and 50s, the Stanley Cup playoffs always climaxed the National…

The Life and Death of Howie Morenz

The Life and Death of Howie Morenz

Speed and grace were his gospel in hockey and in life. He died tragically at 34, his reputation as the game’s greatest player secure By Roger Kahn It was always…

Hockey’s Boom Boom Man

By Vince Lunny January 1953 Star freshmen in the National Hockey League have a habit of flunking out before they become veterans, but Bernie Geoffrion is one rookie who is…

Goodbye, Graziano

Goodbye, Graziano

  On the eve of what may be Rocky’s last stand as a top-flight boxer, an old friend reviews his lusty career. When he really had it, the Rock was…

Why Don’t They Stop Brawling on the Ice?

Stick-swinging rowdies, given encouragement by avaricious club-owners, may kill hockey as a major sport, says this critic By VINCE LUNNY The hockey game at the Boston Garden was sizzling like a…

Gangway for Gonzales!

Gangway for Gonzales!

A DARK, towering storm is brewing over the American tennis scene. A storm named Richard Alonzo (Pancho) Gonzales — and when you say it, smile. In September of last year,…

RINGSIDE AT THE RINK

RINGSIDE AT THE RINK

By Bruce Jacobs   Record crowds jam hockey games all over the U. S. – but they go to see knockouts, not tactics! It’s no secret that when a hockey…

HOW TO FIX A PRIZE FIGHT

HOW TO FIX A PRIZE FIGHT

By a Bookmaker As told to Lester Bromberg February 1948 I been around fights since years back. I used to go down to Canarsie, where it was half a buck…

The Strange Case of Primo Carnera

The Strange Case of Primo Carnera

The Strange Case of Primo Carnera By Jack Sher FROM SPORT, FEBRUARY 1948                                  …

Hockey’s Tricky Trio

They may not be the best in the business yet, but the three kids who play up front for the Toronto Maple Leafs are getting there fast, They’ve got it…

The Babe Ruth You Never Knew

The Babe Ruth You Never Knew

  Swaggering down baseball’s high road with his over-sized bat exploding prodigious home runs, the Bam belted his way to a special pinnacle in U. S. sport. Here is the…

Mr. Zero

Mr. Zero

                Long on performance, short on conversation -that’s Frank Brimsek of the Boston Bruins. They swear that he’s the NHL’s best goalie If…

Which Way, Woodcock?

Which Way, Woodcock?

by Frank Graham U.S. fans, who don’t often like English heavyweights, go for Bruce because he can hit – and take it. But is he the man to beat Louis?…

Pro Basketball Is In!

Pro Basketball Is In!

by Arthur Daley Rescued from dingy, smoky dance halls, and set up in business on a big-time basis with a lot of fresh money, a fast-moving sport is booming. It’s…

What Chance Has Jackie Robinson?

What Chance Has Jackie Robinson?

First Negro to break into organized baseball, Jackie Robinson captivated International League fans with his hustling play. But is he good enough to hold a big-league Dodger position? by Tom…

Is the New League Here to Stay?

Round one in the hectic struggle between the new and the old pro football leagues is over. What’s the picture now? The man who fathered the All-America tells you bluntly…

They Play for Keeps at NYU

They Play for Keeps at NYU

One of the world’s biggest educational institutions, the University located on the sidewalks of New York is a hotbed of basketball talent. How come? What mystic quality do the Violets…

Bentley Brothers of the Black Hawks

Bentley Brothers of the Black Hawks

Meet the two terrors from the Canadian town of DeLisle, their families and friends, part of a great hockey legend! Most any day now Papa Bill Bentley is going to…

Mr. Irish Has Headaches Too

Mr. Irish Has Headaches Too

I’ve known Ned Irish a long time, over 20 years, since we were both high-school correspondents for a Brooklyn newspaper. Yet every once in so often, at a college basketball…

Here Comes Harris (Bucky Harris)

Here Comes Harris (Bucky Harris)

  On November 5, 1946, by pronouncement of Leland Stanford MacPhail, Stanley Harris became manager of the New York Yankees. It is a post to which, in common with most…

I Choose Davis

I Choose Davis

By Bill Stern-NBC Sports Director Professional observer or ordinary fan, every sports lover reserves a special spot in his heart for the athlete whom he considers the greatest all-around performer…

Fighter from Manassa The Story of Jack Dempsey – Man and Mauler

Fighter from Manassa The Story of Jack Dempsey – Man and Mauler

By Jack Sher First fighter in history to draw a million dollar gate, the longtime champ symbolizes a fabulous sports era. You’ll enjoy following the ups and downs of the…

Did You Know?

That Andy Varipapa, trick-shot bowler who recently won the National Match Game Championship, claims more than 45 perfect games in competition… That Rogers Hornsby, one of baseball’s greatest hitters, will…

Around the Old Hot Stove

With Johnny Winkin and Ed Fitzgerald Right now, with Spring training in the air, every fan who holds a franchise in the Hot Stove League is getting his personal predictions…

SPORT Review of Books

RIGHT DOWN YOUR ALLEY. Drawings and text by Ford Banes. A. S. Barnes and Co., ($2.00). It’s an old axiom that good things frequently come in small packages, and that’s…

Q & A

This Question-and-Answer Department is a regular feature in SPORT. Because we have space to answer only a few of the many questions you send us, we try to choose those…

Letters to SPORT

EDITORS OF SPORT: I am a very keen fan on sports, and also follow the averages in most sports very closely. I find a very great amount of interesting information…

TIME OUT

DON’T OVERTRAIN THE GOWEN GOOSE In a bristling retirement speech which burst like a string of hand grenades on the gentlemen attending the major-league meetings in Los Angeles in December,…

It Happened in January

It Happened in January

  TWENTY-FIVE YEARS AGO (1923) Wee Killie Keeler, 51, onetime place-hitting star of the Baltimore Orioles, Brooklyn Dodgers, NY Giants, and NY Yankees, died in Brooklyn just as the New…

SPORTalk

In his travels, and by phone and mail, Biff covers the country to dig up the backstage sport stories you like to read. Send your SPORTalk items to Biff at…

The Story of Santa Anita

The Story of Santa Anita

Coast fans once said it could never succeed, but a San Francisco dentist proved them wrong with the “Miracle Mile,” top U. S. glamor track THE late Elias Jackson (Lucky)…

Improve Your Bowling

Improve Your Bowling

by Pat McDonough Take a lesson from the champs. Studying methods of top U.S. kegler is your best bet for success on the alleys To the casual spectator, bowling appears…

As They Really Are!

As They Really Are!

Out of sporting spotlight’s glare, the great ones, as their friends know them, are surprisingly different from what the fans see at ring and ballpark.

Andy Phillip and the Whiz Kids

Andy Phillip and the Whiz Kids

by Arch Ward   Back from the wars to the campus come the fabulous basketball wizards of Illinois with one aim and purpose – to recapture their Big Nine title…

Spotlight on Basketball

Spotlight on Basketball

by Grantland Rice                       Ticket Hungry fans from coast to coast are in a scramble for the precious pasteboards this…

Sport vs. Crime

Sport vs. Crime

In an exclusive interview, G-Man J. Edgar Hoover says organized athletics can help smash the U.S. juvenile crime wave, but sport must be clean itself by Harry Wismer – ABC…

Forecast for ’47

Forecast for ’47

Who will be the headliners this year? Will Louis stay on top? How about Dyer? Leahy? Hogan? Williams? Our Consulting Editor goes out on a limb to pick ‘em. It’s…

Swat Replaces Swing

Time was when golf’s siege guns thought rhythm and grace led to stardom. A famous pro says that’s over. Today you’ve got to slug it! Take it from Johnny Farrell,…

Roaring Down The Track

Roaring Down The Track

With John Winkin and Ed Fitzgerald Indoor arenas will soon echo to the steady beat of running feet. Who’ll be in front of the pack? By early February, the boys…

Straight Down the Alley

Straight Down the Alley

What’s new in sportswear, as demonstrated by the fan-of-the-month. Good-looking and practical, these clothes are right in style whether you want to bowl or just look on by J. Robert…

It Happened in January

  TWENTY-FIVE YEARS AGO (1922) Jimmy Johnston got a thousand replies to his advertisement for a fighter to beat Jack Dempsey. Meanwhile the lad who was to succeed the Manassa…

SPORT’s Quiz

SPORT’s Quiz

What’s your rating as an expert on sports? Try our quiz each month and see how you stack up

Great SPORT Photos

Great SPORT Photos

Often distorted by memory, high-spot scenes of sport action are recorded faithfully by the speed of a camera which captures the drama packed into a split second

Letters to SPORT

Letters to SPORT

Editors of SPORT: After thoroughly reading SPORT, I can honeslty and truthfully say that it is a great magazine which deals with sports in a way that the American people…

You Can’t Stop Veeck

by Ed Prell   Despite a setback which would sideline most men, Cleveland’s live-wire head man plots new ways to build a winning team EVEN while he was being wheeled to the…