WOULD YOU BELIEVE three-quarters of a century in the track-magazine business? We postponed the celebration coverage until this month, but the February edition marked the 75th birthday for Track & Field News. (And December 29 marked another anniversary for me: 53 years on the job.)
This month’s anniversary offering marks edition No. 934 we’ve published since the first one rolled off the presses dated February 1948. It has been my pleasure to have worked on no fewer than 670 of those issues (my first was January of ’70).
My total includes our 3 previous Anniversary Issues: 25th (I February 1973), 50th (February 1998) & 60th (February 2008). We hope you enjoy the plethora of recap material we have published here, be it either a trip down memory lane or some brand new history of which you weren’t aware.
Here at T&FN we like to think of every one of our monthly offerings as a “landmark issue,” but among the landmarkiest have been the Centenary issues. Here’s when the 9 of them were published:
Issue #100 — May 1956; 200 — September 1964; 300 — II May 1971; 400 — January 1978; 500 — June 1986; 600 — November 1994; 700 — March 2003; 800 — August 2011; 900 — December 2019.
If you’ve got a head for figures you may have noticed that the century publications haven’t come at exactly regular intervals. For various reasons, during our 75-year life span we’ve had volumes of 7, 11, 12, 17 and 18 issues. No, there won’t be a quiz.
Assuming that we continue on in a normal 12-issue mode, the super-landmark 1000th issue will come out as September 2028, perhaps beamed direct to the chip in your brain. I’m planning on reading it; hope you are too!
I also hope to be able to contribute some significant piece of writing to that issue, but one of the purposes of this month’s column is to let you know that you’ll be seeing less of me; I’ve already begun a slow withdrawal from being your Editor.
No, I’m not actually retiring from the magazine in toto, but as 2023 goes on I’ll be making less of a contribution to the everyday running of the enterprise. You may have noticed the absence of my column in the December and January editions. That was the launching of my sail-into-the-sunset ship.
My title will change to Editor Emeritus, with the Editor’s baton being passed off to the capable hands of longtime Managing Editor Sieg Lindstrom. And longtime Associate Editor Jeff Hollobaugh will take over Sieg’s ME chair.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t use this opportunity to give a big shout of thanks to the Nelson Brothers, Bert & Cordner, for their having been bold enough to create T&FN in the first place.
Thanks also to Publisher Emeritus Ed Fox — my business partner in the T&FN venture since 1987 — and his successor Janet Vitu. Under their stewardship the tour side of the operation has continued to serve travel-hungry fans through trying times.
T&FN also wouldn’t be what it is without having had an army of volunteer correspondents through the years. Space restraints won’t all me to cite them all here, but hats off to those über-vets who first appeared in the staffbox in the ’60s and ’70s and are still contributing:
1965 — Tom Jennings, Jack Shepard, Don Steffens; 1966 — Peter Matthews; 1968 — Jack Pfeifer; 1970 — Don Kopriva; 1971 — Gene Cherry; 1972 — Elliott Denman; 1973 — Peter Diamond; 1974 — Tom Jordan, Walt Murphy; 1978 — Dave Johnson.
Most of all, a huge thanks to all the spectacular athletes (and their coaches) who have made for 75 years of incomparable entertainment.
I can’t think of a more enjoyable way to have spent most of my life. ◻︎