The symbolic silver goal posts shown here are for John Hersey, the tall, pensive Connecticut novelist who has etched his view of our times into half a dozen widely acclaimed books, including A Bell for Adano, Into the Valley, Hiroshima and The Wall. In the next few days this trophy will be presented to Hersey and similar goal posts will be given to the 24 other men whose pictures appear in the following pages.
Together they constitute SPORTS ILLUSTRATED'S 1960 Silver Anniversary All-America.
The 25 men have these things in common: 25 falls ago they earned varsity letters in football; over the intervening quarter century they have acquitted themselves in careers and public service with outstanding distinction.
This is how they were chosen: more than 200 colleges and universities were asked to nominate one senior from their 1935 varsity football squads whose career, after 25 Years, has shown the most accomplishment. From the resulting citations a panel of distinguished Americans (see page 73) selected the 25 men it considered most outstanding. Among them are a college president, a self-made millionaire, an orthopedic surgeon, a stockbroker and a brigadier general in the U.S. Marine Corps.
Some of them played the game of football so superbly that middle-aged fans still recall their names with a thrill of pleasure: Berwanger of Chicago, first winner of the Heisman Trophy; Bryant of Alabama, who put the surge in the Crimson Tide; Shakespeare of Notre Dame, whose last-second touchdown pass robbed Ohio State of a national championship. The skills of others are remembered chiefly by classmates and coaches.
Their own recollections of those Saturday afternoons 25 years ago are vivid because football is a game that requires physical courage and provides tangible triumphs seldom encountered in later life, no matter how successful. Novelist Hersey recalls with shy pride the game against Lafayette in which he played almost 60 minutes with a broken hand. If pressed, Banker Fred-crick Moseley, kneading an irreparably broken nose, admits to scoring Harvard's only touchdown against Yale. Alf Brandin, now a vice-president of Stanford University, then one of Stanford's "Vow Boys," still relishes the 13-0 victory over Cal which took his team to its third straight Rose Bowl. The Bowdoin game that Industrialist William Drake recalls with most pleasure was played against a Wesleyan team that had Economist James O'Leary at left end (score: Bowdoin 33, Wesleyan 0; no hard feelings today). All men, even the stars of their day, agree that football is not everything. But they emphatically believe that for them it was a useful part of their education, that college football can be a healthy adjunct to shaping the whole man that is the goal of a liberal education.
The world into which they graduated was one of promise and warning. The country was moving out of the shadow of the Great Depression, but in Europe and Asia there were rising regimes intent on challenging "the decadent democracies." Before the League of Nations an African emperor made his eloquent but unheeded appeal against the invasion of his country by Mussolini's Italy. Tides were moving that would involve 19 of the 25 award men in active and often distinguished combat. To make their way in this threatening climate they drew on the lessons learned on the football field: tenacity, self-denial and teamwork.
Their lives today show that they learned those lessons well. Almost every one of them gives far more of himself to his profession and to a staggering variety of community services than he gets back in money or honors. For most of them, responsibility became its own reward a long time ago. In an age characterized by Operators and Status Seekers, they are a select group indeed.
HERE ARE THE WINNERS
On a recent winter afternoon 22 of the 25 award winners met on five college campuses across the country (the other three had to stick to their jobs) to have their pictures taken and to look each other over. Although their careers allow them almost no leisure, most of them were within 10 pounds of their playing weights, seemed very much the effective and influential men their college presidents (and coaches) had hoped they would become.