The TVWEEK cover subject was Green Bay Packer-to be Ray Nitschke, getting ready for his first game as a soon-to-be-pro, the 1958 College All-Star Game at Chicago’s Soldier Field. They would play the defending NFL champion Detroit Lions(yes, there is indeed such a thing) in the latest chapter of a series that was born on the front page of a major Midwestern newspaper, along with another yearly sports tradition, the Baseball All-Star Game. The man who invented these yearly classics was a Star-gazing newspaper editor named Arch Ward.
Ward was a man of strong opinions about politics, religion, almost anything a conservative newspaper editor can do to sell papers, which in Ward’s case also meant opining about who was the best baseball player, football player, etc. Ward’s idea, was simply put, a annual exhibition of such talent during the Summer season, starting with Baseball’s midsummer classic, which was first played in 1933 at Chicago’s Comiskey Park, followed one year later by the annual clash of the NFL champion against the nation’s best college players from the past season, which ran until 1976. Ward had considerable influence with the NFL, so much, there was even talk of him becoming Commissioner, but a later falling out would spur him to start the All-American Football Conference in the mid-40’s. Ward died in 1955, but his All-Star dream lives on today, though there have been some tweaks in various All-Star games over the years, even the addition of skills competition in many games. But Ward was not just a newspaper editor, he was just simply a man who saw “Stars.”