With the eighteenth volume of this hardy perennial, the question is: Better? Less good? Just as good? Let's say it is a completely dependable series and each year offers its high points and its just as good contributions. The scope varies little virtually every sport is here. The ""newcomers"" provide the extra fillip and there are two in the inner circle of the winners:- Al Stump for his heart rending magazine piece about the decline and fall of the immortal Ty Cobb, who could not play the game against cancer, and took it out in drunkenness and hostility; and Howard M. Tuckner, of the New York Times for a feature story on the horseman, Hirsch Jacobs. Among the repeaters, first place goes to the veteran winner, Stanley Woodward, for his report on the amazing comeback victory of Princeton over a great Columbia football team in 1961. There are other candidates that some readers might pick from an outstanding array. Don't overlook Jack Murphy's The Mongoose Strikes or Jimmy Breslin's. The Man Who Isn't Casey Stengel. A steady favorite this. And a useful reference book with its list of champions, its panorama of the sports year.