“The race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, but that’s the way to bet.”

by chuckofish

Today is the birthday of Damon Runyon (October 4, 1880 – December 10, 1946)–American newspaperman and author. He is most remembered today for writing the stories which inspired the broadway musical Guys and Dolls. 

Sportswriter Damon Runyon

Here are some things about him you probably didn’t know:

He was born in Manhattan–but in Manhattan, Kansas. He grew up in Pueblo, Colorado. His father and grandfather were newspaper editors.

In 1898, when still in his teens, Runyon enlisted in the U.S. Army to fight in the Spanish-American War.

He was the Hearst newspapers’ baseball columnist for many years, beginning in 1911, and his knack for spotting the eccentric and the unusual, on the field or in the stands, is credited with revolutionizing the way baseball was covered.

One year, while covering spring training in Texas, he met Pancho Villa in a bar and later accompanied the unsuccessful American expedition into Mexico searching for Villa.

Runyon died in New York City in 1946, at age 66. His body was cremated, and his ashes were illegally scattered from a DC-3 airplane over Broadway by Captain Eddie Rickenbacker. The family plot of Damon Runyon is located at Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx.

His stories are still in print and I am going to read them. His gangsters seem much more appealing than our 21st-century ones.