Damon Runyon

Best known for the movies and plays based on his short stories about Broadway characters and sporting types, Runyon began his newspaper career in Denver in 1901. After a brief stop in San Francisco, he joined the New York American, covering the Giants from 1911 to 1920. A fun-loving man with a sense of humor, he seldom smiled or laughed openly. He considered himself an observer, not a judge, and never indulged in bitter or destructive reporting. An immaculate dresser who sported a porkpie hat, he was at one time a heavy drinker, but gave it up and stuck to coffee most of the time when he socialized with other writers. In 1920 he left the baseball beat to write a syndicated column and short stories. One collection, Take It Easy, was published in 1939. He also published a volume of poetry. For a while he owned a string of racehorses and a stable of fighters. An operation for throat cancer in 1944 left him speechless, but he continued writing his syndicated column until his death. Connie Mack called him “a master of characters and plots such as we see every day in our grandstands.”