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Perhaps as confirmation, Runyon was inducted into the writers' wing (the J. Taylor Spink Award) of the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1967.He is also a member of the International Boxing Hall Of Fame and is known for dubbing heavyweight champion James J. Runyon frequently contributed sports poems to the American on boxing and baseball themes, and also wrote numerous short stories and essays.When Berman was killed in a hit on Berman's boss, Dutch Schultz, Runyon quickly assumed the role of damage control for his deceased friend, correcting erroneous press releases (including one that stated Berman was one of Schultz's gunmen, to which Runyon replied, "Otto would have been as effective a bodyguard as a two-year-old.").Runyon's marriage to Ellen Egan produced two children (Mary and Damon, Jr.), but broke up in 1928 over rumors that Runyon had become infatuated with Patrice Amati del Grande, a Mexican woman he had first met while covering the Pancho Villa raids in 1916 and discovered once again in New York, when she called the American seeking him out.For the next ten years he covered the New York Giants and professional boxing for the New York American.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.Runyon had promised her in Mexico that if she would complete the education he paid for her, he would find her a dancing job in New York.
One of his paraphrases from a well-known line in Ecclesiastes ran: "The race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, but that's how the smart money bets." A heavy drinker as a young man, he seems to have quit drinking soon after arriving in New York, after his drinking nearly cost him the courtship of the woman who became his first wife, Ellen Egan. His best friend was mobster accountant Otto Berman, and he incorporated Berman into several of his stories under the alias "Regret, the horse player".
Runyon's fictional world is also known to the general public through the musical Guys and Dolls based on two of his stories, "The Idyll of Miss Sarah Brown" and "Blood Pressure".
The musical additionally borrows characters and story elements from a few other Runyon stories, most notably "Pick The Winner".
After a notable failure in trying to organize a Colorado minor baseball league, which lasted less than a week, Runyon moved to New York City in 1910.
In his first New York byline, the American editor dropped the "Alfred" and the name "Damon Runyon" appeared for the first time.