July 2, 1978, Jimmy Cannon for the N.Y.Post wrote:

If Howard Cosell were a sport, would be roller derby.”

“If I had a choice of drinking partners, I’d pick Winston Churchill.”

“The higher the girl’s heels, the skinnier her legs figure to be.”

About two dozen of those one liners adorn each segment of the book that reflects Jimmy Cannon’s world —columns about his old Greenwich Village neighborhood, baseball and boxing and football and horseplayers, losers and little people, war in Europe and Korea, and his Broadway pals like Joe E. Lewis, the comedian he hung around Toots Shor’s with after the nightclubs closed.

Jimmy Cannon was writing about Joe Namath when he typed:

It all comes down to a man being great at something.”

He meant the quarterback, but that line belonged on Jimmy Cannon’s tombstone. In modern sportswriting, there has been only one patron saint with the apt initials J.C. – Jimmy Cannon died in 1973 after a stroke had put him in hospital beds and a wheelchair for more than two years. But for those who miss him, his brothers, Jack and Tom, have put together a collection of his columns in a new book that could only have the title it has, “Nobody Asked Me, But…The World of Jimmy Cannon.”

His style was influenced by Ernest Hemingway and Damon Runyon, but the time his two index fingers pounded the words out of his typewriter, they were all Jimmy Cannon, straight and simple, like his “You‘re” columns:

“You’re Ted Willliams, who never wanted partners.”

“You’re Rocky Marciano, who bled for your fame.”

“You’re Roger Maris, who isn’t Babe Ruth.”

Fussy and fidgety. Jimmy Cannon once ordered a club sandwich but instructed the waitress, “I’m on a diet. only two pieces of bread, not three.” When the club sandwich arrived with its customary three slices, he groaned. “God gets even with me in small ways.” In later years he laughed when that story was told on him, but when the stroke hit him, he mumbled:

“God got even in a big way this time.”

After the funeral in St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Pat Lynch. who worked with him at the Journal American and is now with the New York Racing Association, stood on the Fifth Avenue steps as the casket was put into the hearse.

“Did you see the altar boy with the red sneakers?” Pat Lynch said. “Jimmy would’ve loved that.”

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