The New York Daily News is reporting today that columnist Jimmy Breslin has died. During the 1960’s, Jimmy Breslin was a columnist for the New York Herald Tribune. His columns were insightful and often hilarious. They were the subject of many conversations in my house when I was growing up. He wrote many books, but my two favorites are Can’t Anyone Here Play This Game, a book about the 1962 New York Mets (who were an adventure in themselves) and The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight based on the life of Joey Gallo (later made into a movie).
The Daily News article describes the article that got him noticed:
In 1963, Breslin was hired as a news columnist for the New York Herald Tribune and quickly made his mark.
He was sent to cover the funeral of President John F. Kennedy in November 1963, and found an angle that eluded other reporters. Breslin’s story about Clifton Pollard, the man who dug the President’s grave is still one of the most talked about stories in journalism history, even used in J-school courses as a prime example of enterprise reporting.
“One of the last to serve John Fitzgerald Kennedy, who was the thirty-fifth President of this country, was a working man who earns $3.01 an hour and said it was an honor to dig the grave,” Breslin wrote.
Over the next quarter century Breslin was a scoop machine, scoring exclusives on government corruption and Mafia malfeasance.
His unique views on the events of the day and the humor he added to reporting those events will be missed.