Jimmy The Greek

March 7, 2012 by staff 

Jimmy The Greek, Dimetrios Georgios Synodinos (September 9, 1918 – April 21, 1996), better known as Jimmy “the Greek” Snyder, was an American sports commentator and Las Vegas bookie. Snyder was born Dimetrios Georgios Synodinos in Steubenville, Ohio. According to his New York Times obituary of April 22, 1996, Snyder’s family roots were on the island of Chios, Tholo potami in the Aegean Sea. As a teenager in Ohio, he became acquainted with bookmakers. He invested money in oil drilling and coal mining, but when those ventures failed, Snyder moved to Las Vegas in 1956 and began a weekly pro-football betting line.

That led to a 12-year stint on the CBS Sunday morning football show, The NFL Today. He was fired by CBS Sports in 1988 after a controversial comment about race.

On November 10, 2009, ESPN aired a show in their 30 for 30 series titled The Legend of Jimmy the Greek, which was produced by Fritz Mitchell. Commentary was provided by, among others, Brent Musburger, Irv Cross and Phyllis George from The NFL Today, plus Anthony Snyder Jimmy’s son, as well as his brother Johnny and sister Angie. The show also acknowledges his role in the first sportcasts of poker tournaments.

Although Jimmy was largely unknown outside of the United States, in 1974 his name achieved international renown. After beating George Foreman to regain the world heavyweight championship, Muhammad Ali, in the midst of an interview with David Frost, looked into the camera and addressed his doubters. “All of you bow” he said. “All of my critics crawl…All of you suckers bow… If you wanna know any damn thing about boxing, don’t go to no boxing experts in Las Vegas, don’t go to no Jimmy The Greek. Come to Muhammad Ali.”

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