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Brother Says Snyder Lived for Sports, Family

April 22, 1996

Jimmy ``The Greek″ Snyder, the flashy Las Vegas oddsmaker, took great comfort in his family and his Ohio roots.

``He was a good son and a good brother. He was a compassionate person and he felt for people,″ his brother John Synodinos told The Associated Press from his home in Wintersville, Ohio.

Wintersville is about six miles west of Steubenville, the Ohio River city where the family grew up.

``When he was happy, we were happy with him. When he was sorrowful or had problems, we were with him, too _ just like a family is,″ said Synodinos, who uses the family’s given name.

Snyder, 76, died Sunday in Las Vegas of heart failure after a long illness. The last time he visited his home in Steubenville was about three years ago.

``When he comes, we don’t tell people _ gives us a chance to spend some good time together,″ Synodinos said.

Angela Kayafas, one of Snyder’s sisters, recently told The Herald-Star of Steubenville that Snyder warmly remembered his hometown.

``Jimmy’s always been very proud of his heritage. He never minded when folks around town started calling him `The Greek,‴ she told the newspaper.

Snyder was a 10th-grade dropout who dealt craps growing up in Steubenville. His mother was shot to death in front of her house by her brother-in-law when Jimmy was 10.

He was a self-styled oddsmaker who lived for sports.

``He ate and drank sports. That was his calling,″ Synodinos said.

Snyder had been a CBS Sports commentator, but was fired in 1988 after saying black athletes were superior to whites. He later apologized saying, ``I am truly sorry for my remarks and once again I offer my heartfelt apology to all I may have offended.″

Synodinos said Snyder took the firing personally.

``He felt he was falsely accused. He was praising the blacks actually, Synodinos said. ``He had a lot of good friends in sports _ of all races. For anyone to insinuate he was a racist bothered him very, very, very much.″

Snyder took the firing well, his brother said.

``He always rebounded. That’s one thing I can give my brother credit for,″ Synodinos said. ``He’s always been a good example to me.″

Synodinos said his brother was the one who started the odds in football.

``He originated the odds by getting newspapers from all over the country by rail and looked through them all and made the odds for the pro team,″ Synodinos said. ``And he was the first one to do that.″

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