The unspoken story
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The unspoken story - 10-11-2010, 11:18 AM

When reading through the records on Charles Ursitti's site and watching the Mort Luby Jr. interviews with Irving Crane, Joe Balsis, Jimmy Caras, and Willie Mosconi I get the feeling that there were periodic conflicts between the players and some large industry player ( cough, Brunswick, cough) but that people seem to avoid talking about it ( The Crane interview ).

In particular I'm thinking of the "unoffical world title" match held in March of 1954 at Allinger's Billiard Academy. The field included Luther Lassiter and Jimmy Moore and only Irving Crane and Erwin Rudolph were there from the regular group of competitors. It's the presence of two hardened road players and the absence of Mosconi and Caras that makes me wonder about the circumstances surrounding the event.
  
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10-24-2010, 08:20 AM

there weren't just periodic conflicts, there were frequent conflicts between the players and "the sponsor". and you're right, nobody wanted to talk about the giant pink elephant in the room, or perhaps they weren't allowed...

however, during the unofficial week-long title match you mentioned, Mosconi wasn't absent over a dispute with brunswick. he was absent because at the time he was under contract with the American Billiard Congress and the unofficial match was not sanctioned by the ABC. he couldnt play.

ironically, but not surprisingly Mosconi was heavily razzed for not being there, in his own town, to defend his world title.

instead, Mosconi went to springfield ohio and performed an exhibition match (4/19/54) against a poor soul by the name of Earl Bruney. I say "poor soul" because Mosconi butchered him 200 to 3.

but thats not all to the story.... not only did Mosconi win, he had such a nice run going that he kept scoring even after the match was done. for almost two more hours Mosconi kept scoring consecutively until finally he missed.

...that day, Mosconi set a new pocket billiard world record. 526 !

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10-24-2010, 12:49 PM

Mosconi may have ran 526 on a buckety 8'......but I still like Ralphs record more of 272 on the 5x10 I think that 272 is stronger than 526 given the table differences.
  
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10-25-2010, 11:53 AM

i agree - because i've actually played on a 10ft pocket table many times.
but its a little tougher than one might think.
granted, the pockets are a little more forgiving -
but its still no walk in the park

greenleaf was an absolute master with a cue.

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11-13-2010, 10:57 PM

I finished reading two books by R. A. Dyer a couple weeks ago and they are both fantastic, 'The Hustler and the Champ' and 'Hustler Days'. My impression of Brunswick is considerably better. They spent a great deal of money and effort promoting and supporting pocket billiards and they deserve credit for that.
From what it sounds like, both Mosconi and Caras spent most of their time on the road doing exhibitions. I'm curious to know what the day to day life was like on tour like that.
  
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11-15-2010, 03:26 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by LApoolbum View Post
I finished reading two books by R. A. Dyer a couple weeks ago and they are both fantastic, 'The Hustler and the Champ' and 'Hustler Days'. My impression of Brunswick is considerably better. They spent a great deal of money and effort promoting and supporting pocket billiards and they deserve credit for that.
From what it sounds like, both Mosconi and Caras spent most of their time on the road doing exhibitions. I'm curious to know what the day to day life was like on tour like that.
I'd pick up a copy of Willies game then brother.....Mosconi talks about his exhibitions with Greenleaf quite a bit in it.

And i second the playing on the 10'.....i have as well many times, even played a good bit on some corners tables.

I like every game on a 10'........I like snooker too and some like the idea of pool on a 12', I don't like that idea tho.....but I would clap if we had to play on 10 foots honestly.
  
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12-03-2010, 10:35 PM

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Originally Posted by Mr. Bond View Post
there weren't just periodic conflicts, there were frequent conflicts between the players and "the sponsor". and you're right, nobody wanted to talk about the giant pink elephant in the room, or perhaps they weren't allowed...

however, during the unofficial week-long title match you mentioned, Mosconi wasn't absent over a dispute with brunswick. he was absent because at the time he was under contract with the American Billiard Congress and the unofficial match was not sanctioned by the ABC. he couldnt play.

ironically, but not surprisingly Mosconi was heavily razzed for not being there, in his own town, to defend his world title.

instead, Mosconi went to springfield ohio and performed an exhibition match (4/19/54) against a poor soul by the name of Earl Bruney. I say "poor soul" because Mosconi butchered him 200 to 3.

but thats not all to the story.... not only did Mosconi win, he had such a nice run going that he kept scoring even after the match was done. for almost two more hours Mosconi kept scoring consecutively until finally he missed.

...that day, Mosconi set a new pocket billiard world record. 526 !
  
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12-03-2010, 10:45 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by LApoolbum View Post
I finished reading two books by R. A. Dyer a couple weeks ago and they are both fantastic, 'The Hustler and the Champ' and 'Hustler Days'. My impression of Brunswick is considerably better. They spent a great deal of money and effort promoting and supporting pocket billiards and they deserve credit for that.
From what it sounds like, both Mosconi and Caras spent most of their time on the road doing exhibitions. I'm curious to know what the day to day life was like on tour like that.
I ran across this and it reminded me of what you said....

Name:  1975 Feb 15 mosconi on the road.jpg
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Size:  104.8 KB

if thats too small to read, pm me and i'll send you a copy
  
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12-06-2010, 10:35 PM

Great article Mr. Bond! I can't help but think that all those exhibitions shaped Willie's game more than the tournaments did. He was a road player whose stake was his reputation and I'm sure all the the shortstops wanted that stake. I hope to get a copy of his autobiography soon and read his side of the story although he seems somewhat disingenuous so I'll take his story with a grain of salt. It also strikes me that Mosconi and Caras seemed to have such different personalities. After watching the Caras interview with Mort Luby Jr. I thought Caras was such an easy going guy that I would have invited him over to the house for a barbecue if I had ever met him. This is odd because most great competitors are not very personable.
  
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04-09-2011, 04:27 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by greyghost View Post
Mosconi may have ran 526 on a buckety 8'......but I still like Ralphs record more of 272 on the 5x10 I think that 272 is stronger than 526 given the table differences.
Willie Mosconi and Irving Crane both ran 309 balls on a 5 x10 table. I'm pretty sure Mosconi also ran 353 balls on a 5 x10.
  
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04-10-2011, 09:52 AM

Darn it is funny that when the "World Championship" was being held a non-participant was setting a world record. Never had known this little bit of trivia
before.As an aside all books were great reads.Billy Holliday's book offers
some good insight into the respect that Wiilie garnered from his peers.


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Buckety - 04-16-2011, 11:58 PM

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Originally Posted by greyghost View Post
Mosconi may have ran 526 on a buckety 8'......
Where did the "buckety" come from?
This is often repeated.
A few years ago, I talked on the phone to A.Y. Thomas, one of the spectators who signed the affidavit in post#7. He said that the table had been newly covered but the pockets were not easy.
Also, Willie definitely missed (the 6 ball); and it took a lot longer than the "couple of hours" Mosconi mentioned.

It would be interesting to find out if others who witnessed the run are still alive and willing to talk about it.


EW
  
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04-17-2011, 08:24 PM

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Originally Posted by Ed Wiggins View Post
Where did the "buckety" come from?
This is often repeated.
A few years ago, I talked on the phone to A.Y. Thomas, one of the spectators who signed the affidavit in post#7. He said that the table had been newly covered but the pockets were not easy.
Also, Willie definitely missed (the 6 ball); and it took a lot longer than the "couple of hours" Mosconi mentioned.

It would be interesting to find out if others who witnessed the run are still alive and willing to talk about it.

EW
I have to agree!
  
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