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BluesTele
06-01-2011, 08:51 AM
Thought forum readers would be interested in this:




excerpt from
- A Note From Dad Concerning Willie Mosconi -

D.White


I came across a note my dad had written, and thought you history buffs
might enjoy it:

I first met Willie Mosconi when I was a Vice President of a major conglomerate in New York. This company owned radio and television stations and had recording studios. I got the idea that we should put out a series of audio tapes called "An Hour with the Master." I planned to set up interviews with the leading person in a number of different sports, and offer a 1 hour audio cassette (with appropriate packaging) to the public.

I have a fair amount of experience playing pool, and decided to attempt to approach Willie Mosconi as my first "Master." (The second person I planned on talking to was Arnold Palmer.) I located Willie the week before he was to give an exhibition at Princeton University. We made arrangements for me to talk with him after he completed the exhibition.

On the night in question, I traveled to Princeton from my home in Northern New Jersey. The first part of his show was for him to play a game of straight pool (150 points) with the Princeton university pocket billiards champion. As you might imagine, this was not much of a contest...and, at one point after running about 7 racks, Willie appeared to me to deliberately miss so the challenger could play a little. After the game was over, he put on a trick shot exhbition which ended in spectacular fashion with Willie standing at the foot of the table and hitting the cue ball down to the other end of the table with such force (and presumably follow) that the ball bounced up in the air from the far end of the table back toward Willie and into his jacket pocket without ever touching the table again.


We went downstairs to the coffee shop and I explained what I wanted to do. He was quite receptive to the idea. We discussed money, and he wanted only a small advance against royalties to cooperate. Then came the good part - I was able to ask him a few questions about the game and his general approach. For example, he told me that at one point in his life, he practiced 8 hours a day for 31 YEARS, continually. Another interesting thing happened when we got on the subject of other players. At the time, a guy named Wanderone (or "Fats," or, as he preferred to call himself, "Double Smart Fats") was reported to have said that Willie was afraid to play him. Willie told me that this was a lot of nonsense, and that he had "wiped the floor" with Fats on several occatsions. (Fats then started calling himself Minnnesota Fats, but in reality, he was from Washington Heights in New York City.) The other thing that interested me was his answer to my question, "Isn't it tough for you, traveling all around the country, knowing that every place you go, the local champ is gunning to beat you?" He laughed, hard, and said, "You don't understand. First off, the guy can't beat me on his best day. Second, it's not his best day, because he realizes he's playing Willie Mosconi, and all his friends and girlfriend are watching, and he's been thinking about the match for weeks and so he doesn't even play up to his capability when the time comes. So he really has no chance."



Two additional instances involving Willie Mosconi come to mind. One evening, in Brooklyn, I observed him playing a top player from the Chicago area named Cicero Murphy (recent hall of famer). Cicero was the first to get started and after running just a few balls (less than 10), he missed. Willie promptly ran out the whole game. The most significant observation of that game was that Willie never had a single difficult shot during his entire run. It all looked so simple... the cue ball moved just a few inches at a time and I got the feeling while watching this that I, too, could do the same - which of course is a lot of nonsense. The whole thing was a display of absolute mastery of the game.

Nostroke
06-01-2011, 09:01 AM
Two additional instances involving Willie Mosconi come to mind. One evening, in Brooklyn, I observed him playing a top player from the Chicago area named Cicero Murphy (recent hall of famer). Cicero was the first to get started and after running just a few balls (less than 10), he missed. Willie promptly ran out the whole game. The most significant observation of that game was that Willie never had a single difficult shot during his entire run. It all looked so simple... the cue ball moved just a few inches at a time and I got the feeling while watching this that I, too, could do the same - which of course is a lot of nonsense. The whole thing was a display of absolute mastery of the game.

Good story- slight correction-Cisero was a New Yorker-Brooklyn i believe.

Koop
06-01-2011, 09:23 AM
The other thing that interested me was his answer to my question, "Isn't it tough for you, traveling all around the country, knowing that every place you go, the local champ is gunning to beat you?" He laughed, hard, and said, "You don't understand. First off, the guy can't beat me on his best day. Second, it's not his best day, because he realizes he's playing Willie Mosconi, and all his friends and girlfriend are watching, and he's been thinking about the match for weeks and so he doesn't even play up to his capability when the time comes. So he really has no chance."



This is my favorite part of the story and I have to say, Willie is absolutely right. Anyone knowing he was coming to play them was probably sharked before the match even started.

ctyhntr
06-01-2011, 09:31 AM
Thanks for sharing

Winston846
06-01-2011, 09:32 AM
The most significant observation of that game was that Willie never had a single difficult shot during his entire run. It all looked so simple... the cue ball moved just a few inches at a time and I got the feeling while watching this that I, too, could do the same - which of course is a lot of nonsense. The whole thing was a display of absolute mastery of the game.

Welcome to the world of 14.1. That's EXACTLY what the game is all about. And a lot of people don't realize and appreciate how difficult it is to make it look that easy!

measureman
06-01-2011, 10:00 AM
This is my favorite part of the story and I have to say, Willie is absolutely right. Anyone knowing he was coming to play them was probably sharked before the match even started.

Yup. I played Willie an exhibition game in 1964 and I was very nervous and did not play well. But I sure racked the balls for him very well. :D