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View Full Version : Coolest Hand With A Cue - Jay Helfert Q?


junksecret
04-27-2008, 07:06 PM
I came across this GREAT little archived story from SPORTS ILLUSTRATED circa December 1974 which sports names such as our own Jay Helfert, Buddy Hall, Jim Rempe, Pete & Jimmy Fusco, Bugs Rucker, Ronnie Allen (referred to as "the younger generation"), Cornbread Red, Jimmy Marino, Wimpy, and more.....

SI Vault article "Coolest Hand With A Cue" (http://vault.sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1089351/1/index.htm)

And now my Jay Helfert, or anyone else that may know, question.

Perhaps my fave player of all time is Jimmy Marino who I saw play sooooooooooooo lights out it was SICK over 35 years ago when I was a young teen. People played him safe and he would fan some cut from frozen on the long rail and OUT. Out, Out, Out...I didn't know at that time that people could play like that but I would guess the Bustamante's of today would stand up OK.

Anyway....I didn't even know his name then, just "Hippie Jimmy". I now see references to Jimmy Reid as "Hippie Jimmy" including if I read it correctly, THIS article where both James Reid and Jimmy Marino and YOU were.

So.....Were they both Hippy Jimmy?? I'm sooooooo confused, I even see this snippet out of a 2007 OnePocket.org article:

OnePocket.org is pleased to announce that 'Hippie Jimmy' Reid is this year's choice for Lifetime Pool in Action recognition

Can someone "set me straight"?

Hope everyone enjoys the article as much as I did...:)

Thanks

poolcuemaster
04-27-2008, 07:27 PM
Great reading and thanks for thinking of us.--Leonard

Josh Palmer
04-27-2008, 08:06 PM
Jimmy Marino... comment on this one Jay.. more than once someone (from different states even) has commented that I play like "Jimmy Marino" and asked if I knew him, which I did not.

junksecret
04-27-2008, 08:09 PM
Jimmy Marino... comment on this one Jay.. more than once someone (from different states even) has commented that I play like "Jimmy Marino" and asked if I knew him, which I did not.

Well then you must fly at everything...Jimmy was FEARLESS....he thought he could make any shot that was makeable and when he was in dead-punch, which was a lot, he could.

JimS
04-28-2008, 04:18 AM
Nice article. Thanks for bringing it.

Where is Jay?

JAM
04-28-2008, 04:25 AM
Nice article. Thanks for bringing it.

Where is Jay?

He was the TD at the Arizona Desert tournament. He is probably recuperating right now, catching up on sleep. I think the finals went until midnight last night, Arizona time.

Jimmy Marino used to have a pool room in Pittsburgh, right on the corner. I remember going there when I was on the road a few times. They had unique bus station seats for railbird sweaters, as I recall, and they were quite comfortable. This was an action spot on every pool player's map.

JAM

billyjack
04-28-2008, 05:08 AM
Jimmy's hall, "South Hills Golden Cue" is my home room. Still alive and well. 17 Brunswicks and a Billiard table. Jimmy has been out of action for a while, having recently had cataract surgery. He's not one to drown you with road stories. Usually you have to pry any comment from him. Sometimes you can get him talking about the weekend exhibitions he would host back in the late 70's & early 80's. He would bring in players like Miz, Hopkins and Sigel for a weekend show of straight pool, one pocket and 9 ball. He's got a tournament area with one table and about 80theater-style seats. Nice friendly people, both staff and regulars.

DeadPoked
04-28-2008, 05:47 AM
Just as I assumed, Jay Helfert was not referred to as part of the "Younger Generation". :D Just kidding, Jay.

Great article.

Scott Lee
04-28-2008, 06:22 AM
junksecret...If memory serves me right, Jimmy Marino went by the nickname "Black Bart". I watched him, Richie Florence, Ronnie Allen, Pretty Boy Floyd, and some others, play a $500/man ring game, at Cardone's 9-ball tournament in Burlington, IA...circa Oct. '75. Florence had just received a brand new Balabushka at the tournament, and it was stolen from him within hours (George died two months later). Florence went bust...drove his Caddy down to the car lot and sold it...and came back and busted everybody in the game, for about $20k!:D

Scott Lee
www.poolknowledge.com

I came across this GREAT little archived story from SPORTS ILLUSTRATED circa December 1974 which sports names such as our own Jay Helfert, Buddy Hall, Jim Rempe, Pete & Jimmy Fusco, Bugs Rucker, Ronnie Allen (referred to as "the younger generation"), Cornbread Red, Jimmy Marino, Wimpy, and more.....

SI Vault article "Coolest Hand With A Cue" (http://vault.sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1089351/1/index.htm)

And now my Jay Helfert, or anyone else that may know, question.

Perhaps my fave player of all time is Jimmy Marino who I saw play sooooooooooooo lights out it was SICK over 35 years ago when I was a young teen. People played him safe and he would fan some cut from frozen on the long rail and OUT. Out, Out, Out...I didn't know at that time that people could play like that but I would guess the Bustamante's of today would stand up OK.

Anyway....I didn't even know his name then, just "Hippie Jimmy". I now see references to Jimmy Reid as "Hippie Jimmy" including if I read it correctly, THIS article where both James Reid and Jimmy Marino and YOU were.

So.....Were they both Hippy Jimmy?? I'm sooooooo confused, I even see this snippet out of a 2007 OnePocket.org article:

OnePocket.org is pleased to announce that 'Hippie Jimmy' Reid is this year's choice for Lifetime Pool in Action recognition

Can someone "set me straight"?

Hope everyone enjoys the article as much as I did...:)

Thanks

gulfportdoc
04-28-2008, 06:23 AM
I came across this GREAT little archived story from SPORTS ILLUSTRATED circa December 1974 which sports names such as our own Jay Helfert, Buddy Hall, Jim Rempe, Pete & Jimmy Fusco, Bugs Rucker, Ronnie Allen (referred to as "the younger generation"), Cornbread Red, Jimmy Marino, Wimpy, and more.....

A VERY good article. And it was written by none other than Walter Tevis. I'm sure that a few of you have heard of him...:D

Doc

jrhendy
04-28-2008, 07:47 AM
junksecret...If memory serves me right, Jimmy Marino went by the nickname "Black Bart". I watched him, Richie Florence, Ronnie Allen, Pretty Boy Floyd, and some others, play a $500/man ring game, at Cardone's 9-ball tournament in Burlington, IA...circa Oct. '75. Florence had just received a brand new Balabushka at the tournament, and it was stolen from him within hours (George died two months later). Florence went bust...drove his Caddy down to the car lot and sold it...and came back and busted everybody in the game, for about $20k!:D

Scott Lee
www.poolknowledge.com

Bob Ogburn (sp) was known as Black Bart, don't remember Marino being called that, but my memory wavers a little too. John

junksecret
04-28-2008, 11:53 AM
A VERY good article. And it was written by none other than Walter Tevis. I'm sure that a few of you have heard of him...:D

Doc

It's funny, I didn't put it together until Kvnbrwr brought it to my attention...he wrote The Hustler, The Color of Money AND The Man Who Fell to Earth as well as Queens Gambit...4 FANTASTIC books, so I'm not surprised the article rocked.

Also, I don't know about "Black Bart" but in the early 70's it was Hippie Jimmy and a very fitting moniker at that..:)

Joe

Madcity
04-28-2008, 12:57 PM
Scott I do not know if that tournament in Burlington was ran more than once or not, but I did attend one around that time frame. I believe Jim Rempe won over Mike Carella, or maybe the other way around? Memory getting a little fuzzy about some details.

Watched alot of the big ring game and Bob "Black Bart" Ogburn was one of the last players standing, although he sold his car before it was done. Marino, Liscotti, Jim Mataya, Jeff Carter and many other great players were not left standing when it finished. Denny Searcy busted everyone winning better than 20 grand.

As a side note Bob "BlackBart" Ogburn offered anyone that opened the windows a $100, when Edgar Mathias pulled back the curtains Bob was waving the $100 in the air and said "You silly B*****d Don't you think I already Know the windows won't open"

junksecret...If memory serves me right, Jimmy Marino went by the nickname "Black Bart". I watched him, Richie Florence, Ronnie Allen, Pretty Boy Floyd, and some others, play a $500/man ring game, at Cardone's 9-ball tournament in Burlington, IA...circa Oct. '75. Florence had just received a brand new Balabushka at the tournament, and it was stolen from him within hours (George died two months later). Florence went bust...drove his Caddy down to the car lot and sold it...and came back and busted everybody in the game, for about $20k!:D

Scott Lee
www.poolknowledge.com

JimS
04-28-2008, 07:24 PM
He was the TD at the Arizona Desert tournament. He is probably recuperating right now, catching up on sleep. I think the finals went until midnight last night, Arizona time.

Jimmy Marino used to have a pool room in Pittsburgh, right on the corner. I remember going there when I was on the road a few times. They had unique bus station seats for railbird sweaters, as I recall, and they were quite comfortable. This was an action spot on every pool player's map.

JAM

Thanks JAM. I was gettin kind of worried about the ole boy. (not meantto imply old chronologically. Ole boy being just a colloquialism.) :D

Scott Lee
04-28-2008, 07:50 PM
Madcity...Nope, that tournament only happened one time, because nobody got paid!:eek: :rolleyes: I guess I was mistaken about Marino. I don't think Bob Ogburn looked anything like Jimmy Marino, but I must have it backwards. That's also the first time I saw Buddy play. He was this skinny guy they called "Rags"...but oh could he play! I do know Florence won big, because I got my money back! Richie wasn't prone to duking his backers if he only won a little! :D Searcy almost always won, no matter where he was! That was the same tournament where a 17 yr. old Keith McCready was killing everybody in the green room at the hotel...and I got lucky (with a big spot), and drilled him for a quick $1800, before he quit. He had gigantic BR ($15K+), so he didn't care at all! :D I remember that money flowed everywhere during that tournament!

Scott Lee
www.poolknowledge.com

Scott I do not know if that tournament in Burlington was ran more than once or not, but I did attend one around that time frame. I believe Jim Rempe won over Mike Carella, or maybe the other way around? Memory getting a little fuzzy about some details.

Watched alot of the big ring game and Bob "Black Bart" Ogburn was one of the last players standing, although he sold his car before it was done. Marino, Liscotti, Jim Mataya, Jeff Carter and many other great players were not left standing when it finished. Denny Searcy busted everyone winning better than 20 grand.

As a side note Bob "BlackBart" Ogburn offered anyone that opened the windows a $100, when Edgar Mathias pulled back the curtains Bob was waving the $100 in the air and said "You silly B*****d Don't you think I already Know the windows won't open"

junksecret
04-28-2008, 11:06 PM
Nice article. Thanks for bringing it.

Where is Jay?

I'm hopin' he got a good nights sleep, sounds like he worked like a dog in AZ but I hear it went super smooth, even with the last minute change of venue.

I hope he sees this article when he comes on, although I would guess he saw it WAYYYYYY back then.....:)

Joe

jay helfert
04-29-2008, 12:31 AM
The original "Hippy Jimmy" was Jimmy Reid, although Jimmy Marino and even Jimmy Rempe were called that more than once. So was Jimmy Mataya. They all had long hair back then. The 70's was a good time for pool players named Jimmy, because all these guys played great!

Jimmy Marino never really had a nickname, we just called him Marino. He was a great money player, but smart enough to know early on that playing pool for a living was a tough way to go. So he opened a room and did quite well. Jim Rempe was "The King" and he was one of the top tournament players for many years, always finishing high in all the majors. He could play all games at the highest level.

Jimmy Mataya was another scary money player, who played better the more he bet. Only a Buddy Hall, a Keith, Billy Cardone or Greg Stevens type player would gamble with him. Guys like Jersey Red and Boston Shorty or Cornbread would prefer to make him play longer games like One Hole. Jimmy just had too much firepower at 9-Ball or Ten Ball. He beat many Ten Ball ring games.

Jimmy Reid may have had the highest speed of all these guys playing 9-Ball, if his mixture was right. :) He didn't do much in tournaments though, always more into the gambling scene. Like Mataya, Jimmy never saw a bet too high or a game too tough.

P.S. I won that Bank Pool match with Jimmy. And beat Willie Munson next. Then I over slept when I was due to play Larry Lisciotti and raced to the poolroom just in time to avoid a forfeit. I played bad and he beat me. :(

jay helfert
04-29-2008, 12:39 AM
Scott I do not know if that tournament in Burlington was ran more than once or not, but I did attend one around that time frame. I believe Jim Rempe won over Mike Carella, or maybe the other way around? Memory getting a little fuzzy about some details.

Watched alot of the big ring game and Bob "Black Bart" Ogburn was one of the last players standing, although he sold his car before it was done. Marino, Liscotti, Jim Mataya, Jeff Carter and many other great players were not left standing when it finished. Denny Searcy busted everyone winning better than 20 grand.

As a side note Bob "BlackBart" Ogburn offered anyone that opened the windows a $100, when Edgar Mathias pulled back the curtains Bob was waving the $100 in the air and said "You silly B*****d Don't you think I already Know the windows won't open"

Rempe beat Richie Ambrose in the finals, and the promoter tried to get out of town without paying. He was stopped by the local sheriff and eventually made good on all the money, or most of it anyway. The next year they tried again in Burlington with new promoters. These guys ended up paying something like 50 cents on the dollar at the end. That was the end of pro pool in Burlington.

av84fun
04-29-2008, 12:47 AM
The original "Hippy Jimmy" was Jimmy Reid, although Jimmy Marino and even Jimmy Rempe were called that more than once. So was Jimmy Mataya. They all had long hair back then. The 70's was a good time for pool players named Jimmy, because all these guys played great!

Jimmy Marino never really had a nickname, we just called him Marino. He was a great money player, but smart enough to know early on that playing pool for a living was a tough way to go. So he opened a room and did quite well. Jim Rempe was "The King" and he was one of the top tournament players for many years, always finishing high in all the majors. He could play all games at the highest level.

Jimmy Mataya was another scary money player, who played better the more he bet. Only a Buddy Hall, a Keith or Greg Stevens type player would gamble with him. Guys like Jersey Red and Boston Shorty or Cornbread would prefer to make him play longer games like One Hole. Jimmy just had too much firepower at 9-Ball or Ten Ball. He beat many Ten Ball ring games.

Jimmy Reid may have had the highest speed of all these guys playing 9-Ball, if his mixture was right. :) He didn't do much in tournaments though, always more into the gambling scene. Like Mataya, Jimmy never saw a bet too high or a game too tough.P.S. I won that Bank Pool match with Jimmy. And beat Willie Munson next. Then I over slept when I was due to play Larry Lisciotti and raced to the poolroom just in time to avoid a forfeit. I played bad and he beat me. :(

Hi hear ya about his "mixture" being right but no doubt, when he was on, he was totally SCARY good. Because he didn't do all that much in the tournament scene (and may have been stalling some when he did) he is one of the most under-rated players of the modern era IMHO.

HOW'S YOUR BOOK COMING????

(-:

Jim

stick8
04-29-2008, 07:17 AM
Nice article. Thanks for bringing it.

Where is Jay?
Question for jay?? how did you get a toupee stay on such a slick head??? ha just joking nice read:D :D :D

MOJOE
04-29-2008, 10:21 AM
That was a great article. Thanks for sharing. Rep coming your way!!

AnitoKid
04-29-2008, 09:52 PM
thanks for sharing! great read!

:)

junksecret
06-10-2008, 12:28 PM
I just thought I'd bump this for those that didn't see this article 1st time around, it's a great read...:)

Joe

Blackjack
06-10-2008, 12:36 PM
From the SI article...

Jay Helfert, Toupee Jay, comes in, small, agile and bald.

Well, he's still bald. 1 out of 3 ain't bad.

:D

trustyrusty
06-10-2008, 12:56 PM
The original "Hippy Jimmy" was Jimmy Reid, although Jimmy Marino and even Jimmy Rempe were called that more than once. So was Jimmy Mataya. They all had long hair back then. The 70's was a good time for pool players named Jimmy, because all these guys played great!

Jimmy Marino never really had a nickname, we just called him Marino. He was a great money player, but smart enough to know early on that playing pool for a living was a tough way to go. So he opened a room and did quite well. Jim Rempe was "The King" and he was one of the top tournament players for many years, always finishing high in all the majors. He could play all games at the highest level.

Jimmy Mataya was another scary money player, who played better the more he bet. Only a Buddy Hall, a Keith, Billy Cardone or Greg Stevens type player would gamble with him. Guys like Jersey Red and Boston Shorty or Cornbread would prefer to make him play longer games like One Hole. Jimmy just had too much firepower at 9-Ball or Ten Ball. He beat many Ten Ball ring games.

Jimmy Reid may have had the highest speed of all these guys playing 9-Ball, if his mixture was right. :) He didn't do much in tournaments though, always more into the gambling scene. Like Mataya, Jimmy never saw a bet too high or a game too tough.

P.S. I won that Bank Pool match with Jimmy. And beat Willie Munson next. Then I over slept when I was due to play Larry Lisciotti and raced to the poolroom just in time to avoid a forfeit. I played bad and he beat me. :(

Jay, not exactly thread related, but it does involve a Jimmy, and I thought you'd be the one to ask....

There's a guy that works for the painting contractor that I do that I've talked to a few times, and have heard from a few others that he is/was a VERY good player. At work he goes by "the Greek". The few times I've spoken with him about pool, he did mention running with quite a few big names (even rooming with Efren for awhile). I'm not exactly sure of his last name, and don't want to butcher it, but I know as alot of Greek names do, that it ends in kis - :D Just wondered if you've ever crossed paths with Jimmy "the Greek", and how strong of a player was he.

BTW, he's lived off and on in the Peoria area for some time, but I believe he was originally from Joliet or thereabouts.

Johnson
06-10-2008, 01:21 PM
Jay, not exactly thread related, but it does involve a Jimmy, and I thought you'd be the one to ask....

There's a guy that works for the painting contractor that I do that I've talked to a few times, and have heard from a few others that he is/was a VERY good player. At work he goes by "the Greek". The few times I've spoken with him about pool, he did mention running with quite a few big names (even rooming with Efren for awhile). I'm not exactly sure of his last name, and don't want to butcher it, but I know as alot of Greek names do, that it ends in kis - :D Just wondered if you've ever crossed paths with Jimmy "the Greek", and how strong of a player was he.

BTW, he's lived off and on in the Peoria area for some time, but I believe he was originally from Joliet or thereabouts.

mark hamrick moved to my hometown from peoria around 10 years ago, a strong player himself, he talked about a guy named jimmy the greek and that he once saw him run 7 racks @ $100 a game, he mentioned possibly bringing him to evansville to match up with the top players there but don't think anything came of it
________

jay helfert
06-10-2008, 05:17 PM
Jay, not exactly thread related, but it does involve a Jimmy, and I thought you'd be the one to ask....

There's a guy that works for the painting contractor that I do that I've talked to a few times, and have heard from a few others that he is/was a VERY good player. At work he goes by "the Greek". The few times I've spoken with him about pool, he did mention running with quite a few big names (even rooming with Efren for awhile). I'm not exactly sure of his last name, and don't want to butcher it, but I know as alot of Greek names do, that it ends in kis - :D Just wondered if you've ever crossed paths with Jimmy "the Greek", and how strong of a player was he.

BTW, he's lived off and on in the Peoria area for some time, but I believe he was originally from Joliet or thereabouts.

Maybe this is Jimmy Cassis (?). He would be mid to late 40's now. Haven't heard anything about him in years. Nice looking guy, about 6', who played about a ball (maybe the 7) under the top players. Very strong shortstop speed. I thought he was from Ohio or Indiana, but I'm not sure about that.