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Jimmy Caras Anecdote
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Dan White
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Jimmy Caras Anecdote - 08-15-2014, 06:31 PM

Originally posted by my father awhile ago, but he recently updated it. Hope you like it:

CARAS RUNS 100

It was a bitter cold, windy night in Ithaca, New York in the fall of 1948. At the Student Union in Cornell University a crowd of about 60 students and a few faculty had gathered in a large room containing a dozen pool tables to see an exhibition by Jimmy Caras. A freezing Canadian winter wind was hurtling down Lake Cayuga and across the campus as Jimmy arrived with his “manager,” both wearing heavy coats, scarfs, gloves, hats – the works.
The manager made the following startling announcement in a loud voice: “Mr. Caras will now run 100 balls.” You could hear a distinct murmur spread across the room. Meanwhile Jimmy has removed his coat and is screwing his cue together, still not saying a word. I figured that he just didn’t speak English which is why the manager had made that announcement. A hush then descended on the crowd.
I don’t think the whole thing took more than 15 minutes. He never took a practice shot – just broke the balls and started running. The manager counted off the score and announced the next ball to be pocketed, as they used to do in tournaments. When Caras hit 100 the whole place burst into wild applause. He bowed to the crowd, unscrewed the cue, put it into its case and disappeared into the night, again without saying a word. A really amazing moment for all of us neophytes who had never seen anything like it.

John White


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JC 100 and out
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JC 100 and out - 08-15-2014, 08:09 PM

Those guys back then were at a level I don't think will ever see again in 14.1 ---
Nice Post -- old school stuff
MCP
  
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08-15-2014, 08:56 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan White View Post
My father has posted this short story before, but updated it recently. Hope you like it:

CARAS RUNS 100

It was a bitter cold, windy night in Ithaca, New York in the fall of 1948. At the Student Union in Cornell University a crowd of about 60 students and a few faculty had gathered in a large room containing a dozen pool tables to see an exhibition by Jimmy Caras. A freezing Canadian winter wind was hurtling down Lake Cayuga and across the campus as Jimmy arrived with his “manager,” both wearing heavy coats, scarfs, gloves, hats – the works.
The manager made the following startling announcement in a loud voice: “Mr. Caras will now run 100 balls.” You could hear a distinct murmur spread across the room. Meanwhile Jimmy has removed his coat and is screwing his cue together, still not saying a word. I figured that he just didn’t speak English which is why the manager had made that announcement. A hush then descended on the crowd.
I don’t think the whole thing took more than 15 minutes. He never took a practice shot – just broke the balls and started running. The manager counted off the score and announced the next ball to be pocketed, as they used to do in tournaments. When Caras hit 100 the whole place burst into wild applause. He bowed to the crowd, unscrewed the cue, put it into its case and disappeared into the night, again without saying a word. A really amazing moment for all of us neophytes who had never seen anything like it.

John White
Both he and Mosconi were amazing that way. They never failed to run 100 or more in any exhibition! These were the masters of 14.1, along with Crane and Cranfield at that time. I saw Jimmy in 1963 at Oklahoma U. He had been retired from tournament pool about ten years but vowed to come back and play again, saying these new guys weren't that good. A year or so later (at age 57) he entered the U.S. Open Straight Pool and won! You can look it up.


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08-15-2014, 09:37 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by jay helfert View Post
Both he and Mosconi were amazing that way. They never failed to run 100 or more in any exhibition! These were the masters of 14.1, along with Crane and Cranfield at that time. I saw Jimmy in 1963 at Oklahoma U. He had been retired from tournament pool about ten years but vowed to come back and play again, saying these new guys weren't that good. A year or so later (at age 57) he entered the U.S. Open Straight Pool and won! You can look it up.
Jay, you give anyone the breaks and last 4 (and run over them) when it comes to billiard lore and knowledge of noteworthy players.

Thanks to the OP for a neat post. I can image the whole scence from the description.


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08-15-2014, 10:10 PM

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Originally Posted by MCP View Post
Those guys back then were at a level I don't think will ever see again in 14.1 --- Nice Post -- old school stuff MCP
Well, maybe. At this last BCA Trade Show in Louisville, John Schmidt was in the Championship Cloth booth trying some straight pool on cloth that had a US Marines motif printed on it. I got to rack for him. 179 on his third try. The previous time I racked for John at a trade show, he had a 182 and I think it was his first try.

I think we will see a lot less of 14.1 unless a miracle happens and it becomes a major championship game again.

A Caras story.... In 1998 I was in Jacksonville for a week and I had heard that Jimmy Caras was living there with his daughter. I called him up and he agreed to meet me at the pool hall and give me a lesson. He was 90 at the time. He mentioned that he had managed a run of 37 recently. The lesson was largely about ball order, but what I mostly remember is the amazing action he got on the cue ball on the standard side-of-the-rack break shots. And the lessons were $20/hour and he apologized for charging that much.


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08-16-2014, 06:27 AM

I heard many stories about Jimmy Caras from my mentor Leroy Kinman..... He, Jimmy, Mosconi & the wives were all good friends. From the Old School stories that were told to me, Jimmy Caras was a beautiful person when playing the game and in Life.
  
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08-16-2014, 07:08 AM

Great thread.


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08-16-2014, 07:10 AM

I heard he taught Corey quite a bit when they both lived in Philly.

So Corey will likely be the last great pool player to have a real connection to the 'Mosconi Era' players maybe

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08-16-2014, 09:31 AM

Caras published a trick shot booklet in 1948 that was in print in several editions through 1980. Here are some scans from the 1948 version:

Front cover:
Name:  Caras 001.jpg
Views: 1889
Size:  27.0 KB

Back cover with Mosconi and Charlie Peterson:
Name:  Caras 002.jpg
Views: 1803
Size:  23.1 KB

Bio:
Name:  Caras 004.jpg
Views: 2146
Size:  62.3 KB


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08-16-2014, 12:59 PM

I've never heard anything but good about Jimmy Caras! I met Mosconi more than once but never got to meet Caras.


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08-16-2014, 05:04 PM

If Mosconi and Crane did not exist would we be talking about Jimmy as the best of his era?
Heres a story I got second hand.
Jimmy was selling billiards supplies at one time for i think Blatt out of NYC.
He stops in at a pool room in Belmar NJ and gets into a bit of an argument with the house loud mouth.The loud mouth says something like "You are just an old man what do you know about pool?"Loud mouth does not know it's Jimmy Caras.This was decades before the internet.Maybe the late 50's or early 60's. not sure.
So of course they match up and the loud mouth is soon busted.
Like I said its a second hand story told to me years ago and that's the best I can remember but you get the drift.


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08-17-2014, 02:34 AM

I had the honor of meeting Mr. Caras a couple of times while attending BCA trade shows in the 90's. He could be found at the Brunswick booth. And each time I met him he presented himself as a wonderful gracious gentleman. I got autographed pics from him and was very kind to answering any questions asked. Those will always be fond memories for me.


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08-17-2014, 12:45 PM

Bob Maidhoff was a close personal friend of Jimmy Caras for many years. Bob has many great stories about Mr. Caras, and Bob's room -- Drexeline Billiards in Drexel Hill, PA -- has fantastic Jimmy Caras memorabilia on display.

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08-17-2014, 03:42 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by MCP View Post
Those guys back then were at a level I don't think will ever see again in 14.1 ---
Nice Post -- old school stuff
MCP

We've already seen it in Mizerak and Sigel. Both could run then 100 on command any time they cared to, and did so on a very regular basis in competition, in exhibitions and in practice.

Still, who knows whether you are right? There are some 14.1 giants out there right now. There are also emerging giants in 14.1. Just a week ago at Steinway Billiards, Darren Appleton won the race to 200 final at the by running 70 and 131.

Today's players shoot straighter than those of yesteryear, so there's no reason to rule out that they could, one day, surpass the level if the old masters.

We shall see what the future brings.

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08-17-2014, 06:23 PM

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Originally Posted by sjm View Post
We've already seen it in Mizerak and Sigel. Both could run then 100 on command any time they cared to, and did so on a very regular basis in competition, in exhibitions and in practice. ...
But not always: http://www.billiardsdigest.com/curre...05/story_5.php
  
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