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Willie Mosconi's World Championships - 09-09-2020, 08:17 PM

Since I don't have much else to do during the pandemic, I extracted Mosconi's World Championship winning performances from Charlie Ursitti's records. This starts from the first one he won in 1941. Note that in 1933 he lost by a single ball. From 1941 to 1956 there were some other championships he didn't win; this is just a list of those he did win.

WCL = World Championship League
WCT = WC Tournament
WCM = WC Challenge Match
  1. 1940-1941 WCL 32xRR? 8 players Mosconi 176-48, Ponzi 144-80 (224 match season) multiple cities
  2. 1942 Dec. WCT 6 player DRR, Mosconi 9-1, Ponzi 6-4, Detroit
  3. 1944 Feb. WCM 10 blocks of 125, Mosconi 1250, Ponzi 924, KC, MO
  4. 1945 Feb. WCM 48 blocks of 125, Mosconi 5498, Greenleaf 3738, KC, Chi., NYC, Det.
  5. 1946 Mar. WCM 86 blocks of 125, Mosconi 8727, Caras 7508, 10 locations
  6. 1946 Nov. WCM 30 blocks of 125, Mosconi 3750, Crane 2919, 4 rooms
  7. 1947 May, WCM 16 blocks of 125, Mosconi 2000, Crane 918, Perth Amboy + Chicago
  8. 1947 Nov. WCM 32 blocks of 125, Mosconi 4000, Caras 2334, Det., Perth Amboy, KCMO
  9. 1948 Mar, WCM 9 blocks of 150, Mosconi 1350, Ponzi 643, Chicago
  10. 1950 Feb, WCT, 4-player DRR to 150, Mosconi 4-2, Crane 4-2 (playoff), Chi.
  11. 1951 Jan, WCM, 20 blocks of 150, Mosconi 3000, Crane 2323, Phila. and KCMO
  12. 1951 Feb, WCT, 4-player DRR to 150, Mosconi 6-0, Crane, Chenier and Canton all 2-4, Chicago
  13. 1952 Apr, WCT, 10-player RR to 150, Mosconi 8-1, Crane 7-2, Boston
  14. 1953 Mar, WCT, 9-player RR to 150, Mosconi 8-0, Procita, Caras, Moore, Crane tied at 5-3, San Francisco
  15. 1954 Mar, WCM, 16 blocks of 150, Mosconi 2400, Procita 989, Phila. and Chi.
  16. 1955 Nov, WCM, 10 blocks of 150, Mosconi 1500, Crane 676, Phila.
  17. 1956 Jan, WCM, 42 blocks of 150, Mosconi 6300, Caras 3007, 6 cities
  18. 1956 Mar, WCM, 12 blocks of 150, Mosconi 1800, Moore 879, Albuquerque
  19. 1956 Apr, WCT 8-player RR to 150, Mosconi 14-0, Crane 10-4, Kinston, NC

Note that beginning in 1950 the matches seem to have been played on 4.5x9-foot tables. Prior to that 10-foot tables were standard. It's not clear but some of the challenge matches in the 1950s may have been on 10-foot tables.


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09-10-2020, 02:27 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Jewett View Post
Since I don't have much else to do during the pandemic, I extracted Mosconi's World Championship winning performances from Charlie Ursitti's records. This starts from the first one he won in 1941. Note that in 1933 he lost by a single ball. From 1941 to 1956 there were some other championships he didn't win; this is just a list of those he did win.

WCL = World Championship League
WCT = WC Tournament
WCM = WC Challenge Match
  1. 1940-1941 WCL 32xRR? 12 players Mosconi 176-48, Ponzi 144-80 (224 match season) multiple cities
  2. 1942 Dec. WCT 6 player DRR, Mosconi 9-1, Ponzi 6-4, Detroit
  3. 1944 Feb. WCM 10 blocks of 125, Mosconi 1250, Ponzi 924, KC, MO
  4. 1945 Feb. WCM 48 blocks of 125, Mosconi 5498, Greenleaf 3738, KC, Chi., NYC, Det.
  5. 1946 Mar. WCM 86 blocks of 125, Mosconi 8727, Caras 7508, 10 locations
  6. 1946 Nov. WCM 30 blocks of 125, Mosconi 3750, Crane 2919, 4 rooms
  7. 1947 May, WCM 16 blocks of 125, Mosconi 2000, Crane 918, Perth Amboy + Chicago
  8. 1947 Nov. WCM 32 blocks of 125, Mosconi 4000, Caras 2334, Det., Perth Amboy, KCMO
  9. 1948 Mar, WCM 9 blocks of 150, Mosconi 1350, Ponzi 643, Chicago
  10. 1950 Feb, WCT, 4-player DRR to 150, Mosconi 4-2, Crane 4-2 (playoff), Chi.
  11. 1951 Jan, WCM, 20 blocks of 150, Mosconi 3000, Crane 2323, Phila. and KCMO
  12. 1951 Feb, WCT, 4-player DRR to 150, Mosconi 6-0, Crane, Chenier and Canton all 2-4, Chicago
  13. 1952 Apr, WCT, 10-player RR to 150, Mosconi 8-1, Crane 7-2, Boston
  14. 1953 Mar, WCT, 9-player RR to 150, Mosconi 8-0, Procita, Caras, Moore, Crane tied at 5-3, San Francisco
  15. 1954 Mar, WCM, 16 blocks of 150, Mosconi 2400, Procita 989, Phila. and Chi.
  16. 1955 Nov, WCM, 10 blocks of 150, Mosconi 1500, Crane 676, Phila.
  17. 1956 Jan, WCM, 42 blocks of 150, Mosconi 6300, Caras 3007, 6 cities
  18. 1956 Mar, WCM, 12 blocks of 150, Mosconi 1800, Moore 879, Albuquerque
  19. 1956 Apr, WCT 8-player RR to 150, Mosconi 14-0, Crane 10-4, Kinston, NC

Note that beginning in 1950 the matches seem to have been played on 4.5x9-foot tables. Prior to that 10-foot tables were standard. It's not clear but some of the challenge matches in the 1950s may have been on 10-foot tables.
This should be a sticky so people stop saying that some of Mosconi's titles were simply granted to him in years when there was no championship.


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09-10-2020, 04:28 PM

nice job.
think you could do the same for Greenleaf?


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09-10-2020, 05:13 PM

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nice job.
think you could do the same for Greenleaf?
I think it's your turn. Let me know if you need the pointer to Deno Andrew's Scribd page where he is keeping Charlie's files.


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09-12-2020, 11:28 AM

For confirmation/comparison, here are the championships listed in the back of "Willie's Game", Mosconi's autobiography. The only discrepancy that I see is that the challenge match with Procita is listed by Ursitti as taking place in 1954. In addition, Ursitti lists only two cities along with the rooms and dates:

February 22 - 25
---- Newby's Billiard Academy -1035 Chestnut Street - Philadelphia, PA
March 9 - 11
---- Bensinger's Amphitheatre - 29 West Randolph Street - Chicago, IL

The full Ursitti listing includes the scores of each session. The days of the week given line up with 1954.

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09-13-2020, 01:35 PM

Hi Bob. Thanks for all the info and knowledge you have provided over the years. One question about the 1956 WCT. Do you know how it came to be played in Kinston NC? That seems to be an odd place to hold a world tournament.
  
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09-13-2020, 04:03 PM

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Hi Bob. Thanks for all the info and knowledge you have provided over the years. One question about the 1956 WCT. Do you know how it came to be played in Kinston NC? That seems to be an odd place to hold a world tournament.
In "Willie's Game" Mosconi mentions that Brunswick and the usual batch of room owners were no longer willing to run events. The room owners saw diminishing gates and Brunswick had moved on to other enterprizes. It was not primarily a billiard/bowling company at that time.

I suspect that there was a pool fanatic who was maybe a Lassiter fan who wanted to make a donation. He happened to live near Kinston. Purely a guess, but I can think of no other explanation. The prize fund was $50,000 in 2020 dollars.

If you read what Mosconi says in "Willie's Game" about that period, it was clearly not a good time for pool or pool players.

Kinston today is a town of about 20k. It appears to be about an hour from any place I've heard of in NC. edit ... On the other hand, it seems to be a nice place to live. FromThe Wiki That Knows All: In 2009, Kinston won the All-America City Award. This marks the second time in 21 years the city has won the title.


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09-13-2020, 05:15 PM

An interesting detail is that in 1951 in the double round-robin tournament, Mosconi was the only player to have a winning record. All the other players had losing records. (Willie was 6-0 and there were only three other players in the event, each at 2-4.)


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09-14-2020, 02:16 PM

A correction to the table above... The 1941-1942 league was 8 players rather than 12. Each player had 224 matches except that John Irish forfeited the last 102 of his matches due to illness.
  1. Willie Mosconi 176-48
  2. Andrew Ponzi 144-80
  3. Jimmy Caras 125-99
  4. Joe Procita 117-107 (Ursitti's file says 117-117 but that's too many matches)
  5. Onofrio Lauri 109-115
  6. Erwin Rudolph 99-125
  7. George Kelly 85-139
  8. John Irish 41-183 (102 forfeits)


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09-27-2020, 05:57 PM

One of, if not the most dominant champion in all of sports history of any sports figure who played at a pro level for 15 or more years in any one on one competitive sport. Who doesn't think that, if he took a few years off in his prime, just to see how many balls he could run, that he could not have run 700 + - Really was not important to a guy who had the most successful competitive spirit in the history of all sports within any 15 year + sports career.

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Mosconi - 10-05-2020, 07:11 PM

I'm sure he was great. One of the greatest in 14.1 for sure, but I'm not sure if he should be so much above the rest of Greats, especially the ones in today's game, since in most of all these challenge matches and in most of his "World titles" he only had to defeat one player.

I understand most the times it was another great player he had to beat to win the challenge or competition, but it isn't the same thing as winning a 128-player field of top profesionals like it is today; well in 14.1 there is hardly that big a field, there hasn't been for years now, due to the little popularity of the 14.1 game today, in comparison with 9-Ball, but anyway, I think you know where I'm going.

Now apart from 14.1, who I agree he was one of the greatest of all time, I assure you talking just pool (meaning all the other games), there is today, and in fact going back probably 20 o 30 years, a good 20 top Pool players who are plain simple better at Pool than he was.

And of course I'm talking about the legends of the last decades, (they are not just few), the known ones and the ones in Taiwan and Philippines that have never left their country.

The level in pool, in general, in the last 10 years is very high! There are many players all over the world that play at a really high level.

As great as Mosconi was, let some of the top taiwanese, or Reyes in his prime, or Bustamante, or some of the incredible shotmaker superstars from Europe, play nothing but 14.1 and if it is already considered a boring game to watch even for players who like playing the game, I guarantee you, these guys would make it so much more boring (by not missing), that they would break all the records and retire the game for good! No question they could play the game of 14.1 as good or better than Mosconi

To me it is simple: players who you could tell move the cue ball better, position better, pocket way better, and most important are stronger mentally, would have had no problem beating Mosconi, or at least beating him just as much as Mosconi could beat them.

And if talking about pool in general (other games) it was not close.

Tell me one thing that Mosconi, or Crane or Sigel did better at the table than Efren Reyes?

Reyes won the biggest tournaments and most importantly the ones that paid the highest, in 9-Ball, 8-Ball, One Pocket and even some random 14.1 ones when he hardly knew the rules, and when he was 40 and 50 years old, not exactly in his prime.

Orcollo ran 90 and out on me the first tournament he played, it was a saturday, the next day sunday I re-drew him and he ran 143 and out on me.
200, 300's he ran like water, with very few games played in his life.

And guys like these play all games at top level: One Pocket, Banks, 14.1, 9-Ball, 10-Ball, 8-Ball.

I admit I have never seen Mosconi play, except the few videos where he is already too old and not on his prime; but a lot of the players and fans who put Mosconi so up above the rest have not travel the world enough and seen the top players of today compete in the World's most prestigious events, wich are not only DCC or the US Open.
Besides, some of the best matches are the 1 on 1 in Singapore, and Vietnam and CHINA, where there are so many guys that don't miss
There are 6-8 top taiwanese, they play perfection pool, and for a long time that is.
Who are the better pool players?

Mosconi, and many greats after him came.
But the robotic style of some today, please, not close. They are better pool players now, just better

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10-06-2020, 06:43 AM

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I admit I have never seen Mosconi play.
That's your problem right there.


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10-06-2020, 11:21 AM

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That's your problem right there.
I only saw Willie shoot a couple of racks, but I did see his contemporary, George Rood. Watching George, I was like OMG, OMG, OMG! He was about 80 at the time but so smooth and fluid. The cue ball did as George directed.

Maybe the old timers would do well against the modern players. It is impossible to tell. Even if we look at the records to compare, it was on different equipment with different games and different styles of play.

Another thing to consider is the social support for the game at the time. Back then there were far more pool halls in the US and probably a larger fraction of the population played pool. Today, I think a much smaller fraction takes up pool in any serious way. (The same idea explains some of the gender difference in pool performance but that's a different can of worms.) If you have more people taking up something seriously, you will see a larger number of experts and the best are likely to be better.


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10-06-2020, 11:52 AM

Dan tell me one think that Mosconi did better on the pool table playing pool than the superstars of the game today?

I know it is hard to compare different eras, but we are talking about making balls into pockets,
During the period of time when the players in Mosconi's era played on 10-foot tables, wich are obviously tougher than 9-footers,
drawing the cue ball and the type of balls were tougher than today's quick rails and Simonis cloth, but the pockets in GCI Brunswick tables definitely more forgiven than Pro Cut Diamonds today
that makes out for a lot
It's not as easy to run 200's on a Diamond than a Brunswick, even nowadays

Big name Players today are tougher mentally, they break and they pocket way better than most of the old champions

Maybe Mosconi could beat many big name players today in 14.1, but he would lose to most of them playing any other game, I feel.

This is why my statement that the superstars today are better pool players than Mosconi

I feel the biggest names today do more things better than Mosconi on the table (playing all games), and that with enough competition and 14.1 playing, not all, but some of the very best today could play as good or better 14.1 than Mosconi did

Shooting goes a long way in pool, even if your cueball is not as precise as some other players, a good shotmaker with his head in its place is hard to beat

Wu defeated a huge field in Taiwan in 2005 to become youngest player to win World tournament at only 16 years old, as he is one if the best 9-Ball breakers and one of the best shotmakers in the game

and there are and have been last 2 decades quite a few players who play as strong as Wu

some of these may not even make the Hall of Fame, but they are certainly the best players in history, even though they are not in that pedestal that Mosconi is at


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10-06-2020, 01:18 PM

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Dan tell me one think that Mosconi did better on the pool table playing pool than the superstars of the game today?

I know it is hard to compare different eras, but we are talking about making balls into pockets,
During the period of time when the players in Mosconi's era played on 10-foot tables, wich are obviously tougher than 9-footers,
drawing the cue ball and the type of balls were tougher than today's quick rails and Simonis cloth, but the pockets in GCI Brunswick tables definitely more forgiven than Pro Cut Diamonds today
that makes out for a lot
It's not as easy to run 200's on a Diamond than a Brunswick, even nowadays

Big name Players today are tougher mentally, they break and they pocket way better than most of the old champions

Maybe Mosconi could beat many big name players today in 14.1, but he would lose to most of them playing any other game, I feel.

This is why my statement that the superstars today are better pool players than Mosconi

I feel the biggest names today do more things better than Mosconi on the table (playing all games), and that with enough competition and 14.1 playing, not all, but some of the very best today could play as good or better 14.1 than Mosconi did

Shooting goes a long way in pool, even if your cueball is not as precise as some other players, a good shotmaker with his head in its place is hard to beat

Wu defeated a huge field in Taiwan in 2005 to become youngest player to win World tournament at only 16 years old, as he is one if the best 9-Ball breakers and one of the best shotmakers in the game

and there are and have been last 2 decades quite a few players who play as strong as Wu

some of these may not even make the Hall of Fame, but they are certainly the best players in history, even though they are not in that pedestal that Mosconi is at


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I can't tell what your knowledge of straight pool is. You played in a pro event it seems so maybe you're more knowledgeable than me, I don't know. Let me say upfront that I, too, never saw him play, but my father saw him up close on numerous occasions and I've heard the descriptions from him throughout my life as well as from some in this forum.

What did Mosconi do better than anyone today? He made it look easy. Plain and simple. Nearly every shot was a duck so pocket size didn't really matter. Occasionally, something unexpected would happen and he'd kind of get red in the face and circle around the table a few times as if he were upset that the balls misbehaved. Then he'd call something out of the pack and blast it in.

Another observation from my father: Mind you this is in the 60's when he was retired and already recovered from a stroke. The guy, you could argue, was not even in his prime. Anyway, it looked so easy that my father began to question whether billiards really was a game that required much skill. In other words, if this guy can run balls this effortlessly then it must not be that hard to do and anyone could probably do the same. That's how easy Mosconi made it look.

Fast forward 30 or 40 years and my father took up a renewed interest in pool after I moved back into town from living out of state for many years. He watched all the pros on Accustats and youtube and we went to a couple of tournaments together. He appreciated the ability of today's pro players, but candidly always told me it was a joke compared to Mosconi. He was tableside when Appleton set the record high run of 200 balls in competition. He said that run was the closest thing he had seen to a Mosconi type run.

You might be interested to pick up Mosconi's autobiography. There are some interesting stories in there. I think some of what you said has merit, but like always it is hard to compare eras. I think you are putting too much emphasis on shot making and mental toughness of today's players. Mosconi may have been the best shot maker of his time, best strategist and was certainly the toughest mentally.

Let's flip it around. How many of today's best players...

* Played the reigning world champion and celebrity Greenleaf to a close match at the age of 6,

* Beat many expert (professional?) players before his age hit double digits,

* Played for food. There was a time when if he didn't win he didn't eat,

* Walked into a strange pool hall and ran 100 balls on command on a strange table, in front of a large audience, and did it hundreds of times. Think about that. How many pro players today would take you up on a bet to do that?

Anyway, it's an interesting topic to kick around. Gotta run though.


Dan White
  
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