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Cisero Murphy and Brooklyn, NY
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Cisero Murphy and Brooklyn, NY - 01-02-2009, 05:39 AM

I can't tell you how many times I have come to this website to look for name spellings, data, factoids, photos, et cetera. For my job, I'm a professional Googler, and I depend on Google a lot. It is imperative that I get the correct spellings when I am producing a transcript from audio recordings, for example.

Right now, I am working for a New York Times journalist who is writing a book about a prominent New Yorker. It's kind of interesting, actually. In fact, there's a whole chapter about the Philippines. Too bad it wasn't about Efren Reyes, Francisco Bustamante, or Alex Pagulayan. I can spell those names by heart!

So I'm trying to find a name spelling pertaining to a New York borough, and I come across a Brooklyn writer's site. He refers his readers to AzBilliards to learn more about Cisero Murphy. Apparently, there's a mural memorializing "Sisero Murphy" in Brooklyn. Too bad the painter couldn't spell his name right.

Here's the AzBilliards post on this forum that the writer referenced:

From AZBillards.com: (I highly recommend checking out the entire article at the link.)

Cisero Murphy was undoubtedly the most courageous pool player in history. He had played better than anybody for years, and was denied entry into the World 14.1 Championships because of his race. Many would have been intimidated by the situation and sat down quietly, avoiding confrontation. Not Murphy. Cisero continued to play his best despite this set of circumstances, winning the Eastern States 14.1 Championship several years in a row amidst the toughest straight pool competition in the world. In 1965, Cisero was finally granted an opportunity to play in the World Championships. Cisero blasted through the field, posting victories over such names as "Cowboy" Jimmy Moore, Joe Balsis, and eventually Luther "Wimpy" Lassiter in the finals. Not bad for the tournament rookie. Cisero had sent a message out to the pool world. Good shooting mattered not on the color of your skin. Murphy earned the respect of his competition and maintained his intense playing style for the next few years.


Okay, which one of you wrote that?! It's kind of a compliment, I'd say!

The Brooklyn article was written in September 2006, entitled "Learning from Observation":

So today on the Daily Walk, I went north on Flatbush, veering onto Washington and stopped when I realized I had never actually had a close look at the Mural painted on the northwest corner of of Washington and Lincoln. I believe the theme is simply famous sports figures and it is nicely done, though unfortunately marred by grafitti (evident in the image below).

Below is the image of one person I had never heard of, Sisero [sic] Murphy, a billiards champ. Murphy, who I am only able to find references to under the name "Cisero Murphy" was evidently born in Brooklyn in 1937 ? not sure what part of Brooklyn, I guess that goes on the "to-do" list when the 1940 Federal Census is released.


Article source: http://mylifeinbrooklyn.com/category/daily-walk/page/3/

Picture of the mural with Cisero Murphy below!
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01-02-2009, 05:48 AM

Courtesy of JossCues.com website, here's a shot of Cisero on the table. He was inducted into the BCA's Hall of Fame in 1995!
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01-02-2009, 05:52 AM

Here's a picture of the full mural with Cisero Murphy, along with fellow New Yorkers, Joe DiMaggio and Mike Piazza.

The mural is in a place called "Crown Heights."
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01-02-2009, 05:57 AM

From AtlanticTrickshots.com website, there's a tribute to Cisero Murphy: "Tribute to Cicero Murphy, the First and Only Afro American to be
inducted into the Billiard Congress of America (BCA) Hall of Fame."
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01-02-2009, 06:00 AM

Here's another GREAT photo, courtesy of Blackjack! Hey, I wonder if Blackjack wrote that above-referenced article about Cisero!
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01-02-2009, 06:03 AM

I love this picture. It must have been taken the year he got in the BCA's Hall of Fame in 1995.
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01-02-2009, 06:42 AM

Cisero Muphy is now the 50th American pocket billiards player to be added to the list of "American Pool Players" on Wikipedia.

It's the least I could do, after reading more about him: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cisero_Murphy

If anybody can provide more data on this thread, including a photo that I could insert in the Wikipedia article with permission, please contact me.


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01-02-2009, 07:10 AM

Here's an Accu-Stats video of Cisero Murphy playing Bill "Chicken Man" Dunsmore in 1995: http://www.accu-stats.com/Qstore/Qst...11&PROD=000298

It was the 1995 Maine 14.1 Championship.

It might be the last recording of him playing. Cisero passed in 1996.


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What we really need - 01-02-2009, 07:56 AM

What we really need is an autograph by Mr. (James) Murphy to see how he spelled his name.

Several times I have seen "Cicero", as in post #4.

There is some suspicion that that the nickname was pinned on him, but he didn't know how to spell it.

In any case, he was a hell of a straight pool player.
I remember a game when Luther Lassiter missed when a ball skidded, and Murphy ran 141 and out.
  
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01-02-2009, 09:01 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed Wiggins
What we really need is an autograph by Mr. (James) Murphy to see how he spelled his name.

Several times I have seen "Cicero", as in post #4.

There is some suspicion that that the nickname was pinned on him, but he didn't know how to spell it.

In any case, he was a hell of a straight pool player.
I remember a game when Luther Lassiter missed when a ball skidded, and Murphy ran 141 and out.
Hey, thanks for that. I will definitely have to change the spelling in Wikipedia if I have it spelled wrong.


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01-02-2009, 09:25 AM

Luther & Murphy were in Greensboro NC playing a match for 10 days. I believe it was 1969. A 14.1 game t0 1500, 9-ball, and as I remember One-Pocket. The two days I attended Murphy made 286 consecutive shots (the cue got knocked into a pocket twicw during the three runs). I did not think anything of it the time, but I suppose it might have been the first time such a match occured in North Carolina. The matches were well attended.
  
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01-02-2009, 09:43 AM

If I recall correctly, Cisero's nephew used to post here quite often....can't recall his screen name though.

Jim

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01-02-2009, 09:51 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by JAM
Here's another GREAT photo, courtesy of Blackjack! Hey, I wonder if Blackjack wrote that above-referenced article about Cisero!
Here is the original complete article written by Blackjack -
http://www.azbilliards.com/blackjack/blackjack4.php

The First Lesson I ever recieved was from a man named Cisero Murphy. Cisero Murphy was undoubtedly the most courageous pool player in history. He had played better than anybody for years, and was denied entry into the World 14.1 Championships because of his race. Many would have been intimidated by the situation and sat down quietly, avoiding confrontation. Not Murphy. Cisero continued to play his best despite this set of circumstances, winning the Eastern States 14.1 Championship several years in a row amidst the toughest straight pool competition in the world. In 1965, Cisero was finally granted an opportunity to play in the World Championships. Cisero blasted through the field, posting victories over such names as "Cowboy" Jimmy Moore, Joe Balsis, and eventually Luther "Wimpy" Lassiter in the finals. Not bad for the tournament rookie. Cisero had sent a message out to the pool world. Good shooting mattered not on the color of your skin. Murphy earned the respect of his competition and maintained his intense playing style for the next few years.

When I met Murphy, I was a snot nosed 13 year old kid that would sneak into the room to watch him shoot. I would skip school, and go down there every tuesday afternoon, hiding in a corner until they threw me out. One day, as I was being shown the door, Murphy said, "Let the kid stay. He ain't bothering nobody." I then watched him run 50-60 balls. When he was done, he came over and asked me why I wasn't in school. I lied and told him I was from out west and in NYC visiting relatives. He didn't believe me. He snaggled the truth out of me and I was then sent back to New Jersey. The next day Murphy made sure I was in school. At the time I hated him for it, but it was the start of a beautiful realtionship between teacher and student.

In the late 1970's and early 1980's I was not the nicest of character's in the pool world. I was an infamous road player, scooting from town to town with some of the most infamous of people and doing very dishonest things. It went against everything that Cisero had taught me. I was addicted to amphetamines and alcohol. One of my moments in the pits of despair came in 1986 at Amsterdam Billiard Club where I was hustling a guy. I was flying high on speed talking a line of BS when out of the corner of my eyes I saw him standing in the same corner I stood as a kid. As I peered over to meet his eyes, I saw a look of complete disgust and disappointment. He shook his head and walked away. That look of disgust shattered me. Within a year I would clean up my act. When I got off of the drugs and alcohol, Cisero was one of the most supportive people in my life. When you go as far down the ladder as I went, you make skeptics out of people, and believe me, Cisero was skeptical. He stood beside me every step of the way offering encouragement and sound advice on life. I can never repay him for his kindness, his strength and his honesty (whether I wanted to hear it or not). When I was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 1993, Cisero was there with encouragement, letting me know that giving up was not an option. He encouraged me to compete on the pro tour during my illness. I believe that was what kept me alive.

The proudest moment I had in my pool career was not winning a major tournament or achieving my status as a professional. My proudest moment came in 1995 when I was present at Cisero Murphy's Hall of Fame Induction. When Cisero Murphy passed away the next year, I made the decision to pass along what he taught me to others. I was able to be there for the family, and I was able to be the person that Cisero had tought me how to be. Cisero Murphy didn't just teach me about pool, he taught me about not giving up. He taught me how to help others. He also taught me that anything is possible if there is enough positive energy behind it.

I was reminded of Cisero this past year at the World Championships. My close friend Francisco Bustamante had showed up within hours of the passing of his infant daughter. Francisco and I would travel together to tournaments while we were in Germany in the early 1990's. In 1992, my six year old daughter had passed away from diabetes complications. One of the first people to call me was Francisco Bustamante. I was silently skeptical and confused at Francisco's decision to compete that week. He amazed us all by making his way through the tournament and into the finals. Though he did not win the title and give us the storybook ending, Francisco showed us all that he had the heart and determination of a true champion. To play as consistently and perfectly as he played while overcome with grief and loss is a testament to his inner strength.

We're not just pool players. We are in a way a family, bonded by our love for this game. With all of the legends and lore of how this sport is infested with low lifes and gamblers and heartless people, I feel compelled to show the other side. Within all of us exists the heart of a champion, and sometimes the thing that exposes this trait is not pleasant. Whether it is Vivian Villareal fighting through the loss of an adopted child, or Maureen Seto fighting and clawing her way back from a devastating car accident that left her without the use of her legs, or me competing on the pro tour while undergoing chemotherapy, we all have obstacles that build our character. The thing that separates the champions is whether or not we fight through it. Sometimes character building is lost in our rush for comfort. It is the hard times that make us who we are. The hard times make us stronger, and they make us useful to others when they are placed in similar situations. Good luck and God Bless.
My name is David Sapolis and I currently live in El Paso, Texas. I began playing pool as a child, and as a teenager was schooled by the late BCA Hall of Famer, Cisero Murphy. At age 17 I left home and pursued a career on the road, shuffling from town to town winning and losing money. I played sporadically on the professional tour throughout the 1980's and 1990's, leaving behind professional pool in 1995. I began writing about pool in 1991, with my first book, "Stroke of Genius", followed by "The Growling Point". The proceeds of my books go to the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation as well as the Jimmy V Foundation. I have recently written two more books, "Lessons in 9 Ball" and "Building the Perfect Game". I enjoy teaching the game of pool to layers of all skill levels and passing along my experience and knowledge to those that can benefit from it.
  
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01-02-2009, 10:03 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by JAM
Here's a picture of the full mural with Cisero Murphy, along with fellow New Yorkers, Joe DiMaggio and Mike Piazza.

The mural is in a place called "Crown Heights."
Crown Heights is basically in the center of Brooklyn.
  
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Mr. Lucky - 01-02-2009, 10:36 AM

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Well now that you asked...
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Quote:
Originally Posted by berlowmj
Can anyone name some? Why are there not more?

My Uncle Cisero was one of the best in his time in straight pool and most money games ! He is in the Pool Hall of Fame (BCA) I have seen him play many of the supposed greats and whip them and know of many supposed pool greats like the man who called himself "Minnesota Fats" (claiming that Jackie Gleasons character in "The Hustler" was patterned after him! ) Mr Wanderone who would not play Cis' One night in Basil's (Basil was a European, i believe he was Hungarian, 3 time straight champion who was a buddy of Cisero's)

I might add that as a young up and coming player in the 50's when he came into being recognized as a Black Man / Afro American he could not even go into some of the venues that tournaments and Championships were held ! Just a little history for some of you young players that do not understand what Black People had to go through not really that long ago!
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Pool is my love and my way of relaxing! My cues!...I Love McDermotts for every day play!, Just ordered a new Samsara , I have 2 Jacobys, a 42 year old custom given to me on my 16th birthday by my uncle Cisero is my treasured cue!

Pretty Woman and cues are my weakness!

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