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No Passport? - 08-21-2019, 04:14 PM

Can a player be considered great if he only played at his home room?

Pool history is filled with stories about guys that could only play on their home track. Or, could run balls like water during practice but choked their brains out in tournaments. Or, were great in tournaments but couldn't beat McGoorty's apocryphal Girl Scout for the cheese.

I grew up reading Tom Fox's on-the-scene accounts from the Jansco's Cue Club in SI about all the road men who traveled the country from one side to the other, north to south, but would congregate once a year in Johnston City, IL: Wimpy, Fats, Squirrel, Handsome Danny, Weenie Been, Tugboat, Detroit Whitey, Bear, Warbucks, Youngblood, NY Blackie, Cornbread, and many others.

But what about the guy who stayed home? Can he ever be considered one of the greats?

Lou Figueroa
  
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08-21-2019, 04:41 PM

But what about the guy who stayed home? Can he ever be considered one of the greats?

If a tree falls and no one is there to hear it.....
Does it make a sound?


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08-21-2019, 04:51 PM

I think you already know the answer to that question. I doubt that homeboy is considered great by any of the names you mentioned.
  
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08-21-2019, 06:39 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by lfigueroa View Post
Can a player be considered great if he only played at his home room?

Pool history is filled with stories about guys that could only play on their home track. Or, could run balls like water during practice but choked their brains out in tournaments. Or, were great in tournaments but couldn't beat McGoorty's apocryphal Girl Scout for the cheese.

I grew up reading Tom Fox's on-the-scene accounts from the Jansco's Cue Club in SI about all the road men who traveled the country from one side to the other, north to south, but would congregate once a year in Johnston City, IL: Wimpy, Fats, Squirrel, Handsome Danny, Weenie Been, Tugboat, Detroit Whitey, Bear, Warbucks, Youngblood, NY Blackie, Cornbread, and many others.

But what about the guy who stayed home? Can he ever be considered one of the greats?

Lou Figueroa
Yes, one of the best players ever was one that almost never went on the road. He was George Rood of Ohio, and no end of top players came to Ohio to play him, with a general lack of success. Mosconi had almost limitless respect for George.
  
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08-21-2019, 06:46 PM

Three interesting names, each with a different degree of greatness, each with some similar peers in Anyville USA. All stay(ed) within a couple hours of home.

Gene Nagy

Gary Spaeth

CM Lee


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08-21-2019, 08:45 PM

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Originally Posted by sjm View Post
Yes, one of the best players ever was one that almost never went on the road. He was George Rood of Ohio, and no end of top players came to Ohio to play him, with a general lack of success. Mosconi had almost limitless respect for George.
I knew George from the time I was kid. He was legendary in Dayton. He would come into the poolroom (the Cue and Bridge) where I hung out and occasionally worked, pretty much on a daily basis. He would practice on the front table, just threw nine balls out there and ran rack after rack. He might practice a couple of hours altogether and maybe miss one ball. After the 9-Ball practice he racked the balls up for 14.1, leaving a break shot, just like they do today. I watched him run over 100 balls a few dozen times and just lay his cue down and quit. He was probably in his 50's by that time and a well known dog breeder and judge at dog shows.

We had some very good players who came in there, like Dino Gounaris, Don Willis (he took George on the road when he was a kid), Pete Glenn, Lassiter (he was one of George's best friends) and Joey Spaeth. If George was practicing they would sit and watch and maybe chat with him. When a hustler came to town, they would play other guys first. If no one could beat him they would call George. I never saw him lose to anyone, and he played some future champions like Ed Kelly and Johnny Ervolino (9-Ball with both).

Other local greats I knew about were Bud Hypes from West Virginia. He was pretty much unbeatable on the 8' tables in his room. He played them all, including Lassiter at his peak.

There was guy named JD Tippit who only played in his bar in Visalia, CA. (near Fresno). Everyone knew about him and that he would play anyone who came in and bet high too. All the top bar table champions tried him, with little success. I think only Keith beat him, but it was a long struggle.


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08-21-2019, 08:51 PM

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Originally Posted by Cornerman View Post
Three interesting names, each with a different degree of greatness, each with some similar peers in Anyville USA. All stay(ed) within a couple hours of home.

Gene Nagy

Gary Spaeth

CM Lee
Gene Nagy - probably one of the greatest pool players of all time but he always seemed to fold under pressure. He was the world's greatest practice champion (running hundreds every day), after Babe Cranfield (although Babe could play in tournaments too).

Gary Spaeth - One of the best Bank Pool players of all time. Right there with Truman at his peak and the equal of Jason Miller when he was killing everyone. Probably a ball better than Brumback in his prime. He was the leader of the next generation of bankers after Bugs and Taylor. He could play for money too. No slouch here!

CM Lee - played good in his own poolroom but was a ball under the best players.


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08-21-2019, 09:04 PM

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Originally Posted by lfigueroa View Post

But what about the guy who stayed home? Can he ever be considered one of the greats?

Lou Figueroa

Yup. Certainly.

But only to those who knew him or heard of him.

You are talking about fame I guess. So, would such a person ever be famous? Be known beyond their circle in the pool world? Probably not.

But that does not make them any less great in my view.

I look at my own field. There are famous respected surgeons. And then there were those that never left their own little circle, their own practice. They didn't publish. They didn't work in a big university setting. And that were great. Those that knew them and learned from them or watched them know. I have known a couple surgeons like that. They passed in obscurity, they certainly were among the greats, but only to those who knew of them. Interestingly, those that did become famous did actually know of their obscure colleague and would likely tell you they were among the greats.

.


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08-21-2019, 09:20 PM

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Originally Posted by Chopdoc View Post
Yup. Certainly.

But only to those who knew him or heard of him.

You are talking about fame I guess. So, would such a person ever be famous? Be known beyond their circle in the pool world? Probably not.

But that does not make them any less great in my view.

I look at my own field. There are famous respected surgeons. And then there were those that never left their own little circle, their own practice. They didn't publish. They didn't work in a big university setting. And that were great. Those that knew them and learned from them or watched them know. I have known a couple surgeons like that. They passed in obscurity, they certainly were among the greats, but only to those who knew of them. Interestingly, those that did become famous did actually know of their obscure colleague and would likely tell you they were among the greats.

.
My father was a very well known Urologist. At one time he was the Chief of Staff of both large hospitals in Dayton (Good Samaritan and St. Elizabeth). He used to tinker with the urological tools in our basement workshop that he set up. He was improving on their design, and his innovations became part of the commonly used tools for years to come (maybe even today). He never tried to patent anything. He gave away his designs to other surgeons and medical schools for the good of all!

No matter, he was a very highly paid doctor, being called to Chicago and New York for surgeries on wealthy patients. I remember him making a trip to Saudi Arabia to work on some Sheikh. He came home with a small bag full of diamonds. My mom was thrilled and made several jewelry pieces that are still in our family today.

His name was Dr. Irving Helfert.


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08-22-2019, 03:12 AM

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Originally Posted by Cornerman View Post
Three interesting names, each with a different degree of greatness, each with some similar peers in Anyville USA. All stay(ed) within a couple hours of home.

Gene Nagy

Gary Spaeth

CM Lee
I donít know the first two but no way should CM be considered one of Poolís all time greats. Thereís a huge difference between really good and great. CM is really good.
  
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08-22-2019, 03:48 AM

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I donít know the first two but no way should CM be considered one of Poolís all time greats. Thereís a huge difference between really good and great. CM is really good.

I know the first two not CM.
  
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08-22-2019, 06:32 AM

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Originally Posted by mchnhed View Post
But what about the guy who stayed home? Can he ever be considered one of the greats?

If a tree falls and no one is there to hear it.....
Does it make a sound?

Nice.

Lou Figueroa
  
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08-22-2019, 06:37 AM

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Originally Posted by Z-Nole View Post
I think you already know the answer to that question. I doubt that homeboy is considered great by any of the names you mentioned.

Some more of the greats mentioned in SI: Earl Schriver, Johnnie Irish, Cowboy Jimmy Moore, and Johnny Vevis.

Lou Figueroa
  
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08-22-2019, 06:39 AM

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Originally Posted by Z-Nole View Post
I donít know the first two but no way should CM be considered one of Poolís all time greats. Thereís a huge difference between really good and great. CM is really good.
As I said, different degrees of greatness. Iím not saying that CM is one of the all-time greats.


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08-22-2019, 06:40 AM

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Originally Posted by sjm View Post
Yes, one of the best players ever was one that almost never went on the road. He was George Rood of Ohio, and no end of top players came to Ohio to play him, with a general lack of success. Mosconi had almost limitless respect for George.

George was a great player but IMO not one of the greats.

I had the opportunity to meet him at Airway in Dayton. I was looking for a 1pocket game and he steered mo over to a young guy I didn't recognize, saying, "He'll probably play you some." It was Jason Miller.

Lou Figueroa
  
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