A champion and a friend has passed

wincardona

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
My good friend Bernie Schwartz passed away today, his son Bruce called me to tell me the sad news. Bernie was the best 9ball player in the world through the 70's he beat every player that could play and he played them all. Not only was he a world champion 9ball player but he was also a champion person as well. Raising three beautiful children Marci, Hillery, and a son named Bruce. All three children are successful family people that adored their father. Bernie was the funniest guy on earth, always making people laugh with his dry wit, he will be sorely missed.

Rest In Peace my good friend,
Bill Incardona
 

Blue Hog ridr

World Famous Fisherman.
Silver Member
My condolences Billy. It's very hard to lose a family member or a good Buddy.

But, you mentioned that he raised three kids that adored him.

When you have good friends and you have done well by your family, that speaks volumes on a mans character.
 

jay helfert

Shoot Pool, not people
Gold Member
Silver Member
Bernie was a great one! I saw him battle first Billy Johnson (win) and then Greg Stephens (win again) in Vegas in 1972. Not many people could have faded that duo then. I'm glad I saw him last year in Derby City. We chatted about the old days and selling the ovenware that helped make him a rich man. He gave me his card, which says, "My name is Bernard and here is my card." Only other thing on there is a phone number.

Living proof Jews can play pool (along with Sigel of course)! I had a nice long chat with him on the phone after he read my book. He loved the stories (even though my action was child's play for him) and all the pictures of guys he knew and played. He was very complimentary and kind to me and I told him I was a big fan of his as well. Amazing that Bernie, Billy and Jimmy Marino all came out of Pittsburgh about the same time. Three of the best!

Thanks for the memories Bernie! You were part of a golden era in pool.
 
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Toncam

Another Bum !
Silver Member
Sorry to hear of the loss of your friend.
I have read this fellows name somewhere but i forget where.
 

JAM

Professional Railbird
Silver Member
My good friend Bernie Schwartz passed away today, his son Bruce called me to tell me the sad news. Bernie was the best 9ball player in the world through the 70's he beat every player that could play and he played them all. Not only was he a world champion 9ball player but he was also a champion person as well. Raising three beautiful children Marci, Hillery, and a son named Bruce. All three children are successful family people that adored their father. Bernie was the funniest guy on earth, always making people laugh with his dry wit, he will be sorely missed.

Rest In Peace my good friend,
Bill Incardona

So sorry to hear the news, Billy. He was a little before my time, so I decided to do a wee bit of research this morning to find out who Bernie Schwartz was, and I came acrsos this article written in January 1970. It takes place at the infamous Jack and Jill's pool room, owned by Weenie Bennie, in Arlington, Virginia:

Tonight in Jack n Jill Cue Club, a pool rustler named Bernie Schwartz clinched the U.S. Open Nine Ball Tournament. With this new achievement. Schwartz may be the best nine ball player in the country.

The tournament lead was shared by Schwartz. Luther "Wimpy" Lassiter, "Champagne" Eddie Kelly, and Jim "The Springfield Rifle" Rellihan at 5-1, but then the balding Schwartz roared back to lead, 11-2. and eventually win.

Jim Morgan in Drag

Schwartz bets liberally and has won as much as $15,000 in a week. In the all-night sessions, his girl friend, in her blonde wig, black leather pumps, and imitation sealskin coat, is an important factor in his success. She sits near Schwartz and gives him Marlboros and coffee.

Denizens of Jack n Jill are now talking up a large money match between Lassiter and The Hawk, Lassiter has always been acknowledged as the finest nine ball player in the world, but now there are some doubters.

In Joke

As one familiar face known only as "Pumpkin" said. "When you've been out of action for four years like Lassiter has, it's got to hurt, and I don't care who you are."


Source: Wig, Marlboros Win Virginia Pool Tournament [Retrieved 12 May 2013]

What a shame he didn't get into the One-Pocket Hall of Fame while he was still alive to enjoy it, but, thank goodness, he did make into the Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in Western Pennsylvania in 2002. This is a cool pool read:

Bernie "The Hawk" Schwartz, a pool hustler who began chalking up as a kid in Oakland in the late 1940s, will be inducted into the Jewish Sports Hall of Fame of Western Pennsylvania tonight.

Purists might argue that a game that can be played with a cigarette 'twixt your lips is no sport. Phooey. If Tiger Woods is lauded for making his living with a bagful of sticks, how much more impressive is a man who could earn his family's keep carrying one?

Schwartz, now 67, was this good: He didn't just meet Minnesota Fats under Kaufmann's clock; he cleaned Fats' clock in Kaufmann's when the braggart blew through town promoting pool tables in 1968. Schwartz won the Las Vegas Invitational, the world nine-ball championship, in 1970. And a friend told me that the wads of cash that changed hands when the big players came to Schwartz's basement pool hall on Murray Avenue, "The Hawk's Nest," could have choked a stable of horses.

So I called Schwartz in suburban Detroit, where he moved 31 years ago after selling the pool hall, to hear his tale.

His father died when he was 6. He, his older brother, Paul, and their Russian-born mother, Gertrude, moved from the Hill District to the new housing project in Oakland, Terrace Village. Cotton's Pool Room was down the hill on Fifth Avenue, and the Schwartzes, tall for their age, entered that world of gambling men at 12 and 13.

Brother Paul says he was backing Bernie with $200 bets by their late teens. By then, the family had moved to Squirrel Hill, where Paul still lives and where Bernie was mentored in Ross' pool parlor by Bunny Rogoff. Are these names great, or what?

"His skills in pool were as good as Arnold Palmer's in golf," Paul said.

But Bernie got married at 22 and quit the game. He worked in sales and, after a decade away, drifted back into the poolrooms. He bought the Hawk's Nest in 1967 when he was 32. Before long, bleachers were brought in for tournaments that featured name players such as Irving Crane, Luther Lassiter and Steve Mizerak.

"They had to take a ticket to play me," Bernie said. "Like in a bakery."

He'd always try to get them to play him on the corner table, under the air conditioner, which cooled the rubber cushions and changed all the angles.

"I used to play really good on that table. I'd say, 'Let's go back there and play in the corner,' and before they knew it, they were empty."

Not that he couldn't win elsewhere, and with style. When he won the championship in Vegas, he bested "Champagne Eddie" Kelly, who was famous for shouting "Champagne for everybody!" just before he'd sink the last ball of a match. So just before Schwartz sank his winner, he shouted "Manischewitz wine for everybody!"

These were the days when Schwartz would take short road trips with his late wife and soul mate, Ruthie, by his side, his in-laws watching their three children. He beat a local hero in Eatonton, Ga., in 1969 for $6,000, and got the only standing ovation of his career. On a later trip to Detroit, a high roller in the cookware business asked him, "What's a nice Jewish boy like you doing hustling pool?"

Within a year, Schwartz sold his pool hall and was in the cookware business himself. Like Sandy Koufax, he quit at the top of his game.

"You can't make a living playing pool. You've got to work. I had three kids by then."

They're with him this weekend, along with his four grandchildren, among the five carloads driving into town for the induction ceremonies at Beth Shalom Synagogue. Brother Paul even sprang for a billboard congratulating The Hawk above Poli's parking lot.

Schwartz never forgot his roots -- nor could his opponents. The story goes that not long after he beat Minnesota Fats, the rotund one went to Chicago to another department store. When he once again bragged of his pool prowess, out of the crowd came a shrill voice.

"You're a liar, Fats! My nephew, Bernie Schwartz, beat you in Pittsburgh!"

Bernie's Aunt Esther is no longer with us, but that story being told tonight is about as close to a sure bet as anything since Schwartz left his corner table.


Source: Storied nine-ball ace is athlete enough for hall of fame [Retrieved 12 May 2013]

RIP to a legend in the pool world. May he rest in peace!
 

Pushout

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Sorry to hear this Billy, as I've said before, a little of the magic of the game leaves along with the player when they're gone.
RIP, Bernie.
 

freddy the beard

Freddy Bentivegna
Silver Member
Sorry to hear of his passing. Bernie was a fun guy, as was his wife Ruthie. She gambled almost as high as he did playing gin rummy. I, like Jay, was glad that I got to see him one more time at DCC a couple years back. We talked one more time when he called me after his trip to DCC, and kept me on the phone for a 1/2 hour cutting up old jackpots and verbally abusing me.

That is no stretch re how good Bernie played. In 1972 the three best nine ball players in the country were Bernie Schwartz, Billy Incardona, and Jimmy Marino -- all from Pittsburgh.

Beard
 

macguy

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Bernie was a great one! I saw him battle first Billy Johnson (win) and then Greg Stephens (win again) in Vegas in 1972. Not many people could have faded that duo then. I'm glad I saw him last year in Derby City. We chatted about the old days and selling the ovenware that helped make him a rich man. He gave me his card, which says, "My name is Bernard and here is my card." Only other thing on there is a phone number.

Living proof Jews can play pool (along with Sigel of course)! I had a nice long chat with him on the phone after he read my book. He loved the stories (even though my action was child's play for him) and all the pictures of guys he knew and played. He was very complimentary and kind to me and I told him I was a big fan of his as well. Amazing that Bernie, Billy and Jimmy Marino all came out of Pittsburgh about the same time. Three of the best!

Thanks for the memories Bernie! You were part of a golden era in pool.
I haven't thought of that name in years. I actually sold his oven ware. It was like a 42 piece set nicely packaged and if I remember right cost me like $8.00 a set. The boxes were marked something like $59.95 and you could get $25 with your eyes closed. It was nothing to sell 30 or 50 sets in a day. A lot of pool players made a lot of money with his stuff.
RIP Bernie
 
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Mark Griffin

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
Bernie Schwartz

I never really knew Bernie, but I did know who he was.

Sorry to hear of your loss, Billy.

RIP Mr. Schwartz

Mark Griffin
 
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jay helfert

Shoot Pool, not people
Gold Member
Silver Member
I never really knew Bernie, but I knew who he was.
I did see him at a couple of events over the years, always with Billy I.

Sorry to hear of your loss, Billy.

I don't remember the name of the book, but Bernie wrote a pretty good book on playing 8-ball.

RIP Mr. Schwartz

Mark Griffin


That was Larry Schwartz, no relation.
P.S. Remember Mark, the "Schwartz" is with you!
 

ENGLISH!

Banned
Silver Member
I'm sorry for your loss. My condolences.

I too have recently lost a pool playing friend

I'll prayer for all who knew him.

Best Regards,
 

Paul Schofield

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
This is a Bernie Schwartz story. It may be just a story and there may be no truth to it but it is worth repeating. He wanted rid if his poolroom (Hawks Nest) in the worst way. Business slowed and failed to be lucrative. There was no business. What to do? Make pool free! Soon the place was full of kids day and night. He marched in potential buyers, one after another, who knew nothing about the pool business. Look at all the business! Eventually one bit and he was rid of the place and off to Detroit he went. The buyer was rudely awakened when he went to charge for pool. The doors closed for good shortly thereafter.

Truth or just a story, someone knows out there.
 

richiebalto

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
This is a Bernie Schwartz story. It may be just a story and there may be no truth to it but it is worth repeating. He wanted rid if his poolroom (Hawks Nest) in the worst way. Business slowed and failed to be lucrative. There was no business. What to do? Make pool free! Soon the place was full of kids day and night. He marched in potential buyers, one after another, who knew nothing about the pool business. Look at all the business! Eventually one bit and he was rid of the place and off to Detroit he went. The buyer was rudely awakened when he went to charge for pool. The doors closed for good shortly thereafter.

Truth or just a story, someone knows out there.

Either way, great story, thanks for sharing!
 

Mikjary

Droppin' a Fauci
Silver Member
Sorry to hear of his passing. Bernie was a fun guy, as was his wife Ruthie. She gambled almost as high as he did playing gin rummy. I, like Jay, was glad that I got to see him one more time at DCC a couple years back. We talked one more time when he called me after his trip to DCC, and kept me on the phone for a 1/2 hour cutting up old jackpots and verbally abusing me.

That is no stretch re how good Bernie played. In 1972 the three best nine ball players in the country were Bernie Schwartz, Billy Incardona, and Jimmy Marino -- all from Pittsburgh.

Beard

The only time I saw Bernie play was at your place in Chicago years ago. He was playing St Louis Louie 9 ball sets for a rumored 10 dimes and giving Louie the 7 ball. It was a who's who of the pool world sweating the action late one night. I bumped into Mike Sigel and chatted with Flyboy. I think I came there with Bobby Cotton.

They played on the last table on the left next to the can if I remember right. All the lights in the room were off except the bulb over their battle field. Louie won the first set and I congratulated him. He thanked me and joked about how he was in dead whack. I told him to get back on the table right away so he could stay there. He laughed and I couldn't help but notice how amped up he was. In those days at that time of the night it wasn't because they had a high metabolism.

Toward the end of the second set, Bernie caught a gear and pulled ahead. Louie was struggling, so the reinforcements came out. Bernie studied a layout late in the set and bent down to shoot a tough 7 ball. In this crowded room of 75-100 sweators, the unmistakable sound of high heels broke the silence. They started in the back of the room and slowly made their way toward Bernie and the bathroom. Bernie stood up just as a lovely lady in tight white pants emerged out of the darkness.

She stopped at the edge of table and all eyes were on her and Bernie. If this was a man, he was committing the ultimate shark and probably wouldn't have made it out of the door. But Bernie, realizing that it was Louie's girl, gracefully bowed and with a sweeping motion of his arm, allowed her to pass. The room exploded! People fell out of their chairs as she clip clopped past the table with that lovely behind.

Bernie won the set.

Best,
Mike
 
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catpool9

"Rack Um"/ Rusty Lock
Silver Member
Billy, sorry for the lose of your dear friend Bernie, my condolences to you , Bernie's family and friends.


David Harcrow
 

WardS

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I had just got out of the Army in 1967, I was just a kid, and was in Pittsburgh. I went to Bernies place and I think it was for members but he let me play because I was from Dallas and he liked Puckett. Sorry to hear of his passing, RIP
 
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