Babe Cranfield

jalapus logan

pool shooter
Silver Member
I just saw this thread about Babe Cranfield and not much information was shared about him so far. I also did a search for his name, but it looks like he is only mentioned in passing from time to time. So I thought I'd pick your guys' collective mind.

I know that he is rumored to have run 768 or so in practice, so he must have been at least a middle of the road type of 14.1 player - ha ha.

Any info/legends about this great player?
 
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Winston846

Aspiring 14.1 Player
Silver Member
Arthur "Babe" Cranfield - and running balls

Mosconi's run is recognized as the "official" record (take that as you will), but there have been others who have run more.

But the top dog had to be Cranfield. I remember reading somewhere that he had 4 known runs over 700, with 768 being his best.

But then again, Charles Ursitti has also stated that 526 was not Mosconi's highest run, either, and that he didn't count practice runs.

The story I heard behind Mike Eufemia's 625, though was that it was in a match in which Eufemia ran 150-and-out. But instead of stopping, he just kept on going - all the way to 625. The problem was that no one witnessed the entire run except Eufemia himself, so it was never "certified".

DISCLAIMER: I only state the above based on what I have researched online, so take that as you will, too.
 
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Ron F

Ron F
Silver Member
Babe

Babe Cranfield isn't mentioned much for some reason. There are a few links available online (below) that illustrate some of his achievements, but when it comes to inclusion in books his name doesn't appear all that often. It's always Willie and Fats and Luther and Irving.

A lot of really good players from the 50's, 60's and 70's don't get much recognition. Lou Butera, Mike Eufemia and Cisero Murphy are 3 more names that you don't often see in print too much. I guess if you didn't play high stakes pool to survive for decades or win world championship after world championship you get forgotten about. Sad. I still think the History Channel should do a series on Pool Hustlers, Cheats and Champions. Why not, they do enough documentaries on mobsters, bootleggers, rum runners, truck drivers, loggers and swamp people!!


http://untoldstoriesbilliardshistor...8/babe-cranfield-willie-mosconi-and-long.html

http://www.syracusehalloffame.com/pages/inductees/1987/arthur_babe_cranfield.html
 

stevekur1

The "COMMISH"
Silver Member
Sad. I still think the History Channel should do a series on Pool Hustlers, Cheats and Champions. Why not, they do enough documentaries on mobsters, bootleggers, rum runners, truck drivers, loggers and swamp people!!

All it takes it one to make it happen, and i think that one should be you....You are the perfect candidate !!!!

Big Bird !!!!
 

Bob Jewett

AZB Osmium Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
A friend of mine was in Syracuse on business and went to the pool hall where Cranfield practiced (specifically to watch Cranfield). In five straight nights, he saw Cranfield run over 200.
 

Winston846

Aspiring 14.1 Player
Silver Member
A friend of mine was in Syracuse on business and went to the pool hall where Cranfield practiced (specifically to watch Cranfield). In five straight nights, he saw Cranfield run over 200.

I also remember reading something like this about Eufemia. It was said in the pool hall that he played in, there was a standing bet with the owner that Eufemia would run 200 balls before the normal closing hour. It was also said that over a 10-year period of time, the owner never lost that bet.

Here's a thread I found that also mentions something about this...
http://forums.azbilliards.com/showthread.php?t=171271
 
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Ron F

Ron F
Silver Member
Ok

All it takes it one to make it happen, and i think that one should be you....You are the perfect candidate !!!!

Big Bird !!!!

The only way I'd do it is if I could get "Crazy Eddie" Culhane to do the narration ~ but we'd have to beep out all his F-bombs.

Ron F
 

jalapus logan

pool shooter
Silver Member
Babe Cranfield isn't mentioned much for some reason. There are a few links available online (below) that illustrate some of his achievements, but when it comes to inclusion in books his name doesn't appear all that often. It's always Willie and Fats and Luther and Irving.

A lot of really good players from the 50's, 60's and 70's don't get much recognition. Lou Butera, Mike Eufemia and Cisero Murphy are 3 more names that you don't often see in print too much. I guess if you didn't play high stakes pool to survive for decades or win world championship after world championship you get forgotten about. Sad. I still think the History Channel should do a series on Pool Hustlers, Cheats and Champions. Why not, they do enough documentaries on mobsters, bootleggers, rum runners, truck drivers, loggers and swamp people!!


http://untoldstoriesbilliardshistor...8/babe-cranfield-willie-mosconi-and-long.html

http://www.syracusehalloffame.com/pages/inductees/1987/arthur_babe_cranfield.html

Great read, thanks. It must have been something watching him play.
 

jalapus logan

pool shooter
Silver Member
I also remember reading something like this about Eufemia. It was said in the pool hall that he played in, there was a standing bet with the owner that Eufemia would run 200 balls before the normal closing hour. It was also said that over a 10-year period of time, the owner never lost that bet.

Here's a thread I found that also mentions something about this...
http://forums.azbilliards.com/showthread.php?t=171271

Interesting thread, thanks as well. I see in that thread that Ray Martin was brought up. Why is his name not uttered more often as well I wonder???
 

jwpretd

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
See The Straight Pool Bible by Cranfield and Laurence Moy. There's a small amount of personal information about him in the preface. A partial on-line copy is at Google Books.

There's a lot of information in the book and I like it quite a lot. There's another book, "Essential Pool: A Complete Course from a World Champion", also written with Laurence Moy, but I haven't seen it.

One thing of interest, is that Babe Cranfield had a full time job through most of his playing career. When he beat Lassiter in 1964 (1200 to 730, during the course of which Cranfield called a foul on himself that neither Lassiter or the referee had noticed) in the real world he was VP of a Muzak distributorship.

Laurence Moy is a high-level attorney in New York. He knew Babe Cranfield for something like 20 or 30 years. I had a couple of questions about Cranfield once and sent him an email. He responded quickly, seemed like a nice guy, and didn't seem to mind being asked questions, so if you have a need for more info you might try contacting him.
 

Ron F

Ron F
Silver Member
A+

See The Straight Pool Bible by Cranfield and Laurence Moy. There's a small amount of personal information about him in the preface. A partial on-line copy is at Google Books.

There's a lot of information in the book and I like it quite a lot. There's another book, "Essential Pool: A Complete Course from a World Champion", also written with Laurence Moy, but I haven't seen it.

One thing of interest, is that Babe Cranfield had a full time job through most of his playing career. When he beat Lassiter in 1964 (1200 to 730, during the course of which Cranfield called a foul on himself that neither Lassiter or the referee had noticed) in the real world he was VP of a Muzak distributorship.

Laurence Moy is a high-level attorney in New York. He knew Babe Cranfield for something like 20 or 30 years. I had a couple of questions about Cranfield once and sent him an email. He responded quickly, seemed like a nice guy, and didn't seem to mind being asked questions, so if you have a need for more info you might try contacting him.


GREAT POST!

Ron F
 

tedkaufman

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Larry Moy is a hellava nice guy. He contacted me once about a comment I made on his and Babe's straight pool book (which, by the way, is wonderful). Larry was a long time friend of Babe and has a ton of stories about him. I'm sure anyone from the forums who contacted Larry would be met with a warm response.
 

Pushout

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Babe used to come to Binhamton, NY a couple of times a year on business and usually stopped in The Pocket Billiard Lounge on State Street. Usually played 3-Cushion instead of pool and I don't remember him losing:D
 

sfleinen

14.1 & One Pocket Addict
Gold Member
Silver Member
The only way I'd do it is if I could get "Crazy Eddie" Culhane to do the narration ~ but we'd have to beep out all his F-bombs.

Ron F

Ron:

If you do that, the commentary will sound like Morse code. :p

-Sean
 

One Rock

Registered
My encounter with Arthur "Babe" Cranfield

I just stumbled upon this forum, so I thought I'd share my story. From 1984 through 1989, I attended Syracuse University where I received my BS and MS in Electrical Engineering. Prior to attending college, I had mainly played straight rail billiards (I grew up overseas), and on occasion, pool. Syracuse University's student rec. center had just gotten six brand new 4 1/2 x 9 Gandy tables installed. Naturally, I got hooked!

One day, a buddy of mine and I decided to go to the bowling alley on Erie Blvd (it's been long gone since). We had heard they had a couple of billiard tables over there, and we wanted to play some straight rail. As soon as I walked through the door, I was taken aback by this vast field of pool tables. To the left, I quickly noticed the billiard tables and proceeded to the counter to get the balls. As my buddy and I were enjoying a game of billiards, I couldn't help but to notice an old man to the far right running around the pool table and pocketing balls like I've never seen anyone do before. He was also wearing an apron. I didn't know what game he was playing because up until then, the only pool games I've ever played were 8-ball and 15-ball rotation (aka. 61).

A couple of weeks later, I went back to that same bowling alley to play pool with a new pool playing buddy I just recently met at the rec. center. There he is again, that same old man, dissecting a rack of balls like a surgeon. "That's Babe Cranfield", my friend said; "He won the world championship in the 60's". "What game is he playing?" I asked. "Straight pool," my friend replied. From that moment on, I just couldn't keep my eyes off. I had never seen the game played at such a level. This man was running through one frame after another with great ease, never running into problems, and leaving the last ball on the table to blast open the next frame (Babe, like many old timers, always referred to a rack of balls as a "frame"). By now, he must have run 150 or 200 balls! I finally approached him, said hello, and introduced myself. To say he was cordial and a gentleman wou;d be an understatement. I couldn't help but to ask whether he'd be willing to give me some lessons. He gladly accepted.

To make a long story short, I had been renting a room on Euclid Ave. in Syracuse, a stone's throw away from the university's engineering and computer science department. Shockingly, Babe's house was literally across the street from me. I mean, maybe 200 feet from where I was living. I knew then that pool was going to be a big part of my life.

A year later, I was able to manage a 50-ball run here and there, sometimes twice on the same day. By then, I had become a frequent patron at Caps Cue Club. From what I can tell, that room, which I'll always remember as my stomping grounds, recently went out of business (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4fH9guOfPfY). I'll never forget it or the time I ran 42 balls to win a game on a night when snow was knee-deep and my opponent only needed 2. I was playing for $5, and that's all I had on me! I needed it to pay for a cab ride back to campus. Luckily, I was able to keep my $5, win another, and get a ride back to campus from my 72-year old opponent whose name was Joe Bocardo. The very next day, Joe sat me down, praised my game, and asked: "what do you plan on doing? Are you going to be an engineer or a pool player?" "Both..." I gullibly replied". "You cannot do both", he said. "You need to pick one and excel at it".

For the next couple of years, I never wasted an opportunity to play with and learn from Babe Cranfield. Occasionally, we'd walk down to the student rec. center and play for a couple of hours. In 1987, my friend, Randy Stone, won the ACU-I regional championship in Rochester, NY. He was a tremendous player, and someone I greatly admired and wanted to emulate. In 1988, the ACU-I tournament was hosted right across the border, so I couldn't go. But in 1989, luckily, it was planned to take place at my very own rec. room where I'd spent hundreds of hours practicing for the last 2 or 3 years!!! To this day, one of the greatest highlights of my life is when Babe Cranfield sat down and watched me win the quarter-final match by beating the 1988 Canadian champion 3-0. I never missed a ball, and I went on to win the event the very next day, .

One of the very last times I saw Babe before graduating, he invited me in for a cup of coffee. Before I took off, he proudly autographed one of his tournament posters, which I stupidly managed to lose since. A few years later (1997), he was inducted into the BCA Hall of Fame.

Was Babe a world champion? By all means! In 1964 (I think), he challenged Luther Lassiter, who had just won the world championship, to a 1200-point match and managed to beat him by over 400 points (I think Lassiter's final score was in the 700's). Back then, a player could challenge the sitting champion and possibly get the opportunity to "steal the belt."

I've seen Babe run a couple of hundred balls on several occasions. He was already in his mid seventies and had already undergone a triple-bipass surgery several years ago. In the early to mid 1990's, while at a tournament at the Playing Field in Richmond, VA, I asked Mike Sigel what he thought of Babe Cranfield. I don't recall Sigel's reply verbatim, but it was along the lines of "he was one of the best straight pool players ever, maybe the best." Incidentally, Babe regularly praised Mike Sigel's game whenever he came up in conversations.

Why the lack of any prominent mention of Arthur "Babe" Cranfield in pool literature? The answer is simple: When Babe became a father, he suspended his pool career and chose a different path; He became the Vice President of Sales at Musak, the background music company. Years later, he made his comeback by winning the world championship in a 1200-point match against Luther Lassiter, as I mentioned earlier. In fact, somewhere on azbilliards.com, there's a mention of a Leroy Nieman lithograph featuring Lassiter sitting in his chair, frustratingly gazing at Cranfield stretched over the pool table. I saw that very same painting hanging on one of the walls in Babe's house. (If someone comes across one like it, I'm a willing buyer.)

Arthur "Babe" Cranfield was a true gentleman by all measures. He was never a gambler or hustler. He was a true sportsman and a great role model. On our walks back from the rec. center, he'd give me great advice; "Focus on your studies," he'd say.

In 1996, I finally understood what Joe Bocardo meant when he insisted I must choose a path. So, pool suddenly took a back seat as I began focusing on building my first company. I certainly kept playing and improving my game over the years, but it no longer consumed me or superseded my priorities.

I now live in South Florida and spar on a regular basis with a great player and champion, Tom Wirth. Tom Won the 1993 Strawberry One Pocket Invitational by beating Jose Parica in the finals. He and I play a set of rotation, a game of straight pool and a set of One Pocket every time we meet at Slate Billiards in Boynton Beach. You ought to check out his newly released book on One Pocket. It's mid blowing!

Just the other day, as I was in the midst of a straight pool inning, I told Tom that I keep imagining Babe Cranfield in the back of the room looking over. When faced with a dilemna, I'd ask myself, what would Babe have done here?

Peter Ghostine
peterghostine@hotmail.com
 

AtLarge

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
My encounter with Arthur "Babe" Cranfield ...

Peter -- Thanks for posting about your connection with "Babe." We certainly don't hear enough about him.

And, from taking a peak at your background, it certainly looks like you made a good decision on which path to take in life. Now, you can just enjoy pool as an avocation.
 

jalapus logan

pool shooter
Silver Member
Thanks for taking the time to recount your story. It is an entertaining and even motivational read. I can also appreciate your prioritization (and Babe's) of life beyond our beloved pool game. Though I own two pool tables in my basement, work commitments (and the desire to remain married) keeps me from even practicing more than a couple times a week these days. Nevertheless, I enjoy playing, albeit on a level of more than a couple of balls below the great Babe Cranfield. :wink:

Cheers and best of luck,

JL
 

THE MONTREALER

THE MONTREALER
Silver Member
I just stumbled upon this forum, so I thought I'd share my story. From 1984 through 1989, I attended Syracuse University where I received my BS and MS in Electrical Engineering. Prior to attending college, I had mainly played straight rail billiards (I grew up overseas), and on occasion, pool. Syracuse University's student rec. center had just gotten six brand new 4 1/2 x 9 Gandy tables installed. Naturally, I got hooked!

One day, a buddy of mine and I decided to go to the bowling alley on Erie Blvd (it's been long gone since). We had heard they had a couple of billiard tables over there, and we wanted to play some straight rail. As soon as I walked through the door, I was taken aback by this vast field of pool tables. To the left, I quickly noticed the billiard tables and proceeded to the counter to get the balls. As my buddy and I were enjoying a game of billiards, I couldn't help but to notice an old man to the far right running around the pool table and pocketing balls like I've never seen anyone do before. He was also wearing an apron. I didn't know what game he was playing because up until then, the only pool games I've ever played were 8-ball and 15-ball rotation (aka. 61).

A couple of weeks later, I went back to that same bowling alley to play pool with a new pool playing buddy I just recently met at the rec. center. There he is again, that same old man, dissecting a rack of balls like a surgeon. "That's Babe Cranfield", my friend said; "He won the world championship in the 60's". "What game is he playing?" I asked. "Straight pool," my friend replied. From that moment on, I just couldn't keep my eyes off. I had never seen the game played at such a level. This man was running through one frame after another with great ease, never running into problems, and leaving the last ball on the table to blast open the next frame (Babe, like many old timers, always referred to a rack of balls as a "frame"). By now, he must have run 150 or 200 balls! I finally approached him, said hello, and introduced myself. To say he was cordial and a gentleman wou;d be an understatement. I couldn't help but to ask whether he'd be willing to give me some lessons. He gladly accepted.

To make a long story short, I had been renting a room on Euclid Ave. in Syracuse, a stone's throw away from the university's engineering and computer science department. Shockingly, Babe's house was literally across the street from me. I mean, maybe 200 feet from where I was living. I knew then that pool was going to be a big part of my life.

A year later, I was able to manage a 50-ball run here and there, sometimes twice on the same day. By then, I had become a frequent patron at Caps Cue Club. From what I can tell, that room, which I'll always remember as my stomping grounds, recently went out of business (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4fH9guOfPfY). I'll never forget it or the time I ran 42 balls to win a game on a night when snow was knee-deep and my opponent only needed 2. I was playing for $5, and that's all I had on me! I needed it to pay for a cab ride back to campus. Luckily, I was able to keep my $5, win another, and get a ride back to campus from my 72-year old opponent whose name was Joe Bocardo. The very next day, Joe sat me down, praised my game, and asked: "what do you plan on doing? Are you going to be an engineer or a pool player?" "Both..." I gullibly replied". "You cannot do both", he said. "You need to pick one and excel at it".

For the next couple of years, I never wasted an opportunity to play with and learn from Babe Cranfield. Occasionally, we'd walk down to the student rec. center and play for a couple of hours. In 1987, my friend, Randy Stone, won the ACU-I regional championship in Rochester, NY. He was a tremendous player, and someone I greatly admired and wanted to emulate. In 1988, the ACU-I tournament was hosted right across the border, so I couldn't go. But in 1989, luckily, it was planned to take place at my very own rec. room where I'd spent hundreds of hours practicing for the last 2 or 3 years!!! To this day, one of the greatest highlights of my life is when Babe Cranfield sat down and watched me win the quarter-final match by beating the 1988 Canadian champion 3-0. I never missed a ball, and I went on to win the event the very next day, .

One of the very last times I saw Babe before graduating, he invited me in for a cup of coffee. Before I took off, he proudly autographed one of his tournament posters, which I stupidly managed to lose since. A few years later (1997), he was inducted into the BCA Hall of Fame.

Was Babe a world champion? By all means! In 1964 (I think), he challenged Luther Lassiter, who had just won the world championship, to a 1200-point match and managed to beat him by over 400 points (I think Lassiter's final score was in the 700's). Back then, a player could challenge the sitting champion and possibly get the opportunity to "steal the belt."

I've seen Babe run a couple of hundred balls on several occasions. He was already in his mid seventies and had already undergone a triple-bipass surgery several years ago. In the early to mid 1990's, while at a tournament at the Playing Field in Richmond, VA, I asked Mike Sigel what he thought of Babe Cranfield. I don't recall Sigel's reply verbatim, but it was along the lines of "he was one of the best straight pool players ever, maybe the best." Incidentally, Babe regularly praised Mike Sigel's game whenever he came up in conversations.

Why the lack of any prominent mention of Arthur "Babe" Cranfield in pool literature? The answer is simple: When Babe became a father, he suspended his pool career and chose a different path; He became the Vice President of Sales at Musak, the background music company. Years later, he made his comeback by winning the world championship in a 1200-point match against Luther Lassiter, as I mentioned earlier. In fact, somewhere on azbilliards.com, there's a mention of a Leroy Nieman lithograph featuring Lassiter sitting in his chair, frustratingly gazing at Cranfield stretched over the pool table. I saw that very same painting hanging on one of the walls in Babe's house. (If someone comes across one like it, I'm a willing buyer.)

Arthur "Babe" Cranfield was a true gentleman by all measures. He was never a gambler or hustler. He was a true sportsman and a great role model. On our walks back from the rec. center, he'd give me great advice; "Focus on your studies," he'd say.

In 1996, I finally understood what Joe Bocardo meant when he insisted I must choose a path. So, pool suddenly took a back seat as I began focusing on building my first company. I certainly kept playing and improving my game over the years, but it no longer consumed me or superseded my priorities.

I now live in South Florida and spar on a regular basis with a great player and champion, Tom Wirth. Tom Won the 1993 Strawberry One Pocket Invitational by beating Jose Parica in the finals. He and I play a set of rotation, a game of straight pool and a set of One Pocket every time we meet at Slate Billiards in Boynton Beach. You ought to check out his newly released book on One Pocket. It's mid blowing!

Just the other day, as I was in the midst of a straight pool inning, I told Tom that I keep imagining Babe Cranfield in the back of the room looking over. When faced with a dilemna, I'd ask myself, what would Babe have done here?

Peter Ghostine
peterghostine@hotmail.com

HI You say that you beat the Canadian Champ in 1988 would you
know his name

Thanks Leonard
 
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