Babe Cranfield

measureman

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L.S. Dennis, pt109 and measureman, it's great that you are discussing Lassiter and Babe. It's important to remember what these great players accomplished. I'm in touch with one of Babe's sons, and he'll be happy to hear that you're keeping Babe Cranfield's name alive in the pool community. From talking with Babe, I knew he had tremendous respect for Luther Lassiter, and, from what I've read, the feeling was mutual. I never met Lassiter, but got to meet Irving Crane and Jimmy Caras, two other giants. Thanks again, gentlemen. - Larry Moy

View attachment 588639
The picture shows Babe(?) as a lefty?
Is this true?
Are there any videos of him in his prime?
 

wrldpro

H.RUN 311/Diamond W.R.
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I know that he is rumored to have run 768 or so in practice,

It was an exhibition not practice.No pressure was put on the BCA back then to certify the run basically because it wasnt that important and no money was to made from it. Here is the article.
 

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mikemosconi

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Anyone who can win three national titles as a Junior, amateur, and professional, then take many years away from a sport to work full time and return to beat the then current professional champion by a wide margin has to be considered an all time great- one of the best ever! Babe and Harold Worst were as good as anyone when talking about the ability to play at the highest levels of this sport.
 
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L.S. Dennis

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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.
I would have loved to have seen him play, unfortunately it sounds like he played most of his life on the east coast.
I think he was a man of high integrity, it was said that he actually called a foul on himself during some match play when not even the referee saw it. I believe he probably did run that 768 in a practice session,
 

rostym

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I searched for Babe Cranfield on YouTube and came up with a match in the Legendary Stars of Pocket Billiards (ESPN put it together) with a match between Willie Mosconi and Babe Cranfield with commentary by Alan Hopkins. I didn't see a date, but I think it's from the early 80's. Very disappointing match although both were well after their prime. I thought both of them played poorly and Babe did not win a game in sets of 7 ball and 9 ball. I guess pool was fairly new to TV at the time and Hopkins and the ESPN host both commented on how well Mosconi was playing while in fact, at least to my eyes, he was not playing well at all. Both missed easily makeable shots and Babe scratched at least 3 times I believe all on shots where he did not get enough backspin on the CB where most decent players would have had little trouble doing so. It's not the match to watch if you want to get an idea of how Babe (or Mosconi) played IMO. I'd like to hear opinions on this match if others here saw it. Is there any other video available on Babe playing, maybe 14:1?
 

alstl

AzB Silver Member
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I searched for Babe Cranfield on YouTube and came up with a match in the Legendary Stars of Pocket Billiards (ESPN put it together) with a match between Willie Mosconi and Babe Cranfield with commentary by Alan Hopkins. I didn't see a date, but I think it's from the early 80's. Very disappointing match although both were well after their prime. I thought both of them played poorly and Babe did not win a game in sets of 7 ball and 9 ball. I guess pool was fairly new to TV at the time and Hopkins and the ESPN host both commented on how well Mosconi was playing while in fact, at least to my eyes, he was not playing well at all. Both missed easily makeable shots and Babe scratched at least 3 times I believe all on shots where he did not get enough backspin on the CB where most decent players would have had little trouble doing so. It's not the match to watch if you want to get an idea of how Babe (or Mosconi) played IMO. I'd like to hear opinions on this match if others here saw it. Is there any other video available on Babe playing, maybe 14:1?
The year was 1984.
 

alstl

AzB Silver Member
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If the Wiki writeup on Luther Lassiter is accurate, this Legendary Stars of Pocket Billiards event was in January, 1982. A second such event was held the next year, but Cranfield wasn't in it that time.

There must have been more than one legends of pocket billiards tournament. I figured it was 1984 because Jimmy Moore won it in that year. Whether it was 82 or 84 Mosconi and Cranfield were past their prime.
 

AtLarge

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There must have been more than one legends of pocket billiards tournament. I figured it was 1984 because Jimmy Moore won it in that year. Whether it was 82 or 84 Mosconi and Cranfield were past their prime.
Yup. In Jan. 1982, Cranfield would have been 66 and Mosconi 68. And I'm aware that Wiki says Moore won the event in 1984 at age 74. Mosconi's autobiography, however, says that Mosconi won the event all 3 years it was played -- 1982-1984. So, as is not unusual, not all accounts of a past event agree.

Edit: And Willie's version also conflicts with the Lassiter Wiki article that says Lassiter won all his matches and the event in 1983.
 
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Bob Jewett

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Between Billiards Digest, The Scratch Sheet (early Pool & Billiard), and The National Billiard News there is a contemporaneous written record record of three-year series of Legends events.

The March/April 1982 issue of Billiards Digest lists Mosconi and Jimmy Moore as 1/2 after a double elimination tournament.

In 1983 they changed to a 7-player round robin and the May/June issue of BD lists the order of finish as
Lassiter
Puckett
Moore
Crane
Mosconi
Caras
Rudolph Wanderone

In 1984 the finish was
Moore
Pucket
Crane
Lassiter
Robert "Rags" Woods
Caras
Rudolph Wanderone

Here is the August, 1984 issue of the Scratch Sheet (click on the image to make it larger):
Scan20210618.jpg

Of course there is no Mr. Ragswood. That would be Robert "Rags" Woods.

Here is the September, 1984 National Billiard News article. There is also a 2-page photo album. Note that Pat Fleming provided Accu-Stats numbers.
Scan20210618_0002.jpg

I couldn't find any BD article on the event.
 

Cameron Smith

is kind of hungry...
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Yup. In Jan. 1982, Cranfield would have been 66 and Mosconi 68. And I'm aware that Wiki says Moore won the event in 1984 at age 74. Mosconi's autobiography, however, says that Mosconi won the event all 3 years it was played -- 1982-1984. So, as is not unusual, not all accounts of a past event agree.

Edit: And Willie's version also conflicts with the Lassiter Wiki article that says Lassiter won all his matches and the event in 1983.
That’s funny he took credit for all those wins. Maybe we need to cross reference those world championships too! Kidding of course.
 

WildWing

AzB Silver Member
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That’s funny he took credit for all those wins. Maybe we need to cross reference those world championships too! Kidding of course.
1982: Harrahs, Atlantic City, winner Willie Mosconi.
1983: Claridge, Atlantic City, winner Luther Lassiter.
1984: The Concord at Kiamesha Lake, New York, winner Jimmy Moore.

Mosconi did claim something like 15 straight titles when no tournaments were held in some of those years. Grady Mathews and Bill Staton talked about that on Accu-Stats.
 

cjr3559

AzB Silver Member
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I was in junior high school when ESPN aired these events. I never saw the first year with Kim Prince hosting, but I definitely recall the next two years with Irv Brown and Chris Berman. At the time I was only able to catch them occasionally and rarely ever saw a complete episode, and by the time the family got a VCR the series was over. I do remember always hoping for the 8-ball playoff.

These days it’s lucky to find a few matches on YouTube, but unfortunately I think most of these videos are lost forever.
 

Cameron Smith

is kind of hungry...
Silver Member
1982: Harrahs, Atlantic City, winner Willie Mosconi.
1983: Claridge, Atlantic City, winner Luther Lassiter.
1984: The Concord at Kiamesha Lake, New York, winner Jimmy Moore.

Mosconi did claim something like 15 straight titles when no tournaments were held in some of those years. Grady Mathews and Bill Staton talked about that on Accu-Stats.
Now that you mention it, I do remember them saying something about it. Danny also didn’t have a lot of nice things to say, but always stopped short of the juicy gossip, lol.
 

Bob Jewett

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1982: Harrahs, Atlantic City, winner Willie Mosconi.
1983: Claridge, Atlantic City, winner Luther Lassiter.
1984: The Concord at Kiamesha Lake, New York, winner Jimmy Moore.

Mosconi did claim something like 15 straight titles when no tournaments were held in some of those years. Grady Mathews and Bill Staton talked about that on Accu-Stats.
As was the custom in those days, some of them were from round-robin tournaments but many of them were by challenges from the highest finishers. His total of number of championship wins was 19. Here's a list that I posted previously:


Note that the first world championship Willie won was an 8-player round-robin in which each player played every other player 32 times.

This brings up the general topic of the report of some amazing event. If it is not known where it happened or who was playing, maybe it didn't happen. But if there is a complete statement of who, what, when, and where, then I think it's reasonable to conclude that it probably did. If there are contemporaneous written accounts or other records with those details, then you pretty much have to accept the claim as true.
 
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WildWing

AzB Silver Member
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As was the custom in those days, some of them were from round-robin tournaments but many of them were by challenges from the highest finishers. His total of number of championship wins was 19. Here's a list that I posted previously:


Note that the first world championship Willie won was an 8-player round-robin in which each player played every other player 32 times.

This brings up the general topic of the report of some amazing event. If it is not known where it happened or who was playing, maybe it didn't happen. But if there is a complete statement of who, what, when, and where, then I think it's reasonable to conclude that it probably did. If there are contemporaneous written accounts or other records with those details, then you pretty much have to accept the claim as true.
Great info Bob. I remember this discussion on this was between Grady Mathews and Bill Staton when Steve Mizerak was playing Mike Sigel in the U.S. Open in Chicago in 1989. It was Bill's opinion that Mosconi was the best straight pool player ever, and he cited 15 straight World Open titles. Grady sort of corrected him, and recounted that there were gaps there. Bill did admit that some matches in there were challenge matches. It was Grady's opinion that Mizerak may have been the best ever. Bill also admitted that a U.S. or world open had not been played in what he called, "some of Steve's most productive years."

I'm not sure what's absolutely correct, but it brings to mind, what constitutes a world open? A full field, announced, certainly. A gathering of a few players for a challenge match? That's a world open? That's debatable, I'll leave that to others.

Sort of reminds me of what is the record high run. What's official, and what isn't. Just as debatable.

All the best,
WW
 

Bob Jewett

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I heard from some of the oldtimers that during Mosconi's prime he could have given any player 30% of the game. That's a pretty good margin over all of the other top players. As for how he would have fared against Cranfield if Babe had been shooting pool as a job, we will never know. The same goes for players like Rood and some others who never played in tournaments.

I suspect that one thing that strengthened Mosconi's game was all the years he spent on the road doing multiple exhibitions per day. He experienced a huge variety of conditions and had to run 100 on a different table every match. Players like Cranfield and Eufemia seemed to shoot 90% of their shots in a single room and maybe even on a single table in any month.
 
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L.S. Dennis

Active member
I heard from some of the oldtimers that during Mosconi's prime he could have given any player 30% of the game. That's a pretty good margin over all of the other top players. As for how he would have fared against Cranfield if Babe had been shooting pool as a job, we will never know. The same goes for players like Rood and some others who never played in tournaments.

I suspect that one thing that strengthened Mosconi's game was all the years he spent on the road doing multiple exhibitions per day. He experienced a huge variety of conditions and had to run 100 on a different table every match. Players like Cranfield and Eufemia seemed to shoot 90% of their shots in a single room and maybe even on a single table in any month.
Jimmy Wise back when I was young and he was old maybe 65 plus used to tell me that having seen all of them that Mosconi was the best in his opinion. This must have been around 1962 or 1963. He had pool rooms all his life, I’m not sure where he and Dorothy met but he was most certainly responsible for any success she had in those early years.
 

sjm

Sweating it at Derby City
Silver Member
I heard from some of the oldtimers that during Mosconi's prime he could have given any player 30% of the game. That's a pretty good margin over all of the other top players. As for how he would have fared against Cranfield if Babe had been shooting pool as a job, we will never know. The same goes for players like Rood and some others who never played in tournaments.
I think that this is only true on the nine footer. Irving Crane would have been a significant favorite getting 45 on 150 on a ten footer, but was quick to admit that Willy was much tougher to beat on the nine footer. My source for this is Irving himself, who was always quick to point this out when anyone asked about him vs Willie.
 
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