Best Black Players Of All Time

crawfish

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Hey, it's not been ten or twelve years ago that I walked into a "black poolroom in Eastern NC." and was asked to leave. I asked for directions to the white poolroom and they sent me to the airport. Rascist? I found it funny.
 
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JAM

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Neil said:
How good did John Henry play in his day? Iv'e played him a little, but when he was in W. Mich. he didn't want to play unless there was some huge 'gimmick' to the game.

I miss seeing John Henry in the pool room. Yes, he always had a few tricks up his sleeve, and I enjoyed his company many a night when I worked graveyard shift in the pool room. :D

He also enjoyed playing pool and would step up to the plate for games of stake, usually one-hole. :)

Here's a picture of a me when I had a full mane, posing with the late Seattle Sam on the left and John Henry on the right! Whenever John Henry stepped into the pool room, he always put a smile on my face. He could bark with the best of 'em, too! ;)

JAM
 

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JAM

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
crawfish said:
Hey, it's not been ten or twelve years ago that I walked into a "black poolroom in Eastern NC." and was asked to leave. I asked for directions to the white poolroom and they sent me to the airport. Rascist? I found it funny.

Heck, I remember a pool room in Petersburg, Virginia, which had a big sign in the front: "NO WOMEN ALLOWED."

That was all I needed to see. I picked up my pool case and walked right on in the front door. Nobody said a word to me, and nobody would play me either! :eek:

JAM
 

jay helfert

Shoot Pool, not people
Gold Member
Silver Member
tpdtom said:
Last night, and the night before, I was playing with and talking to John McHenry (John Henry), the pool room owner/player/backer from Chicago who took Leonard "Bugs" Rucker on the road in the 60s and later. John owned the room on the South side of Chicago where Bugs learned to play. Javanely "Youngblood" Washington held forth there for many years and even had a sign on the wall about being the best pool player in the world, and the best bank pool player EVER. Bugs always feared him and couldn't play well against him. John said that while Bugs was a fabulous shotmaker, especially off the rail in One-Pocket or Banks, that Youngblood had perfect cueball control and moves that could make you talk to yourself ! He took on all comers, and beat many a Champion there, and spotted them all I believe. Sadly, Youngblood was a bit insane !

Anyway, I never saw Blood play, but I saw Bugs, Edgar White, and many others at "The Rack" in Oak Park Michigan back in the 70s and early 80s. Freddy and Grady probably saw more but IMHO, Marvin Henderson when sober was the best player with the best stroke by far that I EVER saw, bar none, black or white or purple;) . Well, maybe when he was half-sober, 'cause I don't think he was ever completely sober! I still have never seen a better player...Tom

I never saw Youngblood play either. Too bad. But I did see Marvin play many times and got to hang around and be his pal. He liked to smoke some
"stuff" too as he called it. And we did and would laugh and giggle while we sat in the poolroom, watching the scufflers.

He had by far the most beautiful stroke imaginable. I totally agree with you on that. No one today looks half as good as Marvelous Marv. Eddie Kelly had the second best stroke and he wasn't nearly as pretty or as fluid. I wish Marvin's stroke was on film somewhere. It belongs in the archives of sport.

And the other top players back then gave Marvin a wide berth. Kelly, Jersey Red, Shorty and Ervolino all fequented the poolroom that Marvin called home in L.A. Ye Billiard Den in Hollywood. None of them appeared anxious in any way to engage Marvin. And Marvin was always ready to play! Only Ronnie ever came in there and took on Marvin. And that was the only time I ever saw Ronnie lose even at One Pocket.

I felt bad when he moved back East, and then I heard he got in a bad car accident. I had moved to Bakersfield, got married and was running a poolroom up there. So I never saw him again. I had a lot of fun hanging around with Marvin. He took me to the black poolrooms in L.A. back in the 60's. After that, when I went to those places, everyone treated me with respect, because I was Marvin's friend. Marvin was special.
 

crawfish

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Hey Jam

JAM said:
Heck, I remember a pool room in Petersburg, Virginia, which had a big sign in the front: "NO WOMEN ALLOWED."

That was all I needed to see. I picked up my pool case and walked right on in the front door. Nobody said a word to me, and nobody would play me either! :eek:

JAM
Your pm box is full. I have a question for you and Keith. Pm me.
 

JAM

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
crawfish said:
Your pm box is full. I have a question for you and Keith. Pm me.

I cleared it! :p

I found the article I was looking for about Edgar White a/k/a "Shake and Bake," which appeared in the January 1981 edition of The National Billiard News. Here's some interesting tidbits from the article:

"Shake and Bake" proved to be no chicken when it came to 9-ball. Wearing a short-sleeved blue knit shirt with dark blue letters spelling out the phrase "Shake 'n Bake" emblazoned above the pocket, Edgar White of Detroit walked away with the biggest prize in the second annual World 9-ball Pro-Am last week.

The affable White, sporting a goatee and a smile seemingly as wide as the expanse of the Grand Canyon, defeated "Little Al" Romero of Torrance, California, for $15,500...held at the Tropicana Hotel in Las Vegas.

"A friend of mine, he's deceased now, gave me that nickname about 15 years ago, and it stuck...I was in Arlington, Virginia, in a money game, and I couldn't make a ball. My friend jumped up and yelled out, 'C'mon, shake and bake.' It got me back in stroke, and I ended up winning."

He was machine-like in his precision as he roared back from a 3-0 first set deficit to defeat Romero. White was eight balls from losing the first set, and then performed a complete reversal to capture eight succsesive games and the championship. "I played very, very steady. I played the best I've ever played," White said candidly following the match. "Every time I needed to get out, I got out. Do you know that Al was a 5-1 favorite?," White asked, referring to the betting odds prior to the start of the finals.

There are times in any sporting event that it seems one player has an aura around him that identifies him early on as a winner. Edgar became the audience favorite as he very deftly carved his way through a tournament which saw the likes of players Louis Roberts, Richie Ambrose, Mike Massey, Ed Kelly, Al Romero, Lou Butera, Ronnie Allen, Larry Hubbart, Jim Rempe, Dan Louie, Jimmy Reid, and Mike Sigel. With an infecuous smile and an adominatable spirit, Edgar seemed to be walking two feet off the floor through the three-day event which began on December 1, 1980.


Shake and Bake made the front cover of The National Billiard News, as depicted below. :)

JAM
 

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Cornerman

Cue Author...Sometimes
Gold Member
Silver Member
ShootingArts said:
Cornerman said:
The answer is "just because." And that's that. With this country's history of ill-treatment of blacks, highlighting their achievement should never be questioned. Questioning why is, IMO, an insult.


This is the part of your post I considered silly. The only thing these people questioned was why a separate list for black players, definitely not an insult to ask the question. Walt gave a perfectly reasonable answer, also not an insult. For you to feel that the questions, Bval's in particular since you replied to it, were insulting struck me as silly and reflecting on you, not the people posting the question.

Let me get this straight. You're first asking if I forgot a smiley. You mock my post by implying "liberal white guilt." Then, you quote something I clearly wrote as in my opinion. And then you say it reflects on me? Is that about right?

I think you've got better things to do than grasp at those straws. Of course it reflects on me. I said it was my opinion. And, for you to say it's not an insult, that's YOUR opinion. And that reflects on you.

Fred <~~~~ Exactly how I'm supposed to empathize with white liberal guilt is beyond me.
 
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jay helfert

Shoot Pool, not people
Gold Member
Silver Member
JAM said:
I cleared it! :p

I found the article I was looking for about Edgar White a/k/a "Shake and Bake," which appeared in the January 1981 edition of The National Billiard News. Here's some interesting tidbits from the article:

"Shake and Bake" proved to be no chicken when it came to 9-ball. Wearing a short-sleeved blue knit shirt with dark blue letters spelling out the phrase "Shake 'n Bake" emblazoned above the pocket, Edgar White of Detroit walked away with the biggest prize in the second annual World 9-ball Pro-Am last week.

The affable White, sporting a goatee and a smile seemingly as wide as the expanse of the Grand Canyon, defeated "Little Al" Romero of Torrance, California, for $15,500...held at the Tropicana Hotel in Las Vegas.

"A friend of mine, he's deceased now, gave me that nickname about 15 years ago, and it stuck...I was in Arlington, Virginia, in a money game, and I couldn't make a ball. My friend jumped up and yelled out, 'C'mon, shake and bake.' It got me back in stroke, and I ended up winning."

He was machine-like in his precision as he roared back from a 3-0 first set deficit to defeat Romero. White was eight balls from losing the first set, and then performed a complete reversal to capture eight succsesive games and the championship. "I played very, very steady. I played the best I've ever played," White said candidly following the match. "Every time I needed to get out, I got out. Do you know that Al was a 5-1 favorite?," White asked, referring to the betting odds prior to the start of the finals.

There are times in any sporting event that it seems one player has an aura around him that identifies him early on as a winner. Edgar became the audience favorite as he very deftly carved his way through a tournament which saw the likes of players Louis Roberts, Richie Ambrose, Mike Massey, Ed Kelly, Al Romero, Lou Butera, Ronnie Allen, Larry Hubbart, Jim Rempe, Dan Louie, Jimmy Reid, and Mike Sigel. With an infecuous smile and an adominatable spirit, Edgar seemed to be walking two feet off the floor through the three-day event which began on December 1, 1980.


Shake and Bake made the front cover of The National Billiard News, as depicted below. :)

JAM

Just look at that smile. Thanks Jam.

By the way, that's Ken Brett, the baseball player with Mike Battle, who co-promoted the event with Richie.
 

poolshark52

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
great player from buffalo

back in the 60s through the early 80s there was a really good i hole player from buffalo we always knew as just crazy jerry. he beat every one around at 1pocket and played 9ball well too. he even ran 100 on me playing straight pool! he could pick up a house cue and play like it was a rambow. the thing about jerry was he had to be high to play good. and the more stoned he got the better he played! it was amazing to watch.
 

Heyalex40

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Brett

jay helfert said:
By the way, that's Ken Brett, the baseball player.

I was just looking at that picture and thought that it was Ken's brother, Hall of Famer, George Brett. I guess I was not off by far. Jay, where was this tournament? I know the Brett's grew up in El Sugundo.
 

ShaneS

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I really like Mark Tadd. I see him at the pool hall from time to time. I don't think he plays very much at all anymore, but he could still spot me huge amounts of weight. I bet you if he put in the time he did back in the day, we would be looking at a world beater again. Now he practices for like 30 mins. a few times a week, that's all; and he could still beat anyone within a 500 mile radius of SLC.

Every time he's around, I seem to play lights out. He came into the pool hall one night and while waiting to get a table was glancing over at my friend and I playing a few tables away. In the short time it took Mark to get a table, I probably ran at least 3 racks of 9'er on a very tight diamond 9 footer taken from the Pro Billiards Tour. I don't know if he was actually watching or not, but it felt like he was; and I felt pretty good about it.

Another time at the Utah Open a few weeks later Mark was playing his match right next to mine. There were a lot of people watching my match because I was playing on the end table next to all the "sweaters". Anyways, the guy I was playing rolled a pretty effective safety on me. At the point in the game, on pretty wide open table, all I could do is hope to kick at it and roll pretty tough, otherwise I was done for. So, I got up and shot a four rail kick that seemed to be the only shot I had on bar box with heavy traffic. It goes the distance, bumps the one ball and rolls into the deadest safety ever. Mark, getting up to his table for his shot looks over and says, "that's a really strong move!" I then take ball in hand and finish off the rack. It was one of those innings you could easily retire off of, and I thought about it. Needless to say, that didn't happen. But, it was that good.

I didn't do that well in the tourney, but I did go home feeling good after that compliment; because, lets face it, Mark's the Tiger Woods of pool. Everyone wishes they had the stroke he does. That fast and loose style of pool; that's where it's at.:cool:

It seems to be pretty popular to hate on some of the good players these days-- a few guys on this forum are definitely guilty of that. However, it's pretty easy to knock someone who won't play for the cash anymore. Whether Mark decided to stop playing for $ because some moral or religious appeal is really none or our business. But, I can guarantee you that if Mark started playing for $ again, all the haters would be grabbing their azzes and running for the hills.

-Shane
 

jay helfert

Shoot Pool, not people
Gold Member
Silver Member
Heyalex40 said:
I was just looking at that picture and thought that it was Ken's brother, Hall of Famer, George Brett. I guess I was not off by far. Jay, where was this tournament? I know the Brett's grew up in El Sugundo.


It was held at the Tropicana Casino in Vegas.
 

Matt_24

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Walt Frazier said:
I know their was a thread similar to this once before;I just thought I'd add my 2 cents..

Btw,these guys are the best I have seen with my own two eyes..I've heard about Marvin Henderson,Youngblood,Cannonball etc..but I can't include them because I have never seen any of them play..So with that in mind here goes!

1.Bugs Rucker--without a doubt! One of the most feared money-players of all time ..Black or white! ..He played super strong and left many a talented pool player busted and disgusted.I watched him play many times and I found it strange that he'd shoot with his chalk still in his hand (left hand)..Bugs is a leftie..One of the greatest players to ever pick up a cue.

2.Mark Tadd--Maybe the most talented black player I have ever seen..It's too bad (for pool) that he quit in his prime..he was fearless!

3.Cliff Joyner--Cliff may be one of the top 10 best over-all players in the world today..he plays all games at a high level but most notably One-Pocket..He is considered the second best in the world in 1P.

4.Gabby--I never knew his real name..but I knew that he shot straighter than Wyatt Earp! It's a shame, what happened to him..I wish I had his talent..Gabby could REALLY play! R.I.P.

5.Cecil Tugwell--I saw Cecil play in the late 80's early 90's 1P in Cali and man........He was something else! Cecil was a character but could play with anybody in those days..I heard he has fallen on hard times over the past 15 years or so..

6.Strawberry Brooks--I honestly thought strawberry played better 1hole than Cecil but I think Cecil is the better Over-all player..Strawberry is a legend in Baltimore and in Philly..

7.Bus-driver Ronnie from D.C.--Plays really good speed..strong player..capable of putting multiple racks together.

8.Patch Eye Basheer--Moves like a ghost..He can frustrate his opponent like no other..patch-eye will have you talking to yourself!

9.Joey Barnes--Dallas Player..plays pretty sporty but can be very treacherous..can get out from anywhere..

10.Eddie Brown--Call me a homer if you want to but for years this guy was the strongest player in the state of Louisiana;save for maybe Scotty..But Eddie has beaten Reed Pierce when Reed was in his prime(taking the seven) Grady Mathews,Ronnie Wiseman,and the list goes on and on..
He was never a champion;but in his prime,he played the eight under a champion..

Hon.mention:1)Ace Brown from Utah--Super strong player that no one knows anything about outside of Utah 'cause he does'nt like to travel..I could sneak Ace in several rooms and literally clean up! Ace is a monster!
2)Ike Runnels from Chicago--Solid player,plays all games good..He may have a stronger game than a few of the players on my list but because I have'nt seen too much of him I must put him in the H.M.

I practiced straight pool with Bus Driver Ronnie once several years ago. I opened with a run of 26 and played safe. He ran 100 and asked if I wanted him to keep going (in a smart ass way, which was funny). Monster player whether, black, white, red, yellow, orange, purple, etc. Had a cool Black Boar cue.

And...I don't care what anyone says. T-Bone out of D.C. has one of the most beautiful strokes I've ever seen in my life. Kind of reminds me of the MIZ.
 
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manwon

"WARLOCK 1"
Silver Member
James Evans anyone have a photo of him??

Jame Evans may be the most enigmatic figure of all. James was Ciscero Murphy's teacher, and was said to have been the best Black Player in the country through the 1940's into the 1950's. It is also said that he could have competed and won against the best in the Country if it had not been for the Racial problems of that time.

Apparently there are no clear photo's of this great player. In 25 years of collecting billiards memorabilia, I have only seen one photo of James, and he was stepping out of a dark door way.

If anyone has anymore information or any photo's of James Evans please post them!!!!

Thanks in advance and have a good day!!!!!!
 
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JoeyA

Efren's Mini-Tourn BACKER
Silver Member
Mike Shamos

manwon said:
Jame Evans may the most enigmatic figure of all. James was Ciscero Murphy's teacher, and was said to have been the best Black Player in the country through the 1940's into the 1950's. It is also said that he could have competed and won against the best in the Country if it had not been for the Racial problems of that time.

Apparently there are no clear photo's of this great player. In 25 years of collecting billiards memorabilia, I have only seen one photo of James, and he was stepping out of a dark door way.

If anyone has anymore information or any photo's of James Evans please post them!!!!

Thanks in advance and have a good day!!!!!!

I don't know if Mike Shamos's offer is still good but he owns the Billiard Archive, probably the largest collection of billiard related items in the world and for a Ten Dollar donation you can ask him to provide information on virtually any billiard related item and he will conjure it up from the Billiard Archive. At least that's what it says in Robert Byrne's book. If he can't provide information on the item you requested, your ten dollars is refunded.
JoeyA
 

manwon

"WARLOCK 1"
Silver Member
JoeyA said:
I don't know if Mike Shamos's offer is still good but he owns the Billiard Archive, probably the largest collection of billiard related items in the world and for a Ten Dollar donation you can ask him to provide information on virtually any billiard related item and he will conjure it up from the Billiard Archive. At least that's what it says in Robert Byrne's book. If he can't provide information on the item you requested, your ten dollars is refunded.
JoeyA

Thanks for the information Joey, I will check it out!!!!

Have a good night!!!
 
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