Best Player that Quit Early on

Secondbest

New member
Although this is not the greatest story for one-pocket fans, the one I love most is after Mika won the World Championship. At the time, Mika was dating Helen Chiang who was a good friend of Peck's when Peck owned City Hall Billiards in lower Manhattan.

Well, after Mika won, Helen suggested to him that they go to Long Island to visit Peck. Peck just opened a new room out there and as I stated in my previous post, never played in any tournaments. Mika must have been surprised by such a notion. Here he was, the World Champion of 9-ball and his girlfriend thought it would impress her if he went to a little room in Long Island to play the room-owner.

Well, Mika obliged and the following day, we called Peck to get a report. The conversation went something like this:

"Hey Peck, how'd you do?"
"Wow, that kid is amazing!"
"How'd you do?"
"He doesn't miss a ball!"
"How'd you do?"
"Oh well, all we played was one-pocket."
"How'd you do?"
"He won a game."
"Wait, what? I don't understand. What was the race? How long did you play?"
"We played all night. I think he only won one game. Yeah, that kid is amazing! Never missed a shot!!"


Now, I know you're immediately going to remind me that Mika is not regarded as a one-pocket player and at that time, he really was just learning how to play the game. However, he was still World Champion at 9-ball and had run 15 balls in one-pocket at Corner Billiards. No matter, it is my favorite story about Peck.
Richard just moved to Saint Augustine Florida and plays at the Anastasia Billiard Room. I have known Richard for a very long time and cannot even come close to his skills at one pocket.
 

Secondbest

New member
Although this is not the greatest story for one-pocket fans, the one I love most is after Mika won the World Championship. At the time, Mika was dating Helen Chiang who was a good friend of Peck's when Peck owned City Hall Billiards in lower Manhattan.

Well, after Mika won, Helen suggested to him that they go to Long Island to visit Peck. Peck just opened a new room out there and as I stated in my previous post, never played in any tournaments. Mika must have been surprised by such a notion. Here he was, the World Champion of 9-ball and his girlfriend thought it would impress her if he went to a little room in Long Island to play the room-owner.

Well, Mika obliged and the following day, we called Peck to get a report. The conversation went something like this:

"Hey Peck, how'd you do?"
"Wow, that kid is amazing!"
"How'd you do?"
"He doesn't miss a ball!"
"How'd you do?"
"Oh well, all we played was one-pocket."
"How'd you do?"
"He won a game."
"Wait, what? I don't understand. What was the race? How long did you play?"
"We played all night. I think he only won one game. Yeah, that kid is amazing! Never missed a shot!!"


Now, I know you're immediately going to remind me that Mika is not regarded as a one-pocket player and at that time, he really was just learning how to play the game. However, he was still World Champion at 9-ball and had run 15 balls in one-pocket at Corner Billiards. No matter, it is my favorite story about Peck.
 

Secondbest

New member
Although this is not the greatest story for one-pocket fans, the one I love most is after Mika won the World Championship. At the time, Mika was dating Helen Chiang who was a good friend of Peck's when Peck owned City Hall Billiards in lower Manhattan.

Well, after Mika won, Helen suggested to him that they go to Long Island to visit Peck. Peck just opened a new room out there and as I stated in my previous post, never played in any tournaments. Mika must have been surprised by such a notion. Here he was, the World Champion of 9-ball and his girlfriend thought it would impress her if he went to a little room in Long Island to play the room-owner.

Well, Mika obliged and the following day, we called Peck to get a report. The conversation went something like this:

"Hey Peck, how'd you do?"
"Wow, that kid is amazing!"
"How'd you do?"
"He doesn't miss a ball!"
"How'd you do?"
"Oh well, all we played was one-pocket."
"How'd you do?"
"He won a game."
"Wait, what? I don't understand. What was the race? How long did you play?"
"We played all night. I think he only won one game. Yeah, that kid is amazing! Never missed a shot!!"


Now, I know you're immediately going to remind me that Mika is not regarded as a one-pocket player and at that time, he really was just learning how to play the game. However, he was still World Champion at 9-ball and had run 15 balls in one-pocket at Corner Billiards. No matter, it is my favorite story about Peck.
Richard just moved to Saint Augustine Florida and plays at the Anastasia Billiard Room. I have known Richard for a very long time and cannot even come close to his skills at one pocket.
 

ChrisinNC

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Pete Margo comes to mind, I know there were a few others that went to bettin on the horses and card playing. But Margo made it big I heard in Video or DVD's, something along that line.
Jean Balukus was another, tho she has a pool room in NY that keeps her busy. There was another player out the the Quad City area, forgot his name, was a good golfer also, but a great gambler

Didn’t Mike Sigel retire from tournament competition around 40?
 

jay helfert

Shoot Pool, not people
Gold Member
Silver Member
Richie Florence

Did anyone mention Richie Florence ?
Richie quit playing to become a tournament promoter when he was in his late 30's. He produced all the big Caesars events in the early to mid 1980's. He tried to come back as a player after seeing Parica dominate everyone he played at Hard Times in the late 1980's and early 90's. Richie wanted to beat him. Just as he was rounding back into form he had a debilitating stroke. He was never the same after that and did not play any more pool. He died over fifteen years ago, the victim of a second stroke.
 

Tommy-D

World's best B player...
Silver Member
In modern terms,the Tito kid I brought up back then,and still bring up when comparing up and comers was a legit 700+ Fargo in somewhere between 3 and 4 full years. He was no bullshit making a living at 10 and 20 dollars a pop beating the 10 ball ghost on a 9ft GC at Magoo's AND the Billiard Palace in Tulsa back then.

Comparing players is dicey,but for example while I intend no disrespect to Hunter Lombardo,who is a 740-something,but Tito would have flat smoked him. Some of you remember Bobby Pickle as a player,he was in range speed wise. Larry Nevel's approximate as far as stroke talent. Tommy D.
 

jjohnson

Registered
1970 Johnston City winners:

One-pocket: Ronnie Allen
Nine ball: Keith Thompson
Straight pool: Luther Lassiter
All-Around: Keith Thompson
Let me add, Keith came in 2nd in one pocket and first in 9 ball. this gave him the all around. I saw Keith once, Cole Dickson came in off the road in Fremont California. He arrived in an old faded VW beetle. It had a large dent in the front right fender. Said they hit a deer somewhere between Houston and Fremont. Yep. Cole was with Keith. I figure Cole was a couple of years older than Keith. So that would have made Keith about 17. this would have been around 1970. Cole had shoulder length straight blond hair and Keith had shoulder length straight brown hair. I Cole was just running balls like they were sitting ducks. He finally cleared the table. Keith was leaning back against the next table behind the foot of the table Cole had been on. His cue was propped up against the table next to him. Cole grabbed the cue ball and set it up against the middle of the rail at the head of the table then grabbed the 8 ball and placed it against the middle of the rail at the foot of the table. Cole says, "Squirrel, make this shot." Keith pushed himself off the table and in one motion swung his arm out and grabbed his cue and again what seemed like one continuous motion proceeded to the head of the table. All very smooth. no hesitation. Graceful. Keith comes around the table and gets down on the rail. He strokes up once and I watched the cue pass over the cue ball on the center of the head rail. then he shout. Mind you this was all one motion from the moment he pushed himself off the pool table he had been leaning on. Smoother than silk the 8 ball on the middle of the foot rail crawled across right along the rail and into the right corner pocket. The cue ball remained on the table. I only saw Keith Thompson shoot that one shot in my entire life. I have a few more things to recall but my laptop battery is going out. Can't even edit this post.
 

jay helfert

Shoot Pool, not people
Gold Member
Silver Member
Let me add, Keith came in 2nd in one pocket and first in 9 ball. this gave him the all around. I saw Keith once, Cole Dickson came in off the road in Fremont California. He arrived in an old faded VW beetle. It had a large dent in the front right fender. Said they hit a deer somewhere between Houston and Fremont. Yep. Cole was with Keith. I figure Cole was a couple of years older than Keith. So that would have made Keith about 17. this would have been around 1970. Cole had shoulder length straight blond hair and Keith had shoulder length straight brown hair. I Cole was just running balls like they were sitting ducks. He finally cleared the table. Keith was leaning back against the next table behind the foot of the table Cole had been on. His cue was propped up against the table next to him. Cole grabbed the cue ball and set it up against the middle of the rail at the head of the table then grabbed the 8 ball and placed it against the middle of the rail at the foot of the table. Cole says, "Squirrel, make this shot." Keith pushed himself off the table and in one motion swung his arm out and grabbed his cue and again what seemed like one continuous motion proceeded to the head of the table. All very smooth. no hesitation. Graceful. Keith comes around the table and gets down on the rail. He strokes up once and I watched the cue pass over the cue ball on the center of the head rail. then he shout. Mind you this was all one motion from the moment he pushed himself off the pool table he had been leaning on. Smoother than silk the 8 ball on the middle of the foot rail crawled across right along the rail and into the right corner pocket. The cue ball remained on the table. I only saw Keith Thompson shoot that one shot in my entire life. I have a few more things to recall but my laptop battery is going out. Can't even edit this post.
Great story, thanks. One small correction though. Keith had to win a shoot out between him and Ronnie and Lassiter to win the All Around bonus money. They played matches in all three games and Keith won more matches than the other two did. I'm pretty sure Keith went 4 and 2, winning two out of three matches against each of them.

It was kind of a mystery what became of Keith. I do know he quit playing for one reason or another.
 

Island Drive

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
The SIU Carbondale IL hippie chicks loved Keith who had long hair. He dressed sharp and wore a western brushed leather jacket with leather tassels trimming out the arm seams. They swarmed over him as much as the fat man. And like Jay mentioned...the shootout. There were 3 disciplines, one each week. If you won two of em then there was NO playoff, but if you won One of the three there was a playoff, sometimes between 3 players.
 

jjohnson

Registered
Let me add, Keith came in 2nd in one pocket and first in 9 ball. this gave him the all around. I saw Keith once, Cole Dickson came in off the road in Fremont California. He arrived in an old faded VW beetle. It had a large dent in the front right fender. Said they hit a deer somewhere between Houston and Fremont. Yep. Cole was with Keith. I figure Cole was a couple of years older than Keith. So that would have made Keith about 17. this would have been around 1970. Cole had shoulder length straight blond hair and Keith had shoulder length straight brown hair. I Cole was just running balls like they were sitting ducks. He finally cleared the table. Keith was leaning back against the next table behind the foot of the table Cole had been on. His cue was propped up against the table next to him. Cole grabbed the cue ball and set it up against the middle of the rail at the head of the table then grabbed the 8 ball and placed it against the middle of the rail at the foot of the table. Cole says, "Squirrel, make this shot." Keith pushed himself off the table and in one motion swung his arm out and grabbed his cue and again what seemed like one continuous motion proceeded to the head of the table. All very smooth. no hesitation. Graceful. Keith comes around the table and gets down on the rail. He strokes up once and I watched the cue pass over the cue ball on the center of the head rail. then he shout. Mind you this was all one motion from the moment he pushed himself off the pool table he had been leaning on. Smoother than silk the 8 ball on the middle of the foot rail crawled across right along the rail and into the right corner pocket. The cue ball remained on the table. I only saw Keith Thompson shoot that one shot in my entire life. I have a few more things to recall but my laptop battery is going out. Can't even edit this post.
Come to think about it I can see it now, the dent was in the front left fender. I never forgot that shot but I never knew Keith's name except for Cole calling him "Squirrel." I would ask everyone I met who it might be. They all knew THE Squirrel but this was a kid Cole called Squirrel. Then in Hard Times. Bellflower, I forget exactly how it came down or who told me but finally I found out. Can you believe that at the time I thought about it and added up the years and I had been trying to find out who this Squirrel was: it had been 34 years. That shot to me was so fantastic, not just the shot but the way he attacked it. So smooth confident one-stroke up and in it went. I forget who told me but I remember thanking him repeatedly. What a sensational relief.

There was a tournament at Hard Times and the aluminum bleachers were set up on the raised area where tables and chairs are usually placed for eats and drinks and for watching the big screen TV. I was sitting on a middle step and below me was Jose Parica. He was telling me how to correctly pronounce Dennis Ocollo's name. (I think its spelling has changed over time.) I mentioned Keith's shot. And right away one of the the Filipinos nearby blurted out, "A Filipino can make that shot!"

Let me call this to your attention: when I saw Cole with Keith I was a kid, too. Probably 16 years old. Maybe even the same age as Keith.

I only met one person who claimed to know of Keith Thompson's whereabouts and that was many years ago. I didn't question his veracity but he told me Keith became a preacher.

I've got access to a pool book and there is a picture of Keith. He looks like the seasoned road hustler. Nothing like who I once saw. Mature and grungy and hungry and he is even wearing that brown leather coat. I'll get it and try to post it here.
 

jjohnson

Registered
Keith "Little Squirrel" Thompson

It's going to take some of you old scuffs to remember this name but today in Houston, TX they still remember the name, Keith "Little Squirrel" Thompson. Keith at the ripe age of 17 won the one pocket division and all around at one of, if not the, last Johnston City tournament. Quit playing all together shortly afterwards. A great loss to the game.
You look familiar. Were you ever a regular at Hard Times Bellflower? Because if you were I know you have a tale to tell about Cole and Ritchie Florence.
 

bbb

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
here is a thread started by Ross Keith Thompson about the all around from onepocket.org
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