Keith Thompson has to be the ultimate story about a player coming out of nowhere and beating the best players and then disappearing. I was not at JC that year so I never saw him play. The report I got back then (from Ronnie) was that he was the seven ball under the top 9-Ball players, a really good shortstop. But he just got hot at the right time and took it all down. The fact that he pretty much driopped off the pool map afterwards is what made it so mysterious. Why would a guy quit just like that when he was on top of the pool world. I never did get the answer to that one.
After him, the next best player who dropped off the map at a young age has to be Mark Beilfuss from Michigan. As a teenager he was already beating the best Straight Pool players in the country and winning just about everything in sight in Michigan, when there were a lot of good players around (Dallas West, Jeff Carter, Bob Hunter, etc.). I think his absence had something to do with substance abuse though.
Many other very good players quit young, but after they had already made a name for themselves on the national scene. Michael Coltrain had already established himself as one of the very best players when he quit the game due to his tremors, and Jon Kucharo was a top ten player when he went off the deep end. It was particularly sad about Jon because he had always followed the straight and narrow, and when he succumbed to temptation it came as a total surprise to most of us.
Sadly Chan Witt and Brendan Crockett died young in car accidents and there was one other young up and coming champ that I believe died as a pedestrian, Adam somethng? And finally we lost Tony Ellin at the peak of his game, also a victim of an auto accident.
I matched up with Ronnie even one hole for 50 a game when I was 16.5 yrs old at LeCue club in Houston, beat him 6 in a row he played one handed I played two handed. He called me a hub cap stealing fffing punk! Bahaha
Myself and my friend Bobby Taylor were finishing beating a small poolroom for 6-7 hundred when Ronnie entered the poolroom and came straight back to the domino table where Bobby and I were sitting, he had daggers in his eyes looking at both of us and we walked with the money bahaha
I was 17 then, now at 18 we were playing for the All Around world title and he lost 10-12k of his backers money on our final match of nine ball against the most battle hardened 18 yr old that ever walked the planet in a race to 11. I blew Ronnie away with 5 straight racks from opening bell and he cussed me in front of a packed house numerous times until the Ref threatened a forfeit!
Played Buddy Hall even nine ball for 25 a game 2 months after Johnston City in Pasadena Tx on a 4.5 by 9 gold crown and broke even with him. I don’t believe a short stop could play Buddy Hall even 9 ball for 3-4 hrs?
I heard for yrs thru friends, grapevine, etc that Ronnie claimed I played over my head, got lucky, etc. he should have said I was terrific it would make him look better bahaha
I wouldn’t tell everybody a short stop beat me for the world title!
Buddy Hall is still living and might catch him at Buffalo Billiards at the big tourney going on their. Call a friend their or the owner and ask Buddy if we ever played and you’ll get the truth about my game.
Ronnie Allen didn’t admit I could play for 40 yrs until my friend Denny Glen hugged his neck for Me and Ronnie said “that kid sure could Play”.
I Miss Him!