How good was Keith McCready?

JoeyInCali

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
How was/is he entertaining? All I see are the strange stroke, stance and mannerisms.
I cant find any videos of Keith playing 10 ball or straight pool, just 9 ball and of the matches out there on youtube, none of them have any excellence in play. That might be because he is past his prime in those videos, but I think most pro`s today would run right through him.
I`m not trying to put the guy down, I just don`t see what the fuzz is about, apart from McCready having a role in The colour of money.
I dont know how old McCready is in the videos of him playing that`s on youtube and if that is way past his prime, did something change drastically? Many of the big names in the 80`s and 90`s still play pretty sporty today, look at Earl, Bustamante or Efren.

Some people PEAK EARLY. And that's even true in boxing or some other sport.
Some of them have a small "window".
Some great boxers were great before they hit 25. Washed up after that .
Keith probably had a short 5-yr window.
Let's cut to the chase, he wasn't living healthy.
I only started seeing him play around '95 at Hard Times.
He was past his prime then. Efren was giving him 9-7 and the breaks in one-pocket. They went back and forth . I saw Keith lose to One-Pocket Richard playing even after getting ahead early and he missed his out ball.
Those losses get to you. He admitted it in an interview, those are battle wounds.
I don't think he was the best of his generation b/c Sigel, Strickland, Parica, Hall and Roberts were already around then.
But, the story goes he offered anyone the 8-ball ( in Sacramento iirc ) to anyone and Wade Crane took him and got busted by Keith. This was in the 80's.
Different time , different game. He played during the days of slow cloth and generous pockets. Big cue ball on bar boxes was his specialty afaik.
He was entertaining for sure b/c he talked to the audience and he pulled shots like you wouldn't believe. I saw him shoot a combo in the middle of the table like it was nothing. Saw draw the cue ball table length and back to get in shape.


He might have gambled away a million dollars.
 
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Pushout

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
So you don't see much of Keith on video, huh? Big whoop. I, like many others here, got to see him play, not only in a major tournament, and WIN IT, but gambling also. Too bad you didn't. If you read enough about Keith on AZ and anywhere else, what you'll read is probably true. He was/is one of a kind.
 

Pushout

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I have my mental flame suit on Lou.
I know how loved Keith is on azb, my question is actually based on what I can find on youtube and while it may be unpopular to say, I don't see world class play there.
As I said, I'm not trying to put Keith down, I'm just trying to get to the heart of the question: "how good was he?"
How eager he was to gamble or how much of a risk taker he was isn't really the point here, apart from it can lead to good stories for posterity.

I don't know if this will be good or not. How many videos of Buddy Hall have you seen? Lassiter, Ronnie Allen, Varner, Mosconi, Eddie Taylor, Grady?? Have you seen world class play there?
 

ribdoner

SATISFACTION GUARANTEED
Silver Member
Some people PEAK EARLY. And that's even true in boxing or some other sport.
Some of them have a small "window".
Some great boxers were great before they hit 25. Washed up after that .
Keith probably had a short 5-yr window.
Let's cut to the chase, he wasn't living healthy.
I only started seeing him play around '95 at Hard Times.
He was past his prime then. Efren was giving him 9-7 and the breaks in one-pocket. They went back and forth . I saw Keith lose to One-Pocket Richard playing even after getting ahead early and he missed his out ball.
Those losses get to you. He admitted it in an interview, those are battle wounds.
I don't think he was the best of his generation b/c Sigel, Strickland, Parica, Hall and Roberts were already around then.
But, the story goes he offered anyone the 8-ball ( in Sacramento iirc ) to anyone and Wade Crane took him and got busted by Keith. This was in the 80's.
Different time , different game. He played during the days of slow cloth and generous pockets. Big cue ball on bar boxes was his specialty afaik.
He was entertaining for sure b/c he talked to the audience and he pulled shots like you wouldn't believe. I saw him shoot a combo in the middle of the table like it was nothing. Saw draw the cue ball table length and back to get in shape.


He might have gambled away a million dollars.

i watched Louie try him a couple of times in St Louis circa 75/76 and he COULDN'T get there, Louie didn't miss much...Keith missed less

When Sigel played his best Keith could catch lightning but he ran a little slower.

In his prime (75+- through 83ish) the only players in his zip code on a big table were Buddy (perhaps a slight fav) and perhaps Searcy.

If the initial Pinoy rape on our soil began in 85 when that Morales kid stuck up Houston it would be hard to say when/if they crossed paths with K and who was carried out on his shield

A Strickland vs Keith match-up in their prime would have been EPIC with Earl's package power prevailing (maybe)
 
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JoeyInCali

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
i watched Louie try him a couple of times in St Louis circa 75/76 and he COULDN'T get there, Louie didn't miss much...Keith missed less

When Sigel played his best Keith could catch lightning but he ran a little slower.

In his prime (75+- through 83ish) the only players in his zip code on a big table were Buddy (perhaps a slight fav) and perhaps Searcy.

If the initial Pinoy rape on our soil began in 85 when that Morales kid stuck up Houston it would be hard to say when/if they crossed paths with K and who was carried out on his shield

I thought Morales and Keith did tangle. Keith went up to the other guys and said he couldn't shake the " little Mexican ".
Efren wanted some of Keith after Parica beat Keith.

Buddy took on Morales and beat him in that same event as the story goes.

I wonder if Jay Swanson and Keith tangled up some.
 

ribdoner

SATISFACTION GUARANTEED
Silver Member
I thought Morales and Keith did tangle. Keith went up to the other guys and said he couldn't shake the " little Mexican ".
Efren wanted some of Keith after Parica beat Keith.

Buddy took on Morales and beat him in that same event as the story goes.

I wonder if Jay Swanson and Keith tangled up some.

Jay H would know if Swanny and KM got it on

Again, prime vs prime, i like K by a far piece
 

JAM

Professional Railbird
Silver Member
FWIW, Keith will be inducted into the One Pocket Hall of Fame on January 24th in Louisville at the Derby for the Lifetime Pool in Action Award. Pretty fitting award for a player like Keith, I would say.

Keith is 60 years old today. I don't think any of us at 60 years old would play as well as we did when we were in our 20s or 30s. That's a given.

I abhor these who's-the-best threads, especially when people speak about players they know nothing about, have never seen play pool in person, are not even old enough to know anything factual about the player, and then there's omission of video footage of players from days gone by. Nobody knows these players except by word of mouth and eyewitness accounts.

Folks tend to root for the hometeam, too. It's a regional thing. I have pool favorites in my neck of the woods that I claim are the best. It's because I know them, seen them, watched them, followed their pool journey in life. I know more about them than I do, say -- oh, I don't know -- Ike Runnels or Cole Dickson or Boston Shorty, all very great players.

Yes, Keith is the Stu Ungar of the pool world, and when he was performing on a field of green, he was beautiful. People gravitated towards Keith when he was playing pool because he made pool fun. Those who know him well are aware of this, including me. It was a strange era in society back then. Lots of sex, drugs, and rock and roll, as they say. I'm lucky I made it to adulthoood unscathed, truth be told, because I am Woodstock alumni.

I am proud of Keith being inducted into the Hall of Fame for the Lifetime Pool in Action Award. Wild horses and threads like this won't keep me away from that celebration.

Carry on, knockers. If it makes you feel good to kick and bash a 60-year-old pool player who only ever wanted to entertain a crowd while competing, while gambling, while playing pool, then have at him. While you're knocking down one of the most colorful players in the history of pool, the rest of us will be celebrating with Keith, allowing him to have a little dignity in the autumn of his life.
 
Last edited:

JAM

Professional Railbird
Silver Member
I thought Morales and Keith did tangle. Keith went up to the other guys and said he couldn't shake the " little Mexican ".
Efren wanted some of Keith after Parica beat Keith.

Buddy took on Morales and beat him in that same event as the story goes.

I wonder if Jay Swanson and Keith tangled up some.

Efren and Keith played many times. When Efren first came to the States, Efren's backers would not let him play Keith. It was later when Efren was here for a while that the two of them did engage in games of stake. Many times, I might add.
 

JAM

Professional Railbird
Silver Member
i watched Louie try him a couple of times in St Louis circa 75/76 and he COULDN'T get there, Louie didn't miss much...Keith missed less

When Sigel played his best Keith could catch lightning but he ran a little slower.

In his prime (75+- through 83ish) the only players in his zip code on a big table were Buddy (perhaps a slight fav) and perhaps Searcy.

If the initial Pinoy rape on our soil began in 85 when that Morales kid stuck up Houston it would be hard to say when/if they crossed paths with K and who was carried out on his shield

A Strickland vs Keith match-up in their prime would have been EPIC with Earl's package power prevailing (maybe)

Keith beat Sigel and Larry Hubbart when they came to California during Keith's prime. Larry and Mike were on the road.

Earl and Keith have played many, many times in tournaments, and interestingly, Keith is one of the few players that doesn't rattle Earl. In fact, Earl actually enjoys playing Keith. I've seen the two of them laugh and have fun when they were in the finals at tournaments. Even today, Earl and Keith remain good buds.

Photo take a couple months ago in Maryland.
 

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Dead Money

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
Keith beat Sigel and Larry Hubbart when they came to California during Keith's prime. Larry and Mike were on the road.

Earl and Keith have played many, many times in tournaments, and interestingly, Keith is one of the few players that doesn't rattle Earl. In fact, Earl actually enjoys playing Keith. I've seen the two of them laugh and have fun when they were in the finals at tournaments. Even today, Earl and Keith remain good buds.

Photo take a couple months ago in Maryland.

Couple of Legends right there!!!! :thumbup:
 

rjb1168

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
FWIW, Keith will be inducted into the One Pocket Hall of Fame on January 24th in Louisville at the Derby for the Lifetime Pool in Action Award. Pretty fitting award for a player like Keith, I would say.

Keith is 60 years old today. I don't think any of us at 60 years old would play as well as we did when we were in our 20s or 30s. That's a given.

I abhor these who's-the-best threads, especially when people speak about players they know nothing about, have never seen play pool in person, are not even old enough to know anything factual about the player, and then there's omission of video footage of players from days gone by. Nobody knows these players except by word of mouth and eyewitness accounts.

Folks tend to root for the hometeam, too. It's a regional thing. I have pool favorites in my neck of the woods that I claim are the best. It's because I know them, seen them, watched them, followed their pool journey in life. I know more about them than I do, say -- oh, I don't know -- Ike Runnels or Cole Dickson or Boston Shorty, all very great players.

Yes, Keith is the Stu Ungar of the pool world, and when he was performing on a field of green, he was beautiful. People gravitated towards Keith when he was playing pool because he made pool fun. Those who know him well are aware of this, including me. It was a strange era in society back then. Lots of sex, drugs, and rock and roll, as they say. I'm lucky I made it to adulthoood unscathed, truth be told, because I am Woodstock alumni.

I am proud of Keith being inducted into the Hall of Fame for the Lifetime Pool in Action Award. Wild horses and threads like this won't keep me away from that celebration.

Carry on, knockers. If it makes you feel good to kick and bash a 60-year-old pool player who only ever wanted to entertain a crowd while competing, while gambling, while playing pool, then have at him. While you're knocking down one of the most colorful players in the history of pool, the rest of us will be celebrating with Keith, allowing him to have a little dignity in the autumn of his life.

Jam,
Don't let these haters get under your skin. They should be offering congratulations to Keith on his induction that's coming at the derby. Non of them would dare challenge him when he was 20 years old. Congratulations Keith, you deserve it.
Wishing you the best,
Ray
 

Kim Bye

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Some people PEAK EARLY. And that's even true in boxing or some other sport.
Some of them have a small "window".
Some great boxers were great before they hit 25. Washed up after that .
Keith probably had a short 5-yr window.
Let's cut to the chase, he wasn't living healthy.
I only started seeing him play around '95 at Hard Times.
He was past his prime then. Efren was giving him 9-7 and the breaks in one-pocket. They went back and forth . I saw Keith lose to One-Pocket Richard playing even after getting ahead early and he missed his out ball.
Those losses get to you. He admitted it in an interview, those are battle wounds.
I don't think he was the best of his generation b/c Sigel, Strickland, Parica, Hall and Roberts were already around then.
But, the story goes he offered anyone the 8-ball ( in Sacramento iirc ) to anyone and Wade Crane took him and got busted by Keith. This was in the 80's.
Different time , different game. He played during the days of slow cloth and generous pockets. Big cue ball on bar boxes was his specialty afaik.
He was entertaining for sure b/c he talked to the audience and he pulled shots like you wouldn't believe. I saw him shoot a combo in the middle of the table like it was nothing. Saw draw the cue ball table length and back to get in shape.


He might have gambled away a million dollars.

Thanks Joey, always nice to get more of the backstory :)
 

Kim Bye

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I respect your posts on cue building, but I would guess you've never seen Keith play in person, in his prime. In that era, it took a lot to take him down, maybe a Strickland. He shot fast, had a lot of energy, and didn't miss. But I think you had to be an adult in the 80s, to understand. Not meant as a gotcha, but there is a bit of a generation gap here.

All the best,
WW

Thanks WW that's what I expected, I'm 41, so Keith had his hayday a bit before my time.
 

Kim Bye

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I don't know if this will be good or not. How many videos of Buddy Hall have you seen? Lassiter, Ronnie Allen, Varner, Mosconi, Eddie Taylor, Grady?? Have you seen world class play there?

It's not a huge archive of any of the players you mention on youtube and the ones that can be found, the quality is quite poor, so it's not always easy to get a picture of the capabilities of a certain player. But looking at the videos that's out there, it's clear that pool has changed quite a bit.
 

Kim Bye

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Keith played all games and could gamble high without losing his cool. He had a ton of heart as he'd sometimes give up the nuts to make a game and overcome the game to prevail. By the time I met him in 1982/83 most of the top players in California were terrified to put up their own cheese to play him. He was entertaining because he would make funny comments or observations whether playing or not. Was told by many including Grady that when Keith was a teenager he was taking off the Payball game over at Vern Petersen's place in Bellflower--and that game always had great players rotating in and out. On the bar box with big cue ball very few wanted to tangle with him. It was the Mexican players that gave him the nickname "Evil" which is what some of us would call him then. As a teen Keith went into Detroit with a colorful and no nonsense backer "Charlie the Ape." Probably during summer break from school. I didn't know Keith then but I had heard about him from friends that went to the Rack a lot at that time (that's where I'm from) and witnessed some of his action. Of course their were others across the country who were at or slightly above Keith's level depending on the game and time. Again Keith gambled at most games. Time and young people's poor choices take their toll on most of us. Really glad to hear Keith is doing well these days with a different relationship to pool. Helfert would have the best overall assessment of Keith's skills in relation to others, IMO. There is no doubt at all though...Keith McCready was a great player. Oh, I've never met anyone in this game that didn't book some losers.

Thanks Martin, I always enjoy your posts :)
 

tonyboy59

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Keith beat Sigel and Larry Hubbart when they came to California during Keith's prime. Larry and Mike were on the road.

Earl and Keith have played many, many times in tournaments, and interestingly, Keith is one of the few players that doesn't rattle Earl. In fact, Earl actually enjoys playing Keith. I've seen the two of them laugh and have fun when they were in the finals at tournaments. Even today, Earl and Keith remain good buds.

Photo take a couple months ago in Maryland.

JAM two of my favorite players (Earl and Keith) right there...I bet if we were able to turn back the hands of time say 40 years or so today's players would have their hands full with these two. Congrats to Keith for his induction...he deserves it and more.
 

sonny_burnett

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Keith beat Sigel and Larry Hubbart when they came to California during Keith's prime. Larry and Mike were on the road.

Earl and Keith have played many, many times in tournaments, and interestingly, Keith is one of the few players that doesn't rattle Earl. In fact, Earl actually enjoys playing Keith. I've seen the two of them laugh and have fun when they were in the finals at tournaments. Even today, Earl and Keith remain good buds.

Photo take a couple months ago in Maryland.

Time to lighten things up. Who's got the most hair? Can't tell for the hat, but it looks like Earl needs a ball.
 

cardiac kid

Super Senior Member
Silver Member
Keith beat Sigel and Larry Hubbart when they came to California during Keith's prime. Larry and Mike were on the road.

Earl and Keith have played many, many times in tournaments, and interestingly, Keith is one of the few players that doesn't rattle Earl. In fact, Earl actually enjoys playing Keith. I've seen the two of them laugh and have fun when they were in the finals at tournaments. Even today, Earl and Keith remain good buds.

Photo take a couple months ago in Maryland.

Jen,

Love the photo. Reminds me of when Keith and Earl played in the finals of the $5000 added Joss stop here in Rochester at the old Classic Billiards. The two of them put on quite a show. Too bad Kim Bye was not here to watch. Sure would have received an eyeful (and an earful as well!). As Keith's tee shirt says "Money Player", it will always be his legacy. Champion might be more correct.

Lyn
 
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