How good was Keith McCready?

JAM

Professional Railbird
Silver Member
That shot was taken at SBE in Valley Forge. I would say 2003 or 2004. I have a similar shot (not sure who took this one).


Eric

Good eye, good memory, good man! Hope you are doing well, Eric. Long time no read or see! Maybe 2018, we'll cross paths and enjoy a few pool chuckles on the rail! :smiling-heart:
 

LAMas

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
View attachment 479570

The man standing to the right of Keith....that’s Mario Morra...Johnny’s father.
He’s a man of few words...plays pretty good for the dough...he looks like he can’t believe

how talkative Keith is....Keith probably says more in one day than Mario has said
in his whole lifetime...:)

McCready deals excitement.
Johnny dresses better than his dad. :wink:
 

Neil

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.

I'll try and answer your questions without getting too long. Nah...that ain't going to happen...it will get long. But I think you will understand better.

I'm sure you have seen videos of deathball and the likes of him before. Lots of constant banter going on, and all watching like they are seeing a train wreck. They are appalled by the antics, but can't stop watching.

Well, Keith was exactly the opposite in some parts. While Keith wasn't constant banter, he was far from silent, and you never knew when he was going to say something. Keith's banter was very rarely used to put down his opponent. Instead, it was used to talk to the balls as if they could hear him and should be obeying him, or to laugh at himself, or just some funny quip.

Odds are, when Keith spoke, the audience would be laughing. You never knew what he would come up with, and his timing and delivery were worthy of a great comedian. People were always watching to hear what he would say next. He'd even have his opponents laughing.

As far as Keith's actual play goes....greatness can almost be used as an oxymoron. More fitting might be the phrase "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times."

We all know roughly how to match up with others. Most peoples game is fairly consistent. Everyone one also has an "A" game that will peak out at you for a little while that you have to allow for. But, we also know pretty much what their "A" game consist of and can allow for it.

Keith was not "most people". He was very unique in several ways. Any books on positive thinking should have his picture on the cover. Where you and I learn to play the odds on shots over time, that never applied to Keith. His motto was "If that ball is makeable, I can make it and I'm shooting it." He never learned the consequences of missing. He did learn the consequences of belief. He never saw a makeable shot that he didn't like.

With a normal style of play, that is, playing the odds on any given shot, there is naturally a limit on performance. You will never take on the tough shots if there is an easier safe to play. And it is easy to make the argument of that is the correct way to play. The standard, so to speak.

Keith is your non-standard issue model. He is the model that breaks the "rules" and still manages to get the job done. With Keith's style and attitude, there actually are no limits on what can be achieved.

If one can even say that Keith had an average game, it would probably be somewhere around mid to upper level pro. Problem is, you could never say he was having an average day, let alone an average period of time. His game probably fluctuated more than any of the other big names.

If Keith got his "mixture" right, there was NO limit on what he might do to you. And, by mixture, I don't mean it in the usual sense of drugs and booze that was so prevalent, many relied on, and Keith imbibed in also. (I don't know if he used drugs or not, but it was so prevalent at the time that he may have) Rather, by mixture, I mean the complete synergy between mind and body. For him to picture it happening was the same as it actually happening.

Because of that, Keith's high game was higher than anyone else's. And by a noticeable difference. It had no limit as to how high it went, nor to how long it might last. It might last an hour, or it might last days or even weeks.

How does one go about matching up with someone that you know has a gear waiting in the wings that you have trouble even imagining? How does that not put fear in one's heart when thinking of playing him?

Was Keith beatable? Sure he was. He got his butt handed to him a number of times. His "mixture" wasn't always on. Heck, he probably had days like you and me where he couldn't pocket the cb with ball in hand. lol But, for several decades there, he was one scary dude to play. Playing him was truly a gamble because you never knew which Keith was going to show up, nor how long he would last. But, in that time frame, the great Keith was there often enough to put fear in everyone.

Now, I may be all wet on this part, but I don't think I am. Keith's game changed forever when the realities of life kicked in. In his prime, he lived for the action. Whether on the pool table, or something else. He lived moment by moment. He was rich today, broke tomorrow.

Money was nothing more than a tool he needed to do what he so loved doing. Then, life hit him smack dab in the face. He was taught, by his now other half, and by others, that money is more than just a tool for pool, poker, and other fun things. Essentially, he grew up. Along with that, came the inevitable fear of losing. I believe that became the death toll of the great Keither with the ether. His top game became harder and harder to achieve until it became almost impossible to achieve anymore. You can't play without fear and have fear of losing and what losing will cost you. You either have total belief in yourself, or you don't. There really is no middle ground. The belief that there is a middle ground is only an illusion we tell ourselves to feel better.

In summary, Keith's high game showed us all what is possible. Even when we didn't believe what we were seeing. He achieved what no other did, with the arguable exception of Mosconi. But, Keith also kept everyone laughing while doing it.
 

Kim Bye

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I'll try and answer your questions without getting too long. Nah...that ain't going to happen...it will get long. But I think you will understand better.

I'm sure you have seen videos of deathball and the likes of him before. Lots of constant banter going on, and all watching like they are seeing a train wreck. They are appalled by the antics, but can't stop watching.

Well, Keith was exactly the opposite in some parts. While Keith wasn't constant banter, he was far from silent, and you never knew when he was going to say something. Keith's banter was very rarely used to put down his opponent. Instead, it was used to talk to the balls as if they could hear him and should be obeying him, or to laugh at himself, or just some funny quip.

Odds are, when Keith spoke, the audience would be laughing. You never knew what he would come up with, and his timing and delivery were worthy of a great comedian. People were always watching to hear what he would say next. He'd even have his opponents laughing.

As far as Keith's actual play goes....greatness can almost be used as an oxymoron. More fitting might be the phrase "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times."

We all know roughly how to match up with others. Most peoples game is fairly consistent. Everyone one also has an "A" game that will peak out at you for a little while that you have to allow for. But, we also know pretty much what their "A" game consist of and can allow for it.

Keith was not "most people". He was very unique in several ways. Any books on positive thinking should have his picture on the cover. Where you and I learn to play the odds on shots over time, that never applied to Keith. His motto was "If that ball is makeable, I can make it and I'm shooting it." He never learned the consequences of missing. He did learn the consequences of belief. He never saw a makeable shot that he didn't like.

With a normal style of play, that is, playing the odds on any given shot, there is naturally a limit on performance. You will never take on the tough shots if there is an easier safe to play. And it is easy to make the argument of that is the correct way to play. The standard, so to speak.

Keith is your non-standard issue model. He is the model that breaks the "rules" and still manages to get the job done. With Keith's style and attitude, there actually are no limits on what can be achieved.

If one can even say that Keith had an average game, it would probably be somewhere around mid to upper level pro. Problem is, you could never say he was having an average day, let alone an average period of time. His game probably fluctuated more than any of the other big names.

If Keith got his "mixture" right, there was NO limit on what he might do to you. And, by mixture, I don't mean it in the usual sense of drugs and booze that was so prevalent, many relied on, and Keith imbibed in also. (I don't know if he used drugs or not, but it was so prevalent at the time that he may have) Rather, by mixture, I mean the complete synergy between mind and body. For him to picture it happening was the same as it actually happening.

Because of that, Keith's high game was higher than anyone else's. And by a noticeable difference. It had no limit as to how high it went, nor to how long it might last. It might last an hour, or it might last days or even weeks.

How does one go about matching up with someone that you know has a gear waiting in the wings that you have trouble even imagining? How does that not put fear in one's heart when thinking of playing him?

Was Keith beatable? Sure he was. He got his butt handed to him a number of times. His "mixture" wasn't always on. Heck, he probably had days like you and me where he couldn't pocket the cb with ball in hand. lol But, for several decades there, he was one scary dude to play. Playing him was truly a gamble because you never knew which Keith was going to show up, nor how long he would last. But, in that time frame, the great Keith was there often enough to put fear in everyone.

Now, I may be all wet on this part, but I don't think I am. Keith's game changed forever when the realities of life kicked in. In his prime, he lived for the action. Whether on the pool table, or something else. He lived moment by moment. He was rich today, broke tomorrow.

Money was nothing more than a tool he needed to do what he so loved doing. Then, life hit him smack dab in the face. He was taught, by his now other half, and by others, that money is more than just a tool for pool, poker, and other fun things. Essentially, he grew up. Along with that, came the inevitable fear of losing. I believe that became the death toll of the great Keither with the ether. His top game became harder and harder to achieve until it became almost impossible to achieve anymore. You can't play without fear and have fear of losing and what losing will cost you. You either have total belief in yourself, or you don't. There really is no middle ground. The belief that there is a middle ground is only an illusion we tell ourselves to feel better.

In summary, Keith's high game showed us all what is possible. Even when we didn't believe what we were seeing. He achieved what no other did, with the arguable exception of Mosconi. But, Keith also kept everyone laughing while doing it.
Thanks Neil, that seems like a plausible description of the man.
This is of course pure speculation, but where would you rank him, compared to the top players today?
 

Neil

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Thanks Neil, that seems like a plausible description of the man.
This is of course pure speculation, but where would you rank him, compared to the top players today?

Well. it was actually a different game on different conditions, so it makes it hard to do a direct comparison.

That said, I would put his top gear right up their with today's elites, and maybe even a little higher. Look at Shaw today. He makes shots that impress others, and because of those makes, gets to continue at the table and maybe put a package down. Shaw reminds me of Keith, but is not quite yet Keith. Keith would have today's backers having heart attacks with the shots he went for and made.

Look at this way- Earl is still very competitive with today's elites. They might edge him out over numerous long races. But, Earl is no longer in his prime. I put Earl and Keith as a toss-up except for tournament short races in their primes. With Keith having the best of bartable any size cb.
 

smashmouth

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Keith was a prince and a phenom

the haters here would have you believe that if you're not named Michael Jordan you couldn't play basketball

lol, sport much losers? yes that means you Kim Bye with the girls name that your parents couldn't figure out

ha ha
 

BmoreMoney

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
The very first time I met Keith was between '03-'06 at the infamous Tuesday night tourney at the old Champions Laurel. I know there's at least a handful of posters in this thread that will remember that tournament and the caliber of players that were in it, week in week out. Every week you had pros, more road players than you could shake a stick at, plenty of regional Champs etc etc! Of course on any given day anyone can win a race to 9; BUT, IMHO there were only two players really that Keith may have had to worry about. They were Mike Davis and Danny Green. Truth be told Keith was probably the favorite over both of them at the time but all three play " JAM " ( see what I did there Jammy 😊) UP!!! I'd also go as far to say imo on any ( and really every ) week Keith was even money against the field. Keith and I were between rounds in the tourney, I walked over to introduce myself and told him I was a fan. I actually asked if he would play a few with me while we were waiting on our next matches to keep loose. He said sure so we did for a bit . I immediately liked Keith as even though he was famous and shot lights out pool he was very down to Earth and just as nice and friendly as can be. We all know how some Champions can be if they don't know you but it was nothing like that with Keith and that impressed me as much if not more than how good he plays.

Keith, CONGRATS on your induction buddy ! !! You truly deserve it and I'm so happy both both of yall!

PS - Jammy, if your travel is still up in the air hit me up. Ttyl☺
 

one stroke

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
The very first time I met Keith was between '03-'06 at the infamous Tuesday night tourney at the old Champions Laurel. I know there's at least a handful of posters in this thread that will remember that tournament and the caliber of players that were in it, week in week out. Every week you had pros, more road players than you could shake a stick at, plenty of regional Champs etc etc! Of course on any given day anyone can win a race to 9; BUT, IMHO there were only two players really that Keith may have had to worry about. They were Mike Davis and Danny Green. Truth be told Keith was probably the favorite over both of them at the time but all three play " JAM " ( see what I did there Jammy 😊) UP!!! I'd also go as far to say imo on any ( and really every ) week Keith was even money against the field. Keith and I were between rounds in the tourney, I walked over to introduce myself and told him I was a fan. I actually asked if he would play a few with me while we were waiting on our next matches to keep loose. He said sure so we did for a bit . I immediately liked Keith as even though he was famous and shot lights out pool he was very down to Earth and just as nice and friendly as can be. We all know how some Champions can be if they don't know you but it was nothing like that with Keith and that impressed me as much if not more than how good he plays.

Keith, CONGRATS on your induction buddy ! !! You truly deserve it and I'm so happy both both of yall!

PS - Jammy, if your travel is still up in the air hit me up. Ttyl☺
that tourney was actually moved there from USA billiards that Jen knows very well Geese being a routine winner there , the list of players there with the Boggs brothers Danny Green , Tom Tom , Reggie Barksdale , Bobby Hawk as the regulars and a slew of pro's was in part what started Danny Green to start the planet pool tour , aside from that it was Monday at champions in Silver Spring Tuesdays in Laurel and Wed at Orange Ball in Rockville , boy those were the days ,,

1
 

one stroke

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
So since its Keith's thread here is a quick story , playing at champions at silver spring I win a couple matches and next is Keith I walk over and said its me and you he said ok I'm going to smoke a quick cigarette and ill be right there I said no hurry the match might not take that long , I think I got 2 shots , I said nice shooting he says well a little lucky and I said ya with a lot of natural ability he smiled and said well there is that and laughs . priceless!!!!


1
 

Neil

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Well. it was actually a different game on different conditions, so it makes it hard to do a direct comparison.

That said, I would put his top gear right up their with today's elites, and maybe even a little higher. Look at Shaw today. He makes shots that impress others, and because of those makes, gets to continue at the table and maybe put a package down. Shaw reminds me of Keith, but is not quite yet Keith. Keith would have today's backers having heart attacks with the shots he went for and made.

Look at this way- Earl is still very competitive with today's elites. They might edge him out over numerous long races. But, Earl is no longer in his prime. I put Earl and Keith as a toss-up except for tournament short races in their primes. With Keith having the best of bartable any size cb.

I'll add some to that. Keith was not really a tournament player. Now, don't get me wrong there, he won some and cashed in a lot. But, his forte was not one chance short races. Where he excelled was money games. Where you play and play and then play some more.

That gave him time for his scary high gear to kick in. Some would call that a deficit in his game, and they might be right. I look it as a marathon runner vs. a sprinter. They each have their own niche.
 

Pushout

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
It was 1985 Keith won the BC Open 9 Ball Tournament. I saw him playing Grady One Pocket in the practice room and I didn't even know Keith PLAYED One Pocket! I don't remember who won now but I remember Keith banking balls from all over at about 100 mph and keeping a running commentary with the rail at the same time.
 

Taxi

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
The very first time I met Keith was between '03-'06 at the infamous Tuesday night tourney at the old Champions Laurel. I know there's at least a handful of posters in this thread that will remember that tournament and the caliber of players that were in it, week in week out. Every week you had pros, more road players than you could shake a stick at, plenty of regional Champs etc etc! Of course on any given day anyone can win a race to 9; BUT, IMHO there were only two players really that Keith may have had to worry about. They were Mike Davis and Danny Green. Truth be told Keith was probably the favorite over both of them at the time but all three play " JAM " ( see what I did there Jammy 😊) UP!!! I'd also go as far to say imo on any ( and really every ) week Keith was even money against the field. Keith and I were between rounds in the tourney, I walked over to introduce myself and told him I was a fan. I actually asked if he would play a few with me while we were waiting on our next matches to keep loose. He said sure so we did for a bit . I immediately liked Keith as even though he was famous and shot lights out pool he was very down to Earth and just as nice and friendly as can be. We all know how some Champions can be if they don't know you but it was nothing like that with Keith and that impressed me as much if not more than how good he plays.

Keith, CONGRATS on your induction buddy ! !! You truly deserve it and I'm so happy both both of yall!

PS - Jammy, if your travel is still up in the air hit me up. Ttyl☺

For a couple of years at the same time, Keith also used to play in an even better tournament at Orange Ball in Rockville. I remember one week where Keith, Mike Davis, Manny Chau, Scott Tollefson, Ryan McCreesh, Brandon Shuff, Brian Deska and Danny Green all showed up, and I think Keith wound up taking it down. That wasn't as good an action room as USA or Champions in Laurel, but for about 5 or 6 years I can't remember a better weekly tournament field.

Now all we need to do is to get all those studs together for a ring game on a 5 x 10, or a payball ring game on a snooker table. And then let Denny Searcy rise from the grave to play the survivor.
 

Black-Balled

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
that tourney was actually moved there from USA billiards that Jen knows very well Geese being a routine winner there , the list of players there with the Boggs brothers Danny Green , Tom Tom , Reggie Barksdale , Bobby Hawk as the regulars and a slew of pro's was in part what started Danny Green to start the planet pool tour , aside from that it was Monday at champions in Silver Spring Tuesdays in Laurel and Wed at Orange Ball in Rockville , boy those were the days ,,

1

Yeah, I played 4-6 events a week and it kept me from getting a real job for quite a while. And I am not referring to just the income either!:boring2:
 

Black-Balled

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
where I got walterized the only time we played you out foxed me 9-8 dam u lol planet pool



1

Eh...sorry bout that. That's a small club you are in.

I can also remember playing hammerbacher there and was really whooping him- every time he shot, shit came out worse for him than the time before...it was brutal pool gods shit- I am on a the hill and shoot the 8 where I stop it in its tracks against the 9- he stands up and looks at me, says 'you're a ****ing asshole'.

Fast forward a decade and he is doing commentary on a match I am playing and I swear his voice was 2x louder when I was shooting than when my opponent shot, and he was just saying things I had to look out for. It was brutal! I think I lost 9 to -3.

Karma's a *****!:D. Good times.
 
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