Rafael Martinez.....??

garczar

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Anybody seen him lately? Last i heard he was up in the Pacific NW area. Just curious if he's still at it. Like watching this guy play. Crazy ability.
 

jay helfert

Shoot Pool, not people
Gold Member
Silver Member
Anybody seen him lately? Last i heard he was up in the Pacific NW area. Just curious if he's still at it. Like watching this guy play. Crazy ability.

Rafael's been dead and resurrected about three times now. He might be getting a little long in the tooth for hustling big time pool. He may be making the bar table circuit somewhere, and that's still very prominent in the Northwest.

He was certainly something to see in his prime, an amazing shot maker and fearless gambler. For his sake I hope he's shacked up somewhere with a girl who has a good job, enjoying a life of leisure. Rafael always had a fondness for the ladies of all ilks.

Last time I spent with him was at the U.S. Open about seven or eight years ago. I staked him in the tourney and in action around the Norfolk area. We drove all over the place in his old camper van looking for action and played in a few sketchy bars. He beat one loud mouthed braggart out of about 500 and didn't back down when the guy got in his face. I asked Rafael what he would have done if push came to shove and he smiled and showed me his knife (it was big!). You may not be aware of this but Rafael stabbed a belligerent pool player who was twice his size one time in Chicago when he felt threatened. He went to jail briefly but no one ever messed with him again.

By the way Rafael finished something like 17-24th in the tournament and we got back $2,000. He beat a couple of good players along the way. It had cost me well over a thousand to put him in and pay our expenses (500 entry fee and another 500 for the room and food). I split the money with him anyway, giving him a 1,000 and he was a happy camper. He took me to the airport and I haven't seen or heard from him since.
 
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Brookeland Bill

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Rafael's been dead and resurrected about three times now. He might be getting a little long in the tooth for hustling big time pool. He may be making the bar table circuit somewhere, and that's still very prominent in the Northwest.

He was certainly something to see in his prime, an amazing shot maker and fearless gambler. For his sake I hope he's shacked up somewhere with a girl who has a good job, enjoying a life of leisure. Rafael always had a fondness for the ladies of all ilks.

Last time I spent with him was at the U.S. Open about seven or eight years ago. I staked him in the tourney and in action around the Norfolk area. We drove all over the place in his old camper van looking for action and played in a few sketchy bars. He beat one loud mouthed braggart out of about 500 and didn't back down when the guy got in his face. I asked Rafael what he would have done if push came to shove and he smiled and showed me his knife (it was big!). You may not be aware of this but Rafael stabbed a belligerent pool player who was twice his size one time in Chicago when he felt threatened. He went to jail briefly but no one ever messed with him again.

By the way Rafael finished something like 17-24th in the tournament and we got back $2,000. He beat a couple of good players along the way. It had cost me well over a thousand to put him in and pay our expenses (500 entry fee and another 500 for the room and food). I split the money with him anyway, giving him a 1,000 and he was a happy camper. He took me to the airport and I haven't seen or heard from him since.

As Duffy once told me at Bananas, “A road player has a used car, pinky ring and custom cue and is liable to sell one or all 3 at anytime for cash.”
 

garczar

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I just found some vids of him playing Bautista down in Mexico from '18 so i guess he's still at it. When he was in Tulsa in '10 for Gabe Owens' 1p event(he finished 2nd btw) i steered him to a couple good spots to eat.Turned out one was owned by a guy from his hometown and Rafael ate there everyday of the tournament. Rafael grew up playing 3c and his creativity is off the charts. Fearless shooter too. At Derby in '07 he flat-out crucified Corey Duel back in the gambling room at the old ExecutiveWest.
 

HomeBrewer

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Rafael's been dead and resurrected about three times now. He might be getting a little long in the tooth for hustling big time pool. He may be making the bar table circuit somewhere, and that's still very prominent in the Northwest.

He was certainly something to see in his prime, an amazing shot maker and fearless gambler. For his sake I hope he's shacked up somewhere with a girl who has a good job, enjoying a life of leisure. Rafael always had a fondness for the ladies of all ilks.

Last time I spent with him was at the U.S. Open about seven or eight years ago. I staked him in the tourney and in action around the Norfolk area. We drove all over the place in his old camper van looking for action and played in a few sketchy bars. He beat one loud mouthed braggart out of about 500 and didn't back down when the guy got in his face. I asked Rafael what he would have done if push came to shove and he smiled and showed me his knife (it was big!). You may not be aware of this but Rafael stabbed a belligerent pool player who was twice his size one time in Chicago when he felt threatened. He went to jail briefly but no one ever messed with him again.

By the way Rafael finished something like 17-24th in the tournament and we got back $2,000. He beat a couple of good players along the way. It had cost me well over a thousand to put him in and pay our expenses (500 entry fee and another 500 for the room and food). I split the money with him anyway, giving him a 1,000 and he was a happy camper. He took me to the airport and I haven't seen or heard from him since.


Something about it -- I friggin' love hearing all these war stories.
 

ghost ball

justnum survivor
Silver Member
I remember back in the late 90's when Rafael tried to sneak into the local pool hall in Chico CA to drum up some action. He was quickly identified and subsequently gave up looking for a game and just wanted to party (asking for fun party enhancers). Seemed like a fun guy. Dressed too suavey for Chico. haha
 

pvc lou

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
...We drove all over the place in his old camper van looking for action ...

I rode in the back of another one of Rafa's vans... around 7-8 years ago to cross houston to play in a tournament on the north side. I had to sit on a spare tire with his tools strewn all over the back...there were no back seats. Manuel Ayala got the front seat (seniority). Rafael has a lead foot.

I hope he's well.
 

garczar

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I rode in the back of another one of Rafa's vans... around 7-8 years ago to cross houston to play in a tournament on the north side. I had to sit on a spare tire with his tools strewn all over the back...there were no back seats. Manuel Ayala got the front seat (seniority). Rafael has a lead foot.

I hope he's well.
Found another video from last year in Mexico. He looked fine to me.
 

PoolBum

Ace in the side.
Silver Member
Rafael let me hit some balls one time with his cue. His shaft was the thinnest, most dinged-up shaft I've ever played with.
 

pwd72s

recreational banger
Silver Member
Saw him play in a tourney held at the now gone Q street billiards in Springfield, Oregon..early 90's...maybe '93? Overheard the locals talking about another guy there..."He beat Raphael??? Damn, who IS this guy?"

It was Rodney Morris..
 

King T

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
He's doing fine

He's doing fine. He is in Mexico not far from the border of Texas. There are a few other pool players from Houston there too. He is still playing at a VERY HIGH level,

I was told by a mutual friend that he was working on getting back state side, but was having some paper work issues.
 

terryhanna

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Anybody seen him lately? Last i heard he was up in the Pacific NW area. Just curious if he's still at it. Like watching this guy play. Crazy ability.
I heard he's in Mexico and can't get the right Visa papers to get back in the States.

I saw he was playing in some events in some of the S American countries not long ago.
 
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evergruven

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Saw him play in a tourney held at the now gone Q street billiards in Springfield, Oregon..early 90's...maybe '93? Overheard the locals talking about another guy there..."He beat Raphael??? Damn, who IS this guy?"

It was Rodney Morris..

nice..there's a good vid out there of them two playing 1hole

not long ago a cuemaker up here was tellin me about a guy breezed thru
"didn't miss A BALL..not ONE BALL"
said his name was rafael something
I dug in, came back later to ask if his last name was martinez
"that's him, that's the guy!"
"played JAM UP..."
 

jay helfert

Shoot Pool, not people
Gold Member
Silver Member
Rafael let me hit some balls one time with his cue. His shaft was the thinnest, most dinged-up shaft I've ever played with.

And I'll bet there was virtually no tip on it. Rafael preferred to play with the tip worn all the way down to the ferrule. Craziest thing I ever saw. The tip looked like a pimple on the end of his cue. And he played like God with it that way!
 

DTL

SP 219
Silver Member
Two memories of Rafael:

1) US Open, early 2000's. Very early that week he became very sick. Barry B. knew I was in medicine (Navy at the time) and asked if I could look at him. I was moonlighting some nights and weekends at a local urgent care center at that time and hooked him up with one of the docs I worked with. He was subsequently admitted to the hospital with a very serious parasitic infection of his liver......treated and recovered, but missed the Open.

2) Derby City Classic, Executive Inn days. We drew each other in the 9-ball and I squeaked out the win. I finished 11th that year, my best showing in a major tournament.

Awesome player. Fearless.
 

JAM

Pool and Snooker Railbird
Silver Member
I met Rafael Martinez at the tournament where I first met Keith. It was at the Capital City Classic held at the Ramada Inn in Maryland. Rafael invited Keith and me to his room to hang out for a bit. He had a boombox in there, and he asked me, "Do you want to hear some good music?" I said sure. He played this Mexican song, a sad-sounding song, and he started singing. He got a little emotional about the song and tears ran down his face as he sang the words. To me, he was a very gentle soul at that moment. Didn't talk much, as I recall.

We would run into him at other events, and he was always very pleasant to me. :smile:
 
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GaryB

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Rafael's been dead and resurrected about three times now. He might be getting a little long in the tooth for hustling big time pool. He may be making the bar table circuit somewhere, and that's still very prominent in the Northwest.

He was certainly something to see in his prime, an amazing shot maker and fearless gambler. For his sake I hope he's shacked up somewhere with a girl who has a good job, enjoying a life of leisure. Rafael always had a fondness for the ladies of all ilks.

Last time I spent with him was at the U.S. Open about seven or eight years ago. I staked him in the tourney and in action around the Norfolk area. We drove all over the place in his old camper van looking for action and played in a few sketchy bars. He beat one loud mouthed braggart out of about 500 and didn't back down when the guy got in his face. I asked Rafael what he would have done if push came to shove and he smiled and showed me his knife (it was big!). You may not be aware of this but Rafael stabbed a belligerent pool player who was twice his size one time in Chicago when he felt threatened. He went to jail briefly but no one ever messed with him again.

By the way Rafael finished something like 17-24th in the tournament and we got back $2,000. He beat a couple of good players along the way. It had cost me well over a thousand to put him in and pay our expenses (500 entry fee and another 500 for the room and food). I split the money with him anyway, giving him a 1,000 and he was a happy camper. He took me to the airport and I haven't seen or heard from him since.

Jay, your comment about bar tables jogged my memory. Sitting at the bar at the old Copper Door with Archie when a Japanese guy sidled up to Archie and started a quiet conversation. A few minutes later I looked over my shoulder and there stood Raphael. When they left a few minutes later I asked Archie what that was all about and he said "The guy wanted to know if there was any action in there tonight?" There wasn't so Archie sent them down to Anaheim St as it just after Navy payday. Found out the next day that Raphael took down the mgr and bartender of a joint on Anaheim for $1200. The guy he took down played in the So.Calif Cocktail Lounge League and was a real braggart by the name of Cody. Couldn't have happened to a more deserving guy.
 
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