The Legendary Pearl to Take On 14.1 Attempts

measureman

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Well shoot — everybody waxing eloquent about their memories of seeing Willie Mosconi play, here’s mine:

Yes, I can remember it as if it were yesterday (insert flashback music).

I think I got interested in pool right around 1968 or '69. A friend and I went to a bowling alley with his dad and mom one weekend and while they bowled, we discovered the pool room that was part of the bowling alley. My family lived in San Francisco, down by the Cow Palace, and bowling alleys with pool rooms in them were a pretty common setup back then around there. In fact, just a short walk away from our house was Castle Lanes, where very early on in life I learned courtesy of a summer bowling league that I had absolutely no talent for that game.

But occasionally I'd wander into the pool room there. It had perhaps nine or so Brunswicks and I'd watch all these old guys bat the balls around. They seemed to favor some odd game where it only mattered if you made a ball in one particular pocket, or perhaps the other. I wouldn't decipher what they doing until much later on in life... Not long after my buddy and I became proud owners of our very own personal pool cues, I learned that Willie Mosconi would be making his annual appearance at Castle Lanes.

This was huge.

I had watched "The Hustler" several times by now and knew the lore. So the day of the exhibition I get out of school early and zoom down to Castle Lanes to get a front row seat. They had recovered the front table and all the regulars already had their favored perches secured. Nonetheless, I squeezed in. Then Willie Mosconi walked into the pool room, nattily dressed in a sports coat and tie. He came into the room with a box of balls and a luggage-style cue case. His hair was pure white then and he had this very elegant, tailored look about him. To warm up, he racked all fifteen balls, separated the head ball and set up a break shot off to the left of the rack. The break shot he seemed to favor was a little steeper than I would have thought comfortable but it certainly didn't slow him up.

He run off two racks and was done ready to play his opponent, 150 points of 14.1. Over the next few years I was to see him play four times and depending on whom he was playing, he'd often kick into the back of the stack and play the head ball two rails into the side, just to give his opponent the chance at a running start. He'd always run at least a 100 and I saw him go 150 and out twice. If he had missed somewhere along the way and got out running a 50 or something like that, he'd turn to the crowd and ask, "Would you like to see a 100 ball run?" And we'd all go, "Well, yes." And he'd keep shooting and always get the 100. Then he'd shoot some trick shots, including some pretty nifty masses, and then hang around and talk and sign autographs. (It's the only autograph I have ever asked for in my life.).

Mosconi made running 100 look so simple every person in the room left convinced they could do the same, but of course we could not and now, years removed and having seen most of the great players of today I can tell you, without a doubt, *no one* made the game look so easy. His play, patterns, position, shot making, stroke, and just the way he moved around the table — sometimes walking backwards to get to the next shot faster — was so pure you left knowing you were seeing the greatest of all time.

Perhaps the last time I saw him was towards the late 70s, like maybe 1976, at an appearance in downtown San Francisco at a walk-up bowling alley named, appropriately enough, Downtown Bowl. He did the usual exhibition that I had seen several times before and it was still fascinating. Particularly because of the way his cue ball behaved. It was extraordinary how it would muscle into the balls and keep diving into them again and again until it had plowed through them all and come out the other side of the cluster or stack, totally unscathed.

So after his exhibition he's standing around, leaning against the table and talking to all the old timers and they're asking all the usual, "Did you ever play...?" "What'd you think of so and so's game?" and I'm trying to get closer to listen in on all this and I'm right by the side pocket of the table he's just finished his exhibition on and I look down and there it is:

Right there, at the bottom of the side pocket, is Mosconi's Cue Ball.

The blue circle on it is staring right back up at me and somehow, it was challenging me. Everyone is focused on Mosconi. No one is looking at me. I stare back into the abyss and realize I have but one moment to make a critical, and yes, criminal decision. I look down into the pocket and I swear, Mosconi's Cue Ball is virtually howling with laughter at me. I quickly seize the little sucker, muffling it as best I can, stuff it into the pocket of my coat and dash down the stairs of the establishment scared to death that if Mosconi discovers His Cue Ball is missing, they'll lock down the whole bowling alley -- and perhaps even cordon off the entire downtown district -- until they find the missing orb.

Now, some 45 years later, I still feel bad about the larceny I committed in my callow youth. But it's done and I can't undo it and so Mosconi's Cue Ball now sits, somewhat more meekly and quietly, on my bookshelf of pool books. But I think it still knows it's Mosconi's Cue Ball and now, just every once in a while when I'm sitting at the computer writing about the trials and tribulations of my pool game, I occasionally hear a tiny little giggle coming from behind my back from somewhere on my book case.

Lou Figueroa
Then Willie Mosconi walked into the pool room, nattily dressed in a sports coat and tie. luggage-style cue case. His hair was pure white.
That's exactly how I remembered him when we played in 1964.
Some people say in private he was arrogant and not nice all the time, but his public persona in front of a crowd being paid to do his show was nothing short of perfect.
I will admit when I played Willie he gave a world class performance as a pool player and I gave a world class performance as his rack boy,my racks were perfect.
I did manage to pocket a hand full of balls, I was 17 and really nervous playing him in front of a large crowd.
 

bud green

Dolley and Django
Silver Member
Earl should get to the mid 200's at least I'd guess.

The only time I saw Willie was at a place that sold pool tables...and tractors, hot tubs, and all kind of other crap. Early 70's.

He did not look happy was pretty much all I remember, I was only 5 probably.

Lou: My family lived on Cordova and Winding Way, and my grandparents played pool. Wonder if our families knew each other. Last name Lawler, my grandfather owned a Chevron service station on Post and Divisadero. Hippies would light the toilet paper on fire in the bathroom sometimes lol. After my grandparents passed, my father had to sell the house due to his siblings wanting money right away. Sold for 600K about 20 years ago, and its now worth 1.4 million apparently.
 

Chili Palmer

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Ok what’s the opening line on the over/under on earls high run?

We need to stipulate a certain number of attempts for the bet to be valid. If the number of attempts isn’t reached even if the over comes in the bet is off. That only fair for the under bettor and over bettor for obvious reasons.

Lou what’s a reasonable number of attempts? Id appreciate your input on that.

Establish a number of attempts for any runs to count. Then a over/under line to bet.

Let’s gambol
Fatboy🤠

Why stipulate anything? The man has X number of days to get a high run, post up an over/under and be done?
 

Chili Palmer

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Then Willie Mosconi walked into the pool room, nattily dressed in a sports coat and tie. luggage-style cue case. His hair was pure white.
That's exactly how I remembered him when we played in 1964.
Some people say in private he was arrogant and not nice all the time, but his public persona in front of a crowd being paid to do his show was nothing short of perfect.
I will admit when I played Willie he gave a world class performance as a pool player and I gave a world class performance as his rack boy,my racks were perfect.
I did manage to pocket a hand full of balls, I was 17 and really nervous playing him in front of a large crowd.

It's my understanding from what I've read, that Willie didn't really enjoy playing pool in his later years and only did it for the paycheck, if that's true, then he probably was a jerk when not playing?
 

westcoast

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Earl repeatedly talks about how much he loves 14.1 during his Billiard Network commentaries and goes on about how much he plays it on his challenging home table. Sounds like the table on which he will be attempting these runs is more conducive to high runs. I think he will have a high run of at least 300
 

Chili Palmer

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Earl repeatedly talks about how much he loves 14.1 during his Billiard Network commentaries and goes on about how much he plays it on his challenging home table. Sounds like the table on which he will be attempting these runs is more conducive to high runs. I think he will have a high run of at least 300

I think he has a pretty good chance of putting up a few good numbers as long as he doesn't shark himself.

I didn't watch too many of the other runs but hoping to watch more of Earl's.
 

Bob Jewett

AZB Osmium Member
Staff member
Gold Member
Silver Member
Why stipulate anything? The man has X number of days to get a high run, post up an over/under and be done?
You need to stipulate a few parameters to avoid "earnest discussions". What if Earl quits after an hour? What if he can only do an hour on four consecutive days?

Here's an example over/under: Earl has 120 tries to run 350. If he doesn't play 120 tries, bets are off. If he doesn't get to 350, under wins. No try after 120 counts. If the video of all tries is not available, bets are off.

120 and 350 are obviously just examples, but I think they are a reasonable count/over-under pair for Earl.
 

Fatboy

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Why stipulate anything? The man has X number of days to get a high run, post up an over/under and be done?
To answer your question, and it’s a good question.

To give each side a equal chance to reduce variance if Earl(in this case-can be any player) gets mad after 3 attempts and leaves. The over better in the 3 attempt case got way the worst of it. While the under better robbed the prop bet because the player blew up and not because of pool.

I want a pool bet.

Not a prop on will he finish or not?

So if there’s a stipulated minimum number of attempts it eliminates the variable that any player gets pissed and leaves, quits, what ever. The over bettor needs a certain number of attempts or the under is almost a lock with a player who might not last long.

I would hope and expect that Earl in this case will complete how ever many days & attempts within those days. But if for some reason he doesn’t the bet is off. If he does complete the days then stipulation is irrelevant and off. Protects the pool bet, not the will he finish or not bet.

That’s the reason, it applies to any player not just Earl.

And for the record I’ll bet that Earl does finish. In fact he might want longer.

Best
Fatboy
 

Chili Palmer

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
To answer your question, and it’s a good question.

To give each side a equal chance to reduce variance if Earl(in this case-can be any player) gets mad after 3 attempts and leaves. The over better got way the worst of it. The under better robbed them prop bet.

So if there’s a stipulated minimum number of attempts it eliminates the variable that any player gets pissed and leaves, quits, what ever. The over bettor needs a certain number of attempts or the under is almost a lock with a player who might not last long.

I would hope and expect that Earl in this case will complete how ever many days & attempts within those days. But if for some reason he doesn’t the bet is off. If he does the stipulation is irrelevant

That’s the reason, it applies to any player not just Earl.

Best
Fatboy

Good explanation, my thought was the over/under included any shenanigans that may ensue ;)
 

Chili Palmer

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
You need to stipulate a few parameters to avoid "earnest discussions". What if Earl quits after an hour? What if he can only do an hour on four consecutive days?

Here's an example over/under: Earl has 120 tries to run 350. If he doesn't play 120 tries, bets are off. If he doesn't get to 350, under wins. No try after 120 counts. If the video of all tries is not available, bets are off.

120 and 350 are obviously just examples, but I think they are a reasonable count/over-under pair for Earl.

Forgot to quote both of you ;)

And again, if the bet is on Earl then you simply have to take those things into account - this is gambling isn't it.
 

Fatboy

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
What’s really interesting about this whole thing is

How many will Earl run?

I don’t have a doubt he will complete what ever he commits to and/or is compensated for. Not my business. Earl is reliable.

I know Earl is capable of huge numbers still. With no distractions, big pockets, Earl in the right frame of mind-oh boy that seems like a big number to me. Age, fatigue, frustration work against us all. That’s the upsides & downsides of this feat.

Where does that number land?

375 with everything in the plus column
-100 in the negative column

So maybe 275ish possibly +/-25 is my guess.

Looking forward to seeing it,

What I’d love to see is Earls highest run ever, that’s a lot to ask for but sure would be cool.

Best
Fatboy😀
 

lfigueroa

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Okay, now I want to know what the title of all the spiral bound books are.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

There's some memorabilia in there like tournament programs but here's the books.

Lou Figueroa
has another five shelves
of pool books
 

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nick serdula

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
Funny thing about 9ball players. Scottie Townsend entered a straight pool tournament once. He was telling me about it one afternoon. He said he never played straight before but could see it was an easy game. He laughed. You just shoot all the balls into the short pockets. I think he said it was some kind of Texas straight pool championship. Won every game. Won the tournament.
Easy?
Well if you are Earl?
Same thing!
Good luck all!
Nick :)
 

lfigueroa

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Earl should get to the mid 200's at least I'd guess.

The only time I saw Willie was at a place that sold pool tables...and tractors, hot tubs, and all kind of other crap. Early 70's.

He did not look happy was pretty much all I remember, I was only 5 probably.

Lou: My family lived on Cordova and Winding Way, and my grandparents played pool. Wonder if our families knew each other. Last name Lawler, my grandfather owned a Chevron service station on Post and Divisadero. Hippies would light the toilet paper on fire in the bathroom sometimes lol. After my grandparents passed, my father had to sell the house due to his siblings wanting money right away. Sold for 600K about 20 years ago, and its now worth 1.4 million apparently.

We were close -- since we were just a block and half from Cordova.

The real estate in SF is nuts. My mom made huge bucks when she sold their second home in Pacifica.

Lou Figueroa
 

ChrisinNC

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
What’s really interesting about this whole thing is

How many will Earl run?

I don’t have a doubt he will complete what ever he commits to and/or is compensated for. Not my business. Earl is reliable.

I know Earl is capable of huge numbers still. With no distractions, big pockets, Earl in the right frame of mind-oh boy that seems like a big number to me. Age, fatigue, frustration work against us all. That’s the upsides & downsides of this feat.

Where does that number land?

375 with everything in the plus column
-100 in the negative column

So maybe 275ish possibly +/-25 is my guess.

Looking forward to seeing it,

What I’d love to see is Earls highest run ever, that’s a lot to ask for but sure would be cool.

Best
Fatboy😀
I’d be very surprised if he hits 300. Pool is not kind to players advancing in age. The ability to stay focused just doesn’t seem to be able to remain at the same level over the period of time required to run multiple hundreds in 14.1, even on forgiving pockets.

I’m not much older than Earl, my high run many years ago was 98, my high run within the last 10 years is maybe 75, the last 5 years maybe 56, but in the last 3 years on a 9-footer is no more than 42 - very hard to accept.

My eyesight is still excellent but the long shots, particularly when the object ball is close to the cushion, are just getting harder. I think it must have something to do with slowly losing 3D / depth perception vision as you age in to your 60s. It’s hard to put a finger on exactly what it is, other than that and just not being able to sustain the concentration for as long a period of time.
 
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justadub

Rattling corners nightly
Silver Member
This is made for Earl...no one but himself to compete with. No outside distractions. Only him vs the table.

As for his age, I dont expect it to be the issue that others do. He certainly speaks about his daily workout regimen, if he even accomplishes half of what he says he does daily, he's in great shape.

I'm looking forward to this. A lot. I hope that he reminds people how good he still can be, in the right circumstances...
 

jay helfert

Shoot Pool, not people
Gold Member
Silver Member
Then Willie Mosconi walked into the pool room, nattily dressed in a sports coat and tie. luggage-style cue case. His hair was pure white.
That's exactly how I remembered him when we played in 1964.
Some people say in private he was arrogant and not nice all the time, but his public persona in front of a crowd being paid to do his show was nothing short of perfect.
I will admit when I played Willie he gave a world class performance as a pool player and I gave a world class performance as his rack boy,my racks were perfect.
I did manage to pocket a hand full of balls, I was 17 and really nervous playing him in front of a large crowd.
Another one of his sacrificial lambs. I'm a member of that club too. I was never so nervous as the day I played Willie. I literally could not feel the cue in my hands and actually whiffed a ball I was aiming at early in the "match." He had mercy on me and ran 131 and out to put me out of my misery. Someone gave me a photo of Willie and I shaking hands before we started and I treasured that photo for years before losing it during one of my many moves. C'est la vie.
 
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