The Ten Greatest Players Of All Time

WildWing

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
From McGoorty's stories of how de Oro behaved at the table, I suspect none of his matches were friendly.

Other sources list more pool championships, but it is important to note that challenge matches were included in the championship victories.

I get you, but that nowhere matches Sigel's tournament records.

All the best,
WW
 

sjm

Sweating it at Derby City
Silver Member
That sounded a bit high to me. So I took a look at US Open programs for 3 of the years Steve won. If I counted correctly, the players in the 32-man fields, other than Steve, who are now in the BCA Hall of Fame numbered 8 in 1971, 10 in 1972, and 10 in 1973.

[And if we count the Straight Pool Hall of Fame in addition to the BCA Hall of Fame, add 2 to each of those counts.]

I expect that the number of players who played in some of the US Open 9-Ball events that Shane won, and who are already in the Hall of Fame, is similar to the numbers mentioned above from Steve's events. And that number will grow in the years ahead as more of Shane's opponents become eligible [Of course, the pool of top-level players is larger overall today than in the early 1970's.]

Thanks for that. I definitely mixed it up with the fields of the late 1970, which in straight pool would have included -

Mike Sigel
Steve Mizerak
Nick Varner
Jim Rempe
Joe Balsis
Ray Martin
Lou Butera
Allen Hopkins
Dallas West
Irving Crane
Dan DiLiberto
Jose Parica
Jimmy Moore

.... and you can add to that list of 13 BCA hall of famers other straight pool legends like

Larry Lisciotti
Pete Margo
Dick Lane
Jack Colavita
Frank McGown
Pat Fleming
Jose Garcia
Jimmy Fusco

All 21 of these guys had enough game to snap off the world title. It was awfully tough to win anything back then.
 

Bob Jewett

AZB Osmium Member
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I get you, but that nowhere matches Sigel's tournament records.
Still, de Oro's tournament/challenge match record is pretty impressive, just listing his World Championships. Note that he held the 14.1 title and the 3-cushion title at the same time. At that time pool was evolving, eventually resulting in the rules of 14.1 more or less as they are now.

  1. 1887 Fifteen-ball pool World Champion
  2. 1888 Fifteen-ball pool WC
  3. 1889 Continuous pool WC
  4. 1890 Continuous pool WC
  5. 1891 May Continuous pool WC
  6. 1892 Mar Continuous pool WC
  7. 1893 Mar Continuous pool WC
  8. 1893 Jun Continuous pool WC
  9. 1896 May Continuous pool WC
  10. 1896 Jun Continuous pool WC
  11. 1898 Dec Continuous pool WC
  12. 1899 Jan Continuous pool WC
  13. 1899 Apr Continuous pool WC
  14. 1899 Dec Continuous pool WC
  15. 1900 Apr Continuous pool WC
  16. 1901 Apr Continuous pool WC
  17. 1904 Nov Continuous pool WC
  18. 1905 Jan Continuous pool WC
  19. 1905 May Continuous pool WC
  20. 1905 Oct Continuous pool WC
  21. 1908 May Continuous pool WC
  22. 1908 Oct Continuous pool WC
  23. 1908 3-Cushion WC
  24. 1910 Nov Continuous pool WC
  25. 1910 3-Cushion WC
  26. 1911 Jan Continuous pool WC
  27. 1911 Mar Continuous pool WC
  28. 1911 Apr Continuous pool WC
  29. 1911 May Continuous pool WC
  30. 1911 3-Cushion WC
  31. 1912 Jun 14.1 Continuous WC
  32. 1912 Nov 14.1 Continuous WC
  33. 1913 Jan 14.1 Continuous WC
  34. 1913 Feb 14.1 Continuous WC
  35. 1913 3-Cushion WC
  36. 1914 3-Cushion WC
  37. 1915 3-Cushion WC
  38. 1917 3-Cushion WC
  39. 1919 3-Cushion WC
This is from Wikipedia. A brief scan of some of Charlie Ursitti's files indicates that the list may be off a little.
 
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WildWing

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Still, de Oro's tournament/challenge match record is pretty impressive, just listing his World Championships. Note that he held the 14.1 title and the 3-cushion title at the same time. At that time pool was evolving, eventually resulting in the rules of 14.1 more or less as they are now.

  1. 1887 Fifteen-ball pool World Champion
  2. 1888 Fifteen-ball pool WC
  3. 1889 Continuous pool WC
  4. 1890 Continuous pool WC
  5. 1891 May Continuous pool WC
  6. 1892 Mar Continuous pool WC
  7. 1893 Mar Continuous pool WC
  8. 1893 Jun Continuous pool WC
  9. 1896 May Continuous pool WC
  10. 1896 Jun Continuous pool WC
  11. 1898 Dec Continuous pool WC
  12. 1899 Jan Continuous pool WC
  13. 1899 Apr Continuous pool WC
  14. 1899 Dec Continuous pool WC
  15. 1900 Apr Continuous pool WC
  16. 1901 Apr Continuous pool WC
  17. 1904 Nov Continuous pool WC
  18. 1905 Jan Continuous pool WC
  19. 1905 May Continuous pool WC
  20. 1905 Oct Continuous pool WC
  21. 1908 May Continuous pool WC
  22. 1908 Oct Continuous pool WC
  23. 1908 3-Cushion WC
  24. 1910 Nov Continuous pool WC
  25. 1910 3-Cushion WC
  26. 1911 Jan Continuous pool WC
  27. 1911 Mar Continuous pool WC
  28. 1911 Apr Continuous pool WC
  29. 1911 May Continuous pool WC
  30. 1911 3-Cushion WC
  31. 1912 Jun 14.1 Continuous WC
  32. 1912 Nov 14.1 Continuous WC
  33. 1913 Jan 14.1 Continuous WC
  34. 1913 Feb 14.1 Continuous WC
  35. 1913 3-Cushion WC
  36. 1914 3-Cushion WC
  37. 1915 3-Cushion WC
  38. 1917 3-Cushion WC
  39. 1919 3-Cushion WC
This is from Wikipedia. A brief scan of some of Charlie Ursitti's files indicates that the list may be off a little.

Yes. It's about a third of Sigel's record, though admittedly hard to compare eras.

All the best,
WW
 

PoolBum

Ace in the side.
Silver Member
Not my list either. How can any list have Allen Gilbert and not Raymond Ceulemans? There must have been some strange conditions for inclusion.

I don't know, it doesn't make sense to me either. Here's what I posted then about what Billiards Digest said about their criteria and methodology:

"The list, compiled by a select group of historians and writers, ranks these 50 players based on one superlative quality: dominance. That dominance can be measured in several ways: tournaments won, ranking among peers, mastery of several billiard disciplines, and/or the quality of competition during that player's era."

"While attempting to rate men and women of different eras in the same poll, this panel followed two basic criteria: judge players within their time, and within their context. In other words, the list does not conclude that the 35th ranked player could beat the 45th ranked player in head-to-head competition. It merely means that the 35th ranked player had a more impressive total career, within his or her time and context."
 

Bob Jewett

AZB Osmium Member
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Silver Member
Found this post from PoolBum posted in 2011. It's Billiards Digest 50 Greatest Players of the Century,
what great list. Not my list, but, at the time, Efren Reyes was rated # 29. He certainly has leap frogged a few.
...
3. Ralph Greenleaf
2. Willie Mosconi
1. Willie Hoppe
The criteria by which this list was made seems to have been omitted. It's kind of important to know what the rules were for this particular game before you cry "Foul!"

It is based on American performance only -- competition in the US.

It is based on their dominance in the context of their time. As they pointed out, that doesn't mean that 15 is guaranteed to beat 47. And when rating men against women that factor is especially important. I think that if dominance is the critical factor, Balukas has to be a lot higher -- in her context.

Another factor is that it is only for the 20th century 1900-2000.

And here are the supplemental lists (which I believe I may have posted before in one of these annual discussions because I kind of remember scanning this before) ....

Scan20201018_0005.jpg
 
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jay helfert

Shoot Pool, not people
Gold Member
Silver Member
Jay, no current players under 59 (Strickland) on that list?

Only Shane could be included with this crew. Filler is still too young for consideration. Maybe Alex and Dennis are close as well. I was kind of focused on past greats and not current players. I left off some great players like Balsis, Crane and Caras and didn't consider some of the real old timers like Taberski and D'Oro. I did hear that Hayden Van Lingo and Johnny Irish were also great players of their era. If you include Three Cushion players than Ceulemans and Hoppe belong on there too. Throw in Snooker and you have to consider Joe Davis, Steve Davis, Stephen Hendry and Ronnie O'Sullivan. It's almost impossible to come up with a top ten in pool because there have been so many great players. But any list must include Greenleaf, Mosconi, Lassiter, Worst and Efren imo.
 
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pt109

WO double hemlock
Gold Member
Silver Member
These ‘best’ lists always leave me dissatisfied.
I think there should be lists separated by disciplines.
It would be interesting which names showed up in the most disciplines.

And not so much a popularity contest...also women should have their own category.

In English Billiards, there is only one name at the top...Walter Lindrum
 

Black-Balled

He Rides the Skies
Silver Member
Eleven/ twelve nothin, helfert.

10! Who's getting cut?!
I love Ronnie but the only top ten he belongs in is One Pocket. I like how the author spelled his name Ronnie Ellen. ;)

Fats may have been the most famous pool player of his era but he was certainly not the best. He was only the best talker!

Here's my top eleven of all time in no particular order. Expanded to twelve now.

Efren Reyes
Willie Mosconi
Ralph Greenleaf
Harold Worst
Luther Lassiter
Jose Parica
Rags Fitzpatrick
Mike Sigel
Earl Strickland
Steve Mizerak
Buddy Hall
Nick Varner
 

WildWing

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I love Ronnie but the only top ten he belongs in is One Pocket. I like how the author spelled his name Ronnie Ellen. ;)

Fats may have been the most famous pool player of his era but he was certainly not the best. He was only the best talker!

Here's my top eleven of all time in no particular order. Expanded to twelve now.

Efren Reyes
Willie Mosconi
Ralph Greenleaf
Harold Worst
Luther Lassiter
Jose Parica
Rags Fitzpatrick
Mike Sigel
Earl Strickland
Steve Mizerak
Buddy Hall
Nick Varner

I would subtract Rags Fitzpatrick from the list, and add Arthur (Babe) Cranfield to the list.

All the best,
WW
 

garczar

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I love Ronnie but the only top ten he belongs in is One Pocket. I like how the author spelled his name Ronnie Ellen. ;)

Fats may have been the most famous pool player of his era but he was certainly not the best. He was only the best talker!

Here's my top eleven of all time in no particular order. Expanded to twelve now.

Efren Reyes
Willie Mosconi
Ralph Greenleaf
Harold Worst
Luther Lassiter
Jose Parica
Rags Fitzpatrick
Mike Sigel
Earl Strickland
Steve Mizerak
Buddy Hall
Nick Varner
Agree 100%. Stout list.
 

1pocketguru

Registered
I like this list. Freddy the beard talks about some heroin addict that cleans up and beats the world, then goes back to the land of Nod.
 

Johnny Rosato

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
1~ Efren Reyes - GOAT
(the rest can be shuffled around)
2 ~ Harold Worst
3 ~ Willie Mosconi
4 ~ Earl Strickland
5 ~ Mike Sigel
6 ~ Shane Van Boening
7 ~ Johnny Rosato
8~ Ralph Greenleaf
9 ~ Nick Varner
10 ~ Buddy Hall
 
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Geosnooker

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
An ok list for American Pool if ‘greatest’ isnt about performance. Otherwise
Minnesota Fats wouldn’t be in the top 200.

2 of them might make the list for all Pool

None for ‘Billiards’.
 
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Bob Jewett

AZB Osmium Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
Another way to do a list like this is to make up separate lists by decade and by discipline. Include whichever disciplines you want -- 9B, 1P, 3C, Sn, EB, RP, PB, SP -- and go back as far as you please. Maybe list the top 3 in each slot. If you want to add a discipline that others ignore, go ahead and put up your list.
 
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