Tony seemed to be right about at his prime when AzB got started. I worked with him on brackets for a couple of the Reno events and they were always great events. One thing is for sure, he never lacked for energy or ideas. And he always had that pencil over his ear.
He had mentioned to me a few times back then that there was another chapter to Playing Off the Rail that never got published. It sucks that we will never get to read that. Sucks much much more if he struggled this badly with his issues.
Wow, terrible. I used to play him in local tournaments in Monterey, CA back in the mid '90s, when he was house pro at Blue Fin Billiards. Everybody local needed a pretty big spot. I found him to be a pretty nice guy, overall.
Wow...sorry to hear. We all have demons...hope Jay heard a false rumor? No confirmation. Had a brief conversation with him when he played (worked?) a tournament in Springfield, OR..that was decades ago.
One never knows what goes on in the lives of others. It is quite sad to read when this happens to one of our own.
I read that his father committed suicide when Tony was 10. Here's a snippet of the article:
The game played a huge role in the former professional pool player’s childhood and adult life.
After his father committed suicide in his own house when Annigoni was only 10, he looked for other places to spend his time. He found a good place in a pool hall near his home in San Francisco.
He worked there cleaning the pool room and in exchange got some free pool time. Once he started playing pool, his school grades plummeted. But his career skyrocketed.
Annigoni doesn’t fit the bill of a pool player, characters notorious for their drug and alcohol use. And though he’s known to gamble, he said he gambles smart and doesn’t just lay his money down for anything.
Annigoni’s approach to the game fascinated author and current Hearst Washington Bureau Chief David McCumber. Annigoni intrigued him so much, McCumber followed him around as his stakehorse, or financial backer, and wrote the book, “Playing Off the Rail: A Pool Hustler’s Journey,” on his experiences.
“He was funny, articulate, much different from the stereotypical pool player,” McCumber said. “He’d reference Cartesian theory, talk about angles. He’s an interesting character.”
Sad news about Tony. I met him at California Billiards in Mt View in the late 2000’s. I also think I met him at Sequoia Billiards around 2006. We both grew up in San Francisco and learned to play in town. He played at the YMCA close to downtown and I learned at the Boy’s Club close to Haight Street. Thought he was a good guy until his tournament issues surfaced. Again, sad news.
The author of Playing Off the Rail, David McCumber, just posted on Facebook that he had about Tony's passing yesterday, but he did not provide any details: Tony was a singular character, a great player and a great friend. He recently spent some time with me in Montana and I was hoping to see him again soon. Deeply shocked to hear yesterday of his passing. Our road trips were unforgettable and I can’t believe there won’t be any more of them. Hit ‘em straight and RIP Tony.