Tony Annigoni suicide

jay helfert

Shoot Pool, not people
Gold Member
Silver Member
Whenever I have heard about Tony Annigoni, I have thought again about a passage from Playing Off The Rail. I have posted it several times now, but maybe some new eyes will see it here. It's the best short thing I've ever read about the appeal of the game of pool (or billiards). Beauty ... heart ... renewal -- it's all there in two brief paragraphs.

Playing Off The Rail, by David McCumber, Random House, 1996, pages 276-277. It is presented as the author's thoughts while watching a masterfully played 9-ball match.​
"Tony broke, and made two balls, and I could see the table unfold in my mind, and I knew he could see it even better, and would run it. As he made the shots I was overpowered by the beauty of this game, at once immutably logical, governed by physical inevitabilities, and at the same time infinitely poetic and varied. This game at its best, as it was being played before me, had the transcendent power of a Handel chorus.​
I thought about what an impressive mental exercise it was for Tony, after a miserable session against an unremarkable player two hours earlier, to reinvent himself so completely. It was a question of heart, a gathering of everything stored inside a man, a refusal to fall after stumbling. It was a very rare thing for a player to take such advantage of the game's intrinsic quality of renewal, the fresh start with each match, each rack, each shot. Nothing pharmaceutical could ever exceed the jolt of bliss that comes with the self-mastery that sort of play entails: knowing the ball is going in, knowing the cue ball is going to stop precisely where you willed it to, knowing that the next shot is going in too. I thought of Willie Hoppe, running an astonishing twenty-five billiards in an exhibition in 1918, seeing all those rails and angles and spins and caroms in his head like presents waiting to be opened. It was no accident that Hoppe was the most disciplined and controlled player of his era. Power over the cue ball, over the object ball, is power over ourselves. It is the sweetest irony that pool has gathered the reputation of being a game for louts and idlers, when, to be played well, it demands such incredible discipline of movement, of thinking, of emotion."​
Beautiful, absolutely beautiful. McCumber is a world class writer! Another vocation in which I remain a shortstop.

And in response to those who called Tony a shortstop, I strongly disagree. He was a solid "A" player, one notch below the Champions. Only the best players were favored over him in a match. Tony was in that second echelon of contenders and often went deep (top ten finish) in major tourneys in his prime, like the Sands in Reno.
 
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JAM

Professional Railbird
Silver Member
i did think about my post before i wrote it. and understand the effect it may have and it can hurt some.
but just because someone is dead it doesnt mean his past gets buried with him. it hurts if you knew him and liked or had an attachment. sorry for that, but things sometimes need to be said even if you dont agree with hearing them. and if you only wanted nice things said maybe dont post in the thread how great he was and expect everyone will agree with you. i for one dont. and many others may still harbor bad will . whether they say it or not they may very well think it.. i chose to say it.
maybe not in your mind but in mine he screwed many people and lied about and never made it right. he also set back tournament pool and ruined it for many near in california where he lived and reno as well.
You are really despicable. You should be ashamed to write such horrible words about a man who commit suicide. I don't give a damn what happened in the past about the tournament money. I give a damn about someone who the majority of AzB-ers in this thread care about and have expressed their grief and mourn his passing. How dare you try to poison their memories with your vitriolic words, with poor punctuation and spellings, to boot.

If you understood the effect your words would have on others and still went through with it, then shame on you. They say ignorance is bliss, but not in your case. You need to learn etiquette if you're going to communicate in public. Rudeness is a weak person's imitation of strength.
 

demonrho

Registered Amuser
Silver Member
In person, Tony was a fun likeable guy. No attitude - just bubbling with ideas and curiosity. Going to miss him.
 

FranCrimi

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
i did think about my post before i wrote it. and understand the effect it may have and it can hurt some.
but just because someone is dead it doesnt mean his past gets buried with him. it hurts if you knew him and liked or had an attachment. sorry for that, but things sometimes need to be said even if you dont agree with hearing them. and if you only wanted nice things said maybe dont post in the thread how great he was and expect everyone will agree with you. i for one dont. and many others may still harbor bad will . whether they say it or not they may very well think it.. i chose to say it.
maybe not in your mind but in mine he screwed many people and lied about and never made it right. he also set back tournament pool and ruined it for many near in california where he lived and reno as well.
You know, there's two sides to every story. I must have missed the memo where you all put aside your anger and tried to work out a solution with him. What I heard was anger, resentment, temper tantrums and law suits. You came at him like a bunch of pit bulls. Over what? How much did each player lose out on? Millions? Your league didn't bring in enough money that year. But I know that he worked himself to the bone to try to make the final event happen and he never gave up hope of raising the money, right until the very end. He neglected everything else in his life during those days to try to figure out a solution. All you remember is that you didn't collect all of your prize money at the end. How much was it, huh? How much did you miss out on to bring you to the point where even on his death, you're still vindictive?
 
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kollegedave

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Beautiful, absolutely beautiful. McCumber is a world class writer! Another vocation in which I remain a shortstop.

And in response to those who called Tony a shortstop, I strongly disagree. He was a solid "A" player, one notch below the Champions. Only the best players were favored over him in a match. Tony was in that second echelon of contenders and often went deep (top ten finish) in major tourneys in his prime, like the Sands in Reno.
Jay,

I have read Playing of the Rail at least twice. However, the first time I read the passage you cited here, I stopped put brackets around it, and I come back to it from time to time. I wholeheartedly agree with you about Mr. McCumber's skill in this passage.

I did not know Tony. However, his participation in the adventures that make up Playing of the Rail enriched this life.

kollegedave
 

Cuedup

Active member
Narcissist love taking an issue and making it about themselves. It's a mental defect and they cant help themselves.

maha says" i wont miss him in this world. and for me anyway i dont eulogize the bad just because they are dead."

BFD. Its not all about you.
 

garczar

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Beautiful, absolutely beautiful. McCumber is a world class writer! Another vocation in which I remain a shortstop.

And in response to those who called Tony a shortstop, I strongly disagree. He was a solid "A" player, one notch below the Champions. Only the best players were favored over him in a match. Tony was in that second echelon of contenders and often went deep (top ten finish) in major tourneys in his prime, like the Sands in Reno.
I agree. Also, don't sell yourself short as an author. PW's and PW's2 are both fine reads. Not so much prose as a funny/gritty, i've-been-there look at this game.
 

ShootingArts

Smorg is giving St Peter the 7!
Gold Member
Silver Member
Beautiful, absolutely beautiful. McCumber is a world class writer! Another vocation in which I remain a shortstop.

And in response to those who called Tony a shortstop, I strongly disagree. He was a solid "A" player, one notch below the Champions. Only the best players were favored over him in a match. Tony was in that second echelon of contenders and often went deep (top ten finish) in major tourneys in his prime, like the Sands in Reno.


I didn't post in this thread originally because I didn't know Tony and didn't want to interfere in the celebration of his life. That is what this thread is, those that want to make it otherwise, this isn't the time or place. Go start your own thread and if people want to pile on they can.

What I wrote above and some comments about shortstops are what got me in the thread. For me, the typical shortstop fits in between the best in the world and "A" players. They are double A or triple A, it is a no win deal to play them. As an example, playing the shortstops at Greenway in Baton Rouge. Beat them or even just run with them in tight competition and the other denizens of the pool room marked you, you weren't to be tangled with.

I played a shortstop in Greenway twice about six months apart. Both times I won but nothing to speak of. $100-$150 at fifty a game, one or two bets ahead at thirty or forty a game when we quit. Neither play was a big deal except that I did it on the lonely table at the end of the counter. I had marked myself and it not only killed my action in Greenway but in every place for miles around. I would get my usual small bet action going and somebody would ease up to the person I was playing, "I saw him playing with (the shortstop) in Greenway a few weeks ago." The guy I was playing would pull up. This happened enough and long enough that I figured it cost me an easy ten dollars in other action for running with the guys I did in Greenway. Those guys were shortstops, and what a shortstop means to me. Play them competitively and win or lose you might as well leave town because you just announced you were a cut above the people that called themselves amateurs. Shortstops aren't high level pros but they fit in a kind of nebulous area between amateurs and pros.

Buddy Hall wasn't going to hesitate to get in action with you because you beat a shortstop, money in the bank for him. However, the guys that were the best in town when Buddy wasn't were going to look for an edge to play you. If they didn't find that edge they knew it was a fierce battle with a shaky outcome at best. To cash in you didn't play the shortstops when you first got to town. Ideally you played a guy about two-thirds of the way up the ladder, maybe three-fourths. Beat them and you still have action from the guys solidly above them. If you can creep up the ladder you might play five or six guys before getting in action with a shortstop or two and having to find action elsewhere.

I never find it a slight for somebody to be called a shortstop. On a given night, especially on their home court, they can take down anybody. They can lose too, but they won't be walked over and beating them leaves you are marked man. Win or lose, a battle with one of these guys draws the railbirds and kills action from lesser or even equal players. Win or lose, you have dried up action, time to move on.

Tony, you have moved on forever. May the balls roll sweet and you rest in peace.

Hu
 

garczar

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I didn't post in this thread originally because I didn't know Tony and didn't want to interfere in the celebration of his life. That is what this thread is, those that want to make it otherwise, this isn't the time or place. Go start your own thread and if people want to pile on they can.

What I wrote above and some comments about shortstops are what got me in the thread. For me, the typical shortstop fits in between the best in the world and "A" players. They are double A or triple A, it is a no win deal to play them. As an example, playing the shortstops at Greenway in Baton Rouge. Beat them or even just run with them in tight competition and the other denizens of the pool room marked you, you weren't to be tangled with.

I played a shortstop in Greenway twice about six months apart. Both times I won but nothing to speak of. $100-$150 at fifty a game, one or two bets ahead at thirty or forty a game when we quit. Neither play was a big deal except that I did it on the lonely table at the end of the counter. I had marked myself and it not only killed my action in Greenway but in every place for miles around. I would get my usual small bet action going and somebody would ease up to the person I was playing, "I saw him playing with (the shortstop) in Greenway a few weeks ago." The guy I was playing would pull up. This happened enough and long enough that I figured it cost me an easy ten dollars in other action for running with the guys I did in Greenway. Those guys were shortstops, and what a shortstop means to me. Play them competitively and win or lose you might as well leave town because you just announced you were a cut above the people that called themselves amateurs. Shortstops aren't high level pros but they fit in a kind of nebulous area between amateurs and pros.

Buddy Hall wasn't going to hesitate to get in action with you because you beat a shortstop, money in the bank for him. However, the guys that were the best in town when Buddy wasn't were going to look for an edge to play you. If they didn't find that edge they knew it was a fierce battle with a shaky outcome at best. To cash in you didn't play the shortstops when you first got to town. Ideally you played a guy about two-thirds of the way up the ladder, maybe three-fourths. Beat them and you still have action from the guys solidly above them. If you can creep up the ladder you might play five or six guys before getting in action with a shortstop or two and having to find action elsewhere.

I never find it a slight for somebody to be called a shortstop. On a given night, especially on their home court, they can take down anybody. They can lose too, but they won't be walked over and beating them leaves you are marked man. Win or lose, a battle with one of these guys draws the railbirds and kills action from lesser or even equal players. Win or lose, you have dried up action, time to move on.

Tony, you have moved on forever. May the balls roll sweet and you rest in peace.

Hu
Well said. A real, solid short-stop is a very good player. Just a notch or two below the big boys. A lot of road teams used to make most of their $$ behind the s'stop since he got in more games. 'Nebulous area', i like that. It fits.
 

Island Drive

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Tony and I go waaaaaaaaaaay back, and we're about the same age.
Even was involved with em during the early tv billiard show production years.
All I gotta say about him, what ever he did, he did it in ''his own way''.
To me he was kinda like ''Cal Worthington''....back in the day.
Bigger than life.
Made a special trip to Sacramento in the late 70's, took me a good five hrs to beat em 7 ahead, roll out 9 ball for a G on the front 9' by the counter.
Drove all the way up from Belmont Shores CA for our game.
Last time I saw em, before his miscue, was in 89 Palm springs at sunup by the pool, was in the High 90's.
Sad too see em go, I'm not far behind.
Always understood where he was coming from, and enjoyed our times (tv show) working together, kinda. :)
RIP....tho I can't seem to picture T.A. at rest :).
Take care....bm
 

galipeau

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
That's sad news to be sure.

I played at the Two Cushion Club with Tony. We played snooker, and he was always kind. Read his book too. I have had family who met the same fate and it is terrible even to think of.

Great player and room owner.
 

L.S. Dennis

Active member
Beautiful, absolutely beautiful. McCumber is a world class writer! Another vocation in which I remain a shortstop.

And in response to those who called Tony a shortstop, I strongly disagree. He was a solid "A" player, one notch below the Champions. Only the best players were favored over him in a match. Tony was in that second echelon of contenders and often went deep (top ten finish) in major tourneys in his prime, like the Sands in Reno.
You’re right, Tony may have been a bit better than your average short stop, he could have beaten a lot of the bigger players on any given day. Bob Jewitt said he had some ‘patches’ in his otherwise A game and I suspect that’s pretty close to being correct. The only other players in his category here in the Bay Area were Chris McDonald and Dave PIona (RIP). All great players as well,,,
 

Cuaba

Livin Large
Silver Member
My source was from his niece. She said there is video of him getting off a bus at the bridge and video of him actually jumping. It happened the day before yesterday.
The Golden Gate Bridge is the most common suicide destination in the world. People actually travel from all over the world to jump off. There are many cameras placed on the bridge to capture what happens, and there are many videographers who stake it out to capture footage. They even made a documentary about this phenomenon in 2006.

I am sorry for your loss, and very sad to hear about Tony. He will be forever remembered in Playing Off The Rail.

 

garczar

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
There are some vindictive, morbid sob's on here. The man is dead. The piling on is, imo anyway, more than a little disappointing. Now i know that the majestic GGB is the #2 spot for jumpers. Some Chinese bridge is #1. What an honor. WTF.
 
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Island Drive

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
That bridge from Long Beach to Palos (Gerald Desmond Bridge)
Took many a man, one with terminal cancer that owned a Shipping & Container co. he was in the news.
 
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arnaldo

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Whenever I have heard about Tony Annigoni, I have thought again about a passage from Playing Off The Rail. I have posted it several times now, but maybe some new eyes will see it here. It's the best short thing I've ever read about the appeal of the game of pool (or billiards). Beauty ... heart ... renewal -- it's all there in two brief paragraphs.

Playing Off The Rail, by David McCumber, Random House, 1996, pages 276-277. It is presented as the author's thoughts while watching a masterfully played 9-ball match.​
"Tony broke, and made two balls, and I could see the table unfold in my mind, and I knew he could see it even better, and would run it. As he made the shots I was overpowered by the beauty of this game, at once immutably logical, governed by physical inevitabilities, and at the same time infinitely poetic and varied. This game at its best, as it was being played before me, had the transcendent power of a Handel chorus.​
I thought about what an impressive mental exercise it was for Tony, after a miserable session against an unremarkable player two hours earlier, to reinvent himself so completely. It was a question of heart, a gathering of everything stored inside a man, a refusal to fall after stumbling. It was a very rare thing for a player to take such advantage of the game's intrinsic quality of renewal, the fresh start with each match, each rack, each shot. Nothing pharmaceutical could ever exceed the jolt of bliss that comes with the self-mastery that sort of play entails: knowing the ball is going in, knowing the cue ball is going to stop precisely where you willed it to, knowing that the next shot is going in too. I thought of Willie Hoppe, running an astonishing twenty-five billiards in an exhibition in 1918, seeing all those rails and angles and spins and caroms in his head like presents waiting to be opened. It was no accident that Hoppe was the most disciplined and controlled player of his era. Power over the cue ball, over the object ball, is power over ourselves. It is the sweetest irony that pool has gathered the reputation of being a game for louts and idlers, when, to be played well, it demands such incredible discipline of movement, of thinking, of emotion."​
It seems entirely pertinent and useful for those who've never read David's classic book (or for AZB-ers who've lost their copy) to mention that used copies are presently available at ultra-reasonable prices on Amazon:
Hardcover at the moment starts at $1.11 and paperbacks starting at $2.61 (all with a few $ shipping of course):

https://www.amazon.com/Playing-Off-Rail-Hustlers-Journey/dp/0380729237/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=mccumber+rails&qid=1620327281&s=books&sr=1-1

Definitely among the five best pool books I've ever read
Arnaldo
 

Island Drive

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Still, I have this in the back of my head.....is this ?????????????????????????????????????????????????? eal
Remember it's Tony. Hummmm.
Is he gonna surprise me?
 
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