Tony Annigoni suicide

Welder84

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."​

My favorite pool book by far. Rest in peace Sir!

Here is a link to his eight-ball instructional video.
 
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axejunkie

AzB Gold Member
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."​
Sad to hear this news about Mr. Annigoni. A sobering reminder of how fragile life is.
Thank you for posting this well chosen section about him. Like many, I enjoyed the book and feel a tangible connection to Tony's life.
 

Baby Huey

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I believe that whatever people say about Tony in a negative manner should think twice. We all have done things we aren’t proud of. But Tony was one of our brethren who loved pool and the people who played. So let’s just give him a break. He tried hard to succeed and life’s stresses gripped him hard and in the end he just couldn’t handle it anymore. That could happen to anyone. I will miss you Tony.
 

arnaldo

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
We all have done things we aren’t proud of. But Tony was one of our brethren who loved pool and the people who played. So let’s just give him a break.
No one is as good as the best thing they have ever done . . . but neither are they as bad as the worst thing they have ever done.

I'm absolutely certain that a hundred years from now, Tony will be remembered exactly as much as any of us for the way we spent the few cosmic seconds we have been *randomly* granted to exist on this remote spinning rock on the far edge of a very unexceptional galaxy -- a galaxy that is one lost raindrop in a vast ocean of trillions of other galaxies.

Arnaldo ~ "Life is a comedy for those who Think . . a tragedy for those who Feel." -- Jean Racine, 17th Century dramatist
 

jay helfert

Shoot Pool, not people
Gold Member
Silver Member
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,,,
I knew all three very well. I would rate Tony the best of them, although at Banks and One Pocket Chris might have been the better player. It would be close, but when it comes to making balls and getting shape (the essence of pool), Tony was the superior player of these three. I did gamble against Dave and Chris, but took a pass on playing Tony.
 

John Shuput

New member
Number one: dont sack the deceased. What were you thinking?
2, I met Tony and he was just trying to do the next to impossible, make money in the pool world. It's a tough racket. 3 the book playing off the rail was very well written. I really enjoyed it. 4. God bless Tony and the family.
 

azdiamondbacks1

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Number one: dont sack the deceased. What were you thinking?
2, I met Tony and he was just trying to do the next to impossible, make money in the pool world. It's a tough racket. 3 the book playing off the rail was very well written. I really enjoyed it. 4. God bless Tony and the family.
Nice Post. I didn't know Tony. I would be willing to bet my life savings at some point he did something nice or he made a positive
impact on someone else. Maybe we could all agree Tony's life was valuable, sadly Tony's life has ended and he died living life the best
way he was able to.
 

FranCrimi

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Nice Post. I didn't know Tony. I would be willing to bet my life savings at some point he did something nice or he made a positive
impact on someone else. Maybe we could all agree Tony's life was valuable, sadly Tony's life has ended and he died living life the best
way he was able to.
He made a lot of positive impacts. I witnessed them. For example: He worked with kids in bad neighborhoods and got them off the streets and playing pool in the Boys and Girls clubs. He got tables put into the clubs with great equipment and gave them weekly lessons, while not collecting a dime from the clubs. He recruited me to help him once when I was visiting San Francisco. I was really impressed by his work. He was able to get people in the industry to contribute equipment for these kids. Not only did he teach them pool, but he used it as a vehicle for team-building exercises for the kids. That's just one of many works of charity he performed under the radar that most people don't know about. How many kids lives did he save by getting them off the streets and giving them something to look forward to?
 
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