Cornbread Red, Minnesota Fats and a Johnston City Burn

Cornbread Red, Minnesota Fats and a Johnston City Burn

Old-time hustler was part of pool’s most colorful generation. The autobiography of Minnesota Fats, written with Tom Fox, references Cornbread Red. Billy Burge, better known as “Cornbread Red,” was a famed road player, an expert one-pocket player and a colorful wild man. He was a fixture of “The Rack,” a famed pool hall in Detroit, and a backroom denizen of the...
Almost Forgotten: Rags, Youngblood & Rotation Slim

Almost Forgotten: Rags, Youngblood & Rotation Slim

Along with Cisero Murphy, “Youngblood” Washington, “Rotation Slim” Hairston and “Rags” Woods were among African American players at the early Johnston City events. In case you missed it, George and Paulie Jansco finally received their much-deserved induction into the BCA Hall of Fame back in November 2019. The principle contribution of these two legendary pool promoters was their creation...
The Legendary Cisero Murphy: Trailblazer and Champion

The Legendary Cisero Murphy: Trailblazer and Champion

Brooklyn’s Cisero Murphy smashed through professional pool’s color line. Cisero Murphy, shown in the video that you can find here, was the first African-American pool player to ever win a World or U.S. National billiard title. Murphy also was a trailblazer for equal access, having to overcome race prejudice to gain the right to compete at the very top echelon of pool. A native...
Freddy ‘The Beard’ Bentivegna’s Parting Gift for Pool Fans

Freddy ‘The Beard’ Bentivegna’s Parting Gift for Pool Fans

Freddy “The Beard” Bentivegna “The ‘Encyclopedia’ of Pool Hustlers was the final hilarious work by pool writer Freddy ‘The Beard’ Bentivegna. He published the 325-page tome in 2013 and then passed away too soon in June of the following year. He sent me a signed copy, which I still cherish. The book (apparently out of print but you can still find it...