Wimpy Lassiter’s World War II Coast Guard records

Wimpy Lassiter’s World War II Coast Guard records

Pool legend Wimpy Lassiter spent most of his World War II days on one of three Coast Guard cutters operating from Norfolk, Virginia. By then the Navy had subsumed the Coast Guard for the war effort and Lassiter’s cutters — designated CG 83511, CG 74307, CG 74306 respectively — were charged with rescuing men from the ocean after German u-boat attacks. By all accounts Lassiter made for a...
Cranfield, Plus Record Runs Official and Otherwise

Cranfield, Plus Record Runs Official and Otherwise

Back in 2010 I received a note from reader Dave Capone, who told me about an encounter with the late Hall of Famer Arthur “Babe” Cranfield. Cranfield, as you may recall, was the only player ever to have won national junior, amateur and professional titles. He also was one of only a handful of humans who may have broken Willie Mosconi’s 526-ball straight pool record, which was...
Don “Cincinnati Kid” Willis and the Big Hoorah Hustle

Don “Cincinnati Kid” Willis and the Big Hoorah Hustle

The two out-of-towners are relatively short men, in their thirties, the unfortunate age when the paunch begins to show. Neither carries a pool cue. They’ve appeared unannounced and unexpected in a back-water pool room, which they immediately size up.  Who in here has some gamble to them?  They get a table. They rack for nine-ball. They start shooting. “Remember...

Video: Legend Taberski Performs Trick Shots

Here’s some footage of Frank Taberski performing a number of trick shots, including “Chinese Pool,” which was a popular variation of the game during the early 20th Century. Mike Shamos, in his excellent New Illustrated Encyclopedia of Billiards, described Chinese Pool as a game “in which the cue ball is not stroked but is instead rolled down the groove formed by two cue...
10 Dead Guys Not in Hall of Fame (But Should Be)

10 Dead Guys Not in Hall of Fame (But Should Be)

Hall of Fame induction can mark the culmination of a grand career. Past winners include Johnny Archer, Alison Fisher, Willie Mosconi, Ralph Greenleaf and the great Willie Hoppe.  The most important promoters of the game, such as American Poolplayers Association founders Larry Hubbart and Terry Bell, have also gained entry. But several important personalities have...

The Dean of Pocket Billiards: Memories of Onofrio Lauri

From left: Willie Mosconi, Onofrio Lauri, Irving Crane. Erling Hammarstrom, the son of Norwegian parents, wrote me a few years back to recount stories of his poolroom hero, the famous Onofrio Lauri. I’ve reproduced his letter,  shortened somewhat for space. My sister and our parents settled in Brooklyn, in a neighborhood called Bay Ridge. The year was 1953 and I had just graduated...