Johnston City and Minnesota Fats: A Chat with Karen Fox

Johnston City and Minnesota Fats: A Chat with Karen Fox

Karen Fox, widow of Sports Illustrated writer Tom Fox, was there during the ’61 Johnston City tournament. Karen Fox Karen Fox, the widow of Sports Illustrated writer Tom Fox, recounts just below how her late husband came to author what would become one of the most important articles in the history of 20th Century pool. Tom Fox’s “A Hustler’s Holiday in the Lion’s...
LASSITER & FATS: BIG BETS IN TODAY’S DOLLARS

LASSITER & FATS: BIG BETS IN TODAY’S DOLLARS

How much were historic wagers by Lassiter, Fats, and De Oro in today’s dollars? This is what Luther Lassiter said about Norfolk, Virginia, back in the 1940s: “Greatest pool town that’s ever been. You had five or six people there who were really gambling. People had lots of cash, and players from all over the country — anybody that played for money at all —...
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...
Guest Post: The Hustler’s Newman vs Gleason Match Up

Guest Post: The Hustler’s Newman vs Gleason Match Up

The catch, however, is that the match was never really played. By Bryan Johnston Ask any pool player what they consider the greatest pool match ever played and you’ll most likely hear Efren Reyes vs. Earl Strickland, June, 1995. Or perhaps Willie Mosconi vs. Rudolph “Minnesota Fats” Wanderone, Valentine’s Day, 1978. The Reyes/Strickland match is an obvious contender from a pure skill...
Memories of the Johnston City Hustler Jamborees

Memories of the Johnston City Hustler Jamborees

Pool history includes plenty of examples of grander tournaments but few were as colorful as those in Johnston City. I have been thinking a lot lately about the famous 1960s Johnston City tournaments, especially given the recent selection of tournament founders George and Paulie Jansco for posthumous induction into the Billiard Congress Hall of Fame.  The colorful tournaments in Southern...
Wimpy’s Norfolk Years: America’s Greatest Pool Town?

Wimpy’s Norfolk Years: America’s Greatest Pool Town?

Norfolk during World War II was a mecca for big-time pool. Greatest pool town ever? Johnston City you say. New York during the 1960s? Ladies and gentlemen I present for your consideration Norfolk, Virginia. During World War II the Navy town was a wonderland of gambling, top-notch pool hustling and just general pandemonium. It also was in Norfolk that Wimpy Lassiter, arguably...