Eddie Taylor

vapros

Verified Member
Joined
May 24, 2004
Messages
3,807
Alfie on Eddie

For some reason I never realized that Eddie Taylor was one of the best all-around pool players ever. Always thought he was just a great banker. But Alfie Taylor (no relation) sent me a DVD recently, one he had prepared to celebrate the life and times of the Knoxville Bear, and the video opened with the Billiard Expo of 1993 and right out of the gate came a procession of pool greats to assure me that Eddie was among the all-time best. Several commented that he was indeed the best of them all. I recall Steve Mizerak, James Rempe, Nick Varner, Grady Mathews, Kim Davenport, Mike Sigel and several others who all were solid fans of the Bear. How many of you have ever seen Jean Balukas, or heard her speak? Here's your chance - she likes Eddie, too. Also at the Expo was the Hall of Fame ceremony at which Eddie Taylor's talent and character were officially recognized and noted for history.

Sadly, there was no footage of Taylor in action. It may be that there has never been any, which would indeed be bad news, although many other big names may have been similarly overlooked. On the brighter side, we did get some bits of advice on the game and could watch him as he knocked down a number of bank shots on a practice table. Eddie was all southern, without a doubt. "They was a stower next dower" is from one of his tales. When he moved to Shreveport, I'm certain he fit right in. He said that all the action was in the south, also, with bank pool being the favorite in a large area around Knoxville.

He left home to follow a hustler's life in his mid-teens, and was never challenged to produce his ID, as he always wore a suit, tie and hat, and moved among the men. Before long he partnered with the great Earl Shriver and learned the best ways to hustle. His early life on the road was in the Depression years, and action was often for dimes and quarters, but at that time one could pay his rent and buy his lunch with only a few coins. He reminds us that it was not always a sweet existence and tells of sleeping in depots, bus stations, parks and in his car, when he had one. It was a time when many doors were left unlocked, drivers were happy to pick up hitchhikers, and hustlers were generally tolerated. In contrast with Alfie Taylor's own story, told in his book, The Other Side of the Road, Eddie could recall only once when he had felt he was in danger for life.

The DVD includes thumbnail sketches and artist renderings of many of the pool greats Taylor knew and played, most of them long gone now. There is also a gallery of glamour illustrations of the ladies on the current women's tour - all quite beautiful. A great feat of imagination on the part of the illustrator in many cases.

Best of all was the lengthy interview, in Eddie's Shreveport home, by the Bear's number one fan and ardent admirer, Alfie. It was done only a month after a near fatal heart failure, during which his wife, Violet, refused to let him die. Eddie was a delightful old man, with great stories and recollections of matches, exhibitions and champion players, with nothing but kind words for every one of them. You will wish you could have known him.

He died in 2005 at age 87, without any regrets, wishing he could do it all again, the same way.
How many of us, how many old pool hustlers, will be so fortunate?
 

NH Steve

Administrator
Joined
Apr 25, 2004
Messages
9,268
Alfie on Eddie

For some reason I never realized that Eddie Taylor was one of the best all-around pool players ever. Always thought he was just a great banker. But Alfie Taylor (no relation) sent me a DVD recently, one he had prepared to celebrate the life and times of the Knoxville Bear, and the video opened with the Billiard Expo of 1993 and right out of the gate came a procession of pool greats to assure me that Eddie was among the all-time best. Several commented that he was indeed the best of them all. I recall Steve Mizerak, James Rempe, Nick Varner, Grady Mathews, Kim Davenport, Mike Sigel and several others who all were solid fans of the Bear. How many of you have ever seen Jean Balukas, or heard her speak? Here's your chance - she likes Eddie, too. Also at the Expo was the Hall of Fame ceremony at which Eddie Taylor's talent and character were officially recognized and noted for history.

Sadly, there was no footage of Taylor in action. It may be that there has never been any, which would indeed be bad news, although many other big names may have been similarly overlooked. On the brighter side, we did get some bits of advice on the game and could watch him as he knocked down a number of bank shots on a practice table. Eddie was all southern, without a doubt. "They was a stower next dower" is from one of his tales. When he moved to Shreveport, I'm certain he fit right in. He said that all the action was in the south, also, with bank pool being the favorite in a large area around Knoxville.

He left home to follow a hustler's life in his mid-teens, and was never challenged to produce his ID, as he always wore a suit, tie and hat, and moved among the men. Before long he partnered with the great Earl Shriver and learned the best ways to hustle. His early life on the road was in the Depression years, and action was often for dimes and quarters, but at that time one could pay his rent and buy his lunch with only a few coins. He reminds us that it was not always a sweet existence and tells of sleeping in depots, bus stations, parks and in his car, when he had one. It was a time when many doors were left unlocked, drivers were happy to pick up hitchhikers, and hustlers were generally tolerated. In contrast with Alfie Taylor's own story, told in his book, The Other Side of the Road, Eddie could recall only once when he had felt he was in danger for life.

The DVD includes thumbnail sketches and artist renderings of many of the pool greats Taylor knew and played, most of them long gone now. There is also a gallery of glamour illustrations of the ladies on the current women's tour - all quite beautiful. A great feat of imagination on the part of the illustrator in many cases.

Best of all was the lengthy interview, in Eddie's Shreveport home, by the Bear's number one fan and ardent admirer, Alfie. It was done only a month after a near fatal heart failure, during which his wife, Violet, refused to let him die. Eddie was a delightful old man, with great stories and recollections of matches, exhibitions and champion players, with nothing but kind words for every one of them. You will wish you could have known him.

He died in 2005 at age 87, without any regrets, wishing he could do it all again, the same way.
How many of us, how many old pool hustlers, will be so fortunate?
Very well written -- could not have said it better, so I'm just going to piggyback and add, "what he said".:D
 

TWO PICKS

Verified Member
Joined
Oct 26, 2008
Messages
224
For sure maybe the best all around player ever. In the eightys Eddie came and visited me and Bananas Rodriguez his friend. He banked a few balls. What a stroke.
 
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