Is Fats a fit?

wincardona

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wincardona said:
Fat's best game was one pocket, when he gambled he played one pocket, when he boasted it was about one pocket. How good was he?? You have to give him the benefit of the doubt, the whole world thought he was the best. Only the top players disagreed, and when it comes down to it, don't you have to side with the world?:D
I believe in magic, the tooth fairy, and Minnesota Fats:cool:
 

fred bentivegna

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Answered 1 and 2, 20 times already

Answered 1 and 2, 20 times already

lll said:
would some of you answer question #1 and #2
I have answered "Yes" in English, Chinese, Russian and Gibberish at least 20 times already.

Beard
 

lll

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i realize that freddy:) just thought this would get to the bottom line:cool:
 

#Cruncher

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Who was better?

Who was better?

I'm a litttle confused about Fat's 1 pocket ability in the forties and fifties, not that anyone still alive really knows how well he played. Does anyone (Freddy) know how he stacked up against the likes of "Pony" from Bensingers?
 

lfigueroa

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NH Steve said:
Dick, I don't think the facts bear out your contention that Fats was made a star by the movie. The movie contributed his name, as well as the environment of media hype that fueled the pool boom in the 60's but it was the Johnston City media coverage that "discovered" Fats, and he took it from there. If you are saying Fats would have been nothing without the movie, you would also have to say that pool in general would have been nothing in the 60's without the movie. That would pretty near have to wipe out Johnston City, as well as the whole action boom that swept the country in the 60's -- and out with that would go a certain player from San Jose, who would have found no great action scene to thrive in himself for those years, if not for the movie, and most likely would have gone to a day job a whole lot sooner than he did :)

An interesting passage -- as I continue picking books off the shelf at random -- from Grady''s "Bet High and Kiss Low"

"A few of the notables I have gambled against and bet my own money: ...San Jose Dick (who liked action so much that he'd sometimes rent tow tables next to each other, and gambled at the same time with two different opponents..."

Lou Figueroa
 

lfigueroa

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wincardona said:
Was it fast Eddie that said "even if you beat me i'm still the best";)

ah yes, one other quote, this one from "Buddy Hall: Rags to Rifleman, Then What?"

"Walter Tevis, the author of The Hustler, told Buddy Hall that he got the idea for the fictitious character 'Fast Eddie Felson,' after watching Eddie Taylor play. Tevis named the main character after Taylor, and Fast Eddie's first hustle is a bet on a tricky bank shot. The drinking lifestyle, the great shooting, were obviously fashioned after the one and only, ORIGINAL Fast Eddie -- Eddie Taylor. Walter Tevis himself said so."

I don't know how I missed that the first read. And in a way, it makes a lot of sense.

Lou Figueroa
 

jay helfert

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Sorry to join the party so late, but I got here before it was over anyway. I knew both Fats and Tevis very well. They were both great for pool in their own way. Tevis wrote the all time best seller The Hustler, that revitalized pool in the 60's and brought it out of the doldrums of the 50's.

It is true that Fats capitalized on the Minnesota Fats character that Tevis conjured up. But oh how lucky we were that he did! There was never another human being like Fatty, and never will be. He was THE PIED PIPER! People loved him everywhere he went! He was the biggest pool star since Greenleaf in this country, far eclipsing Mosconi in fame. Fats was a household name and recognized by EVERYONE! He was funny as sh-t and pretty damn smart on a variety of subjects, with his down home logic. Even Mohammed Ali said Fats was The Greatest!

I don't care if he could make a ball or not. The man did more for pool than anyone else of his generation and it isn't even close! By the way, he could play too! Don't ever think for a minute that Fats wasn't a real pool hustler, because he was. And a damn good one even after he became famous. I was there to witness some of his big scores, like when he robbed hot shooting Richie Florence out of over 25K playing One Hole getting 8-7. Freddie knows how good Fats banked. Very few players could ever bank a ball back into their hole from the second diamond (with the cue ball buried near his own pocket) as good as Fats. And go three rails for shape and run out! HELLO! I saw it, more than once!

No, he couldn't beat the top One Pocket players of his era even, but he robbed them all if they gave him weight. He was smarter than any of them when it came to matching up. And that's what One Pocket is all about anyway!
 
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Deeman

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Jay,

I think the only people to have a beef with fats on his claims of being the best would be the few who could actually beat him at the game. As you said, he was great for the game and if some of the, perhaps, better players of his day had had the outstanding personality he possessed, along with the ability to entertain, they would have been able to challenge his role as the most famous. Not too many could hold a candle to his storytelling, in pool and outside pool.

I remember Danny D. being insensed that Fat's could get away with his claims but, in truth, the audiences watching the others play were far bigger because of Fat's entertainment value.

To be successful, you use what God gave you, be it mouth, cue or bravado
and it seems he had pleanty of all three! :)

DeeMan
 

fred bentivegna

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Fats and Pony

Fats and Pony

#Cruncher said:
I'm a litttle confused about Fat's 1 pocket ability in the forties and fifties, not that anyone still alive really knows how well he played. Does anyone (Freddy) know how he stacked up against the likes of "Pony" from Bensingers?
I shall repeat this post I just made from, Fats and Chicago, post #4.


"Fats pulled this hustle in Bensingers in the 40s. Chicago Pony Rosen was probably the best onepocket player in Bensingers at that time. He usually played very cheap, but everybody loved to bet on him and his games, because he had a reputation for never doing business. Fats was playing Pony 8 to 7 for $10 a game. Unlike what some people think, Fats had a very big reputation and everybody wanted to bet on Fats. So Fats had his cohorts stationed in the poolroom, and they were all betting on Pony. Fats sluffed off all the $10 games to an unwitting Pony and his partners were collecting $200-300 a game on the side. Nobody woke up, and Fats made a nice score. Pony was tickled as he made $80 or $100 at the $10 level. Pony woke to it later, and loved to tell the story. "He kept leaving me banks." Pony said. "I couldnt understand it. In those days if I got a shot I was gone."

Beard

I had made a video of this match to prove that it really happened, (that's the kind of evidence I must provide now to be credible), but over the 50 yrs since I heard the story, somehow the video got lost. Sorry.
 

fred bentivegna

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Heres what dont make sense

Heres what dont make sense

lfigueroa said:
ah yes, one other quote, this one from "Buddy Hall: Rags to Rifleman, Then What?"

"Walter Tevis, the author of The Hustler, told Buddy Hall that he got the idea for the fictitious character 'Fast Eddie Felson,' after watching Eddie Taylor play. Tevis named the main character after Taylor, and Fast Eddie's first hustle is a bet on a tricky bank shot. The drinking lifestyle, the great shooting, were obviously fashioned after the one and only, ORIGINAL Fast Eddie -- Eddie Taylor. Walter Tevis himself said so."

I don't know how I missed that the first read. And in a way, it makes a lot of sense.

Lou Figueroa
If you read the book, you would realize that Fast Eddie didnt make a bank shot per se, but a tricky kick.

Beard
 

P00lh0li0

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Hello,

I have a question about Fats when he matched up with someone. When I was taking pool up seriously, a few guys told me that Fats would only match up with a top player when that player was drunk, tired, or hopped up on something while Fats never drank, smoked, and was well rested. I was told that was how he was able to beat them. An example given was when Fats beat Florence because Florence was drunk or something then Fats played him. Is this true or just some guys trying impress me by knocking Fats? Thanks.
 

gulfportdoc

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Originally Posted by lll
dont know if this will help or not but here's a few questions.
#1 in the years fats was in his prime (i think 1930's 40's 50's) was he considered one of the best?
#2 after his prime you cant argue, icbw, he became a public figure as minnesoata fats. SO,, did he promote the game of one pocket and help expand the player base that played? whether this came along for the ride while he was promoting himself i think is a side issue.
#3 if you answer yes/yes he deserves to be in the hof.imho
#4 if you answer no/yes does he still belong in the hof under promoter teacher criteria?
#5 if you answer no/no then he does not deserve to be in the hof. imho
lll said:
would some of you answer question #1 and #2
My answer would be: "Maybe/No". But I agree that the issues should be separated. That is: #1. Does Wanderone's expertise at one-pocket qualify him for 1P HOF? #2. Did his promotion of one-pocket qualify him for 1P HOF? And #3. Was he in actual fact the "Minnesota Fats" character as portrayed by Tevis/Rossen in The Hustler?

#1. The consensus seems to be that “New York Fats” had always been a very good one-pocket player. Apparently there is no one alive today who can attest to his level of play from the 1930’s & 40’s (In what year did 1P come out of Oklahoma anyway?). The next time I see Squirrel, you can be sure that I’ll quiz him about Fats. George Rood would be another one to ask. Evidently most agree that he was 1-2 balls below the best one-pocket players.

#2. There is evidence that Wanderone, along with Hubert Cokes, Marshall Carpenter, and others influenced the Jansco’s to make one-pocket the game in their first Johnston City tournament. Wanderone finished 4th behind Johnny Vevis, Jimmy Moore, and Hubert Cokes (none of whom are in the 1P HOF). But from the time Wanderone assumed and capitalized on the “Minnesota Fats” persona following the release of the movie The Hustler in 1961, it’s questionable whether he promoted the game of 1P. He obviously promoted himself, and to a lesser extent pool in general. As a result of his incessant self-promotion, braggadocio, and the resultant media coverage and popularity, the sport of pocket billiards was benefitted commercially. For that reason he was a shoo-in for the BCA HOF. But what can one point to that RW did to specifically promote the game of one-pocket?

#3. There are a few on this site who apparently believe that the Minnesota Fats character in Tevis’ short stories and book written in the mid 1950’s, along with the Tevis/Rossen movie treatment of The Hustler written in 1959, was based upon Rudolph Wanderone, aka New York Fats. There is no evidence of that, except hearsay. There is no real resemblance of the fictional Minnesota Fats character to Rudolph Wanderone. Both Tevis and his wife vehemently and steadfastly denied from the beginning, and even following Tevis’ death, that the Minnesota Fats character was based on any real human. And that the character of Minnesota Fats was pure literary fiction.

Whether or not one believes that RW heisted the character of Minnesota Fats really has no bearing on his consideration for the 1P HOF. And he really didn’t promote one-pocket in specific to the public. So it comes down to his excellence as a player. If he reportedly played 1-2 balls under the better players, that’s not a good enough qualification for HOF. Perhaps the best fit for Fats would be in the “Lifetime Pool in Action” category, along with Denny Searcy, George Rood, Jimmy Reid, and “Flyboy” Spears. That might satisfy RW’s friends as well as his foes.

Doc
 
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fred bentivegna

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An objective treatise or educated guesses?

An objective treatise or educated guesses?

gulfportdoc said:
My answer would be: "Maybe/No". But I agree that the issues should be separated. That is: #1. Does Wanderone's expertise at one-pocket qualify him for 1P HOF? #2. Did his promotion of one-pocket qualify him for 1P HOF? And #3. Was he in actual fact the "Minnesota Fats" character as portrayed by Tevis/Rossen in The Hustler?

#1. The consensus seems to be that “New York Fats” had always been a very good one-pocket player. Apparently there is no one alive today who can attest to his level of play from the 1930’s & 40’s (In what year did 1P come out of Oklahoma anyway?). The next time I see Squirrel, you can be sure that I’ll quiz him about Fats. George Rood would be another one to ask. Evidently most agree that he was 1-2 balls below the best one-pocket players.

You are a little late. I quizzed people about how Fats played in the
30s & 40s, 50 years ago. Plus, I have actually seen him play for $3-500 a game. George Rood was a great 9 ball and straight pool player and wasnt reknown for road trips. I have already discussed how straight pool players viewed 1 pkt players. In a "Fats in Chicago" thread I related how Fats played Pony Rosen in Bensingers, spotting him 8 to 7. Here are some more stories out of the Pony/Bensinger archives. For a big money bet I could probably dig out another old man or two like me, who can verify these tales.

For that "1-2 balls under" thing, dont include me in that over reaching, "most agree," declaration. Here are some other points of reference. As a young kid in Bensingers I sucked up all the old lore regarding the joints glorious past. Here are three more big money matches that occurred at Bensingers on 29 W Randolph st. In the 40s Pony played and beat Eddie Taylor on a 4 1/2 by 9 getting only 8 to 7! Most of the sweators thought Pony outran the nuts. Pony also played Rags Fitzpatrick in the 40s. Rags won a bushel of money when he played Pony 8 to 7 and the break (4 1/2 x 9), and robbed him. Most of the sweators thought that Rags outran the nuts. In the 30s, the great, unknown to most, Tommy the Greek (who later moved to 4th and Main in LA) played Pony 8 to 6. In the 60s, a 69 year old Tommy the Greek played Eddie Taylor to a $100 a game, 24 hr draw at 4th and Main.
About a year or so before the first Johnston City, Pony played and beat Weenie Beanie at Bensingers. For a memory refresher, Pony is the player that dropped dead shooting at the game ball against Artie.



#2. There is evidence that Wanderone, along with Hubert Cokes, Marshall Carpenter, and others influenced the Jansco’s to include one-pocket in their new Johnston City tournaments.

The Jansco's didnt "include" one pocket in their new Johnston City tourn. It was the ONLY game the first yr of the tourn, due to Fat's influence. What game would anyone assume Fats would make the Janscos use? It was the first one pocket tourn ever. Can we call that a coincidence? Fats lived in Dowell, IL. About 25 miles away from JC. What got "included" was straight pool and nine ball, in their next tourns.

But from the time Wanderone assumed and capitalized on the “Minnesota Fats” persona following the release of the movie The Hustler in 1961, it’s questionable whether he promoted the game of 1P. He obviously promoted himself, and to a lesser extent pool in general. As a result of his incessant self-promotion, braggadocio, and the resultant media coverage and popularity, the sport of pocket billiards was benefitted commercially. For that reason he was a shoo-in for the BCA HOF. But what can one point to that RW did to specifically promote the game of one-pocket?

Didnt he play it on his two TV shows? Was there some other time in early TV history that anybody got to watch a One pocket game? The rules had to be explained by the narrator, Joe Wilson.

#3. There are a few on this site who apparently believe that the Minnesota Fats character in Tevis’ short stories and book written in the mid 1950’s, along with the Tevis/Rossen movie treatment of The Hustler written in 1959, was based upon Rudolph Wanderone, aka New York Fats. There is no evidence of that, except hearsay. There is no real resemblance of the fictional Minnesota Fats character to Rudolph Wanderone. Both Tevis and his wife vehemently and steadfastly denied from the beginning, and even following Tevis’ death, that the Minnesota Fats character was based on any real human. And that the character of Minnesota Fats was pure literary fiction.

I have made some very salient points that no one has as yet been able to answer rationally (IMO), re real resemblances to the Minnesota character, enough to question the definite quality of your statement, "no real resemblance." I could have let it go if you had ended that with, "In my opinion," instead of a debate proof declaration similar to Al Gore's position on Global Warming. The denials of the victims of a libel suit and an ongoing attack on the Tevis literary ego, is really not much of an argument. If denials were valid, we could dispense with the justice system and just take everybodys word for it. Believe me Doc, there is much more pure justification for me to tell you the truth than them.


Whether or not one believes that RW heisted the character of Minnesota Fats really has no bearing on his consideration for the 1P HOF. And he really didn’t promote one-pocket in specific to the public. So it comes down to his excellence as a player. If he reportedly played 1-2 balls under the better players, that’s not a good enough qualification for HOF. Perhaps the best fit for Fats would be in the “Lifetime Pool in Action” category, along with Denny Searcy, George Rood, Jimmy Reid, and “Flyboy” Spears. That might satisfy RW’s friends as well as his foes.

Doc
Sorry Doc, I was forced to respond.
Fats would come back from the dead and haunt all who voted for a "Lifetime Pool in Action" award for him.
 

gulfportdoc

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Correction

Correction

Correction: My previous post was edited to reflect that one-pocket was the only game played in the first Jansco's Johnston City tournament in 1961. Wanderone finished 4th behind Johnny Vevis, Jimmy Moore, and Hubert Cokes-- none of whom are in the 1P HOF. Should we then consider Vevis, Moore, or Cokes ahead of Wanderone for 1p HOF?

Doc
 

lfigueroa

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fred bentivegna said:
If you read the book, you would realize that Fast Eddie didnt make a bank shot per se, but a tricky kick.

Beard

Right. The fourteen ball.

Taylor probably couldn't have made a kick like that to save his life ;-)

Lou Figueroa
 

fred bentivegna

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Something to consider

Something to consider

gulfportdoc said:
Correction: My previous post was edited to reflect that one-pocket was the only game played in the first Jansco's Johnston City tournament in 1961. Wanderone finished 4th behind Johnny Vevis, Jimmy Moore, and Hubert Cokes-- none of whom are in the 1P HOF. Should we then consider Vevis, Moore, or Cokes ahead of Wanderone for 1p HOF?

Doc
Preaching to the choir. I personally think Connecticut Johnny Vevis, (career shortened due to heroin addiction) and Hubert Cokes also belong in the Onepocket HOF and in no particular order. Fats played a little better than Cokes but couldnt beat, as very few could then, Johnny Vevis. Vevis and Clem was an even game. Jimmy Moore I believe, is in the BCA HOF. A great 9 ball, straight pool (200 ball runner) and snooker player, he didnt play a lot of one pocket. Matter of fact, I dont think Jimmy Moore played in any more of the One Pocket tourns at JC. 9 ball and Straight pool only.


Beard

Its a touchy subject for me, Dockie.
 

jay helfert

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P00lh0li0 said:
Hello,

I have a question about Fats when he matched up with someone. When I was taking pool up seriously, a few guys told me that Fats would only match up with a top player when that player was drunk, tired, or hopped up on something while Fats never drank, smoked, and was well rested. I was told that was how he was able to beat them. An example given was when Fats beat Florence because Florence was drunk or something then Fats played him. Is this true or just some guys trying impress me by knocking Fats? Thanks.
Like I said before, Fats was a very smart hustler. He knew when to play, who to play and how to play him. I don't hold this against him. In fact I admire him for his good sense.
 

jay helfert

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gulfportdoc said:
Correction: My previous post was edited to reflect that one-pocket was the only game played in the first Jansco's Johnston City tournament in 1961. Wanderone finished 4th behind Johnny Vevis, Jimmy Moore, and Hubert Cokes-- none of whom are in the 1P HOF. Should we then consider Vevis, Moore, or Cokes ahead of Wanderone for 1p HOF?

Doc

Wrong info here Doc. Fats finished SECOND to Johnny Vevis in the first Johnston City tourney! He never played in another one after that. I guess he liked the back room action a little better. And maybe he figured that playing in the tournament would only knock his action. Very smart cookie that fat man.
 

gulfportdoc

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jay helfert said:
Wrong info here Doc. Fats finished SECOND to Johnny Vevis in the first Johnston City tourney! He never played in another one after that. I guess he liked the back room action a little better. And maybe he figured that playing in the tournament would only knock his action. Very smart cookie that fat man.
The final four were published by R. A. Dyer in his book, Hustler Days. His information was taken from the archives of Billiards Digest, Pool and Billiards Magazine, and Bowlers Journal and Billiards Review, Marion Daily Republican, Southern Illiniosan, Sports Illustrated, and Mike Shamos' Pool: History, Strategy and Legends. In addition he interviewed JoAnn and David McNeal of Johnston City, Jan Jansco (grandson of Beorge Jansco, Mike Shamos, and Marshall "Tuscaloosa Squirrel" Carpenter.

I'll have to personally do some digging to verify Dyer's report; but I have a feeling he researched his subject pretty well.

I did not attend the 1961 Johnston City event. I was living in Cincinnati at the time, attending the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. Perhaps you attended the event. Weren't you living in Dayton at the time? I may have told you that I played two seasons with the Dayton Philharmonic: '65 & '66. Too bad I hadn't visited the Dayton pool room. We could've met!

Doc
 
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