View Full Version : brooklyn days

06-24-2004, 08:00 PM

I'm new, first post.

I read "Hustler Days" a month or two ago and it has created an avalanche of nostalgia for me. Since then I 've bought the dvds of the Hustler and The Color of Money, the book about McGoorty, Riding The Rails, Byrnes collection of short stories, and other stuff.

When I was 16-17 I used to shoot pool at Ovington in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn (now Hall of Fame). I never saw Jean Balukas play but her posters were on the Wall, she was a prodigy. It was run by Onofrio Lauri who we used to call "The Sheik"(don't know why). He was a character, I can still see him behind the desk with an umbrella out when the Yankees were losing. I was a mediocre player and he used to play me 100-20. My favorite memory is running 13 & out on him and the expression on his face. He used to give me time on a back table if I brushed some for him. Tony Meatball was ALWAYS there, sitting by himself in his muscle shirt and pencil stripe mustache. He was sociable if you talked to him but I don't think I ever saw him start a conversation. I was saddened recently to read of his passing. I remember Jersey Red playing one night but don't remember the details. I think he did a coupla trick shots and maybe played Tony M.

I could go on but here's what I wanna know. Are there any stories in back issues Of any magazines that talk about either Lauri or Tony. I think I read somehere that Lauri died right after or during a run of 70 balls. I would like to read any old stories about these guys that are around. Can anybody recommend any?

Those were great days.

Best to all of you,

06-25-2004, 07:01 AM
Welcome to the board, Razorio. I hope you'll stick around and share some of your stories.

#### leonard
06-25-2004, 08:14 AM
Onifrio Lauri is my all time great athlete. I tried to vote for him for being the greatest old athlete in the World but couldn't enter his name.

Lauri was leading the 1971 Worlds Championship at age 73/74. There were fifty players, so Fred Whelan divide the tourney into 5 divisions of ten players. The first two in each division would play for the Title. Lauri won his divison 9-0 and was leading 6-0 in the finals, when the California Earthquake hit. It upset him so that he lost his next three games and Ray [CoolCat] Martin won the Tournament. Ray refused to leave the table during the aftershocks and the press gave him that nickname.

Lauri returned to Ny and was playing Pete "The Vegetable Man" 150 to 125. Pete needed 10 balls or so and Lauri need 125. Lauri was running out on Pete, he made the last break shot and was clearing the balls to win the game. He shot the 8 ball in the corner and turned around to Pete and said that was my last shot and collapsed and died. That story was told to me by Pete.

Most people his age, Arnold Palmer 73 can play but not compete but Lauri could still play his best at his age. He lost the Worlds Championship to Greenleaf in the 20s by 2 balls. When the referee said playing for two Lauri gave his famous "No Praying for Two" and he was stil competing 50 years later.####