View Full Version : Heirloom cue ball disappears

07-22-2004, 10:09 AM
Heirloom cue ball disappears

July 22, 2004

Phil Luciano

Anthony White is handy with a pool stick, but he scratched last week.

The East Bluff man lost his cue ball - not off of a pool table, but out of his life. It vanished as he bummed a ride home from a billiard parlor.

That's a big deal to White, 33. The cue ball in question is a family heirloom. Worth maybe $600, it's been in his clan for upwards of 150 years.

"It's got a lot of sentimental value to me," White says. "It's kind of depressing. I just got laid off, and I lost the cue ball."

Billiards is in his blood. His great-great-grandfather (who bought the cue ball long ago) played the game - as did his son and his son and his son, White's father.

"I've been playing pool every since I could see the felt," White says with a cackle.

As White's billiard abilities blossomed, his father gave him the family cue ball.

"It's a male thing - it gets passed down," White says.

The ball traditionally has been kept in a small, green case. But the family never let the white orb collect dust.

"What's the use in having something if you don't use it?" White asks.

Though billiard buffs often carry their own sticks, few bring their own ball. When White would draw his cue ball from its case, an unfamiliar competitor might raise an eyebrow.

"Sometimes, they look at it like, 'What the (heck)?' " he says. "They think it's a trick ball. But it's just elephant tusk."

That's what makes it a great cue ball. "It holds English on five rails," he says.

Translation: Today's cue balls are made of all sorts of stuff: plastic, fiberglass, resin. They're not as dense as an old ivory ball, which keeps its spin (or English) as it caroms around the table. That allows for more accurate bank shots.

Plus, the old balls are valuable. White thinks his would fetch $600 from a collector.

Not that he wants to sell it. He depends on his heirloom ball when he hits local pool halls. He says he plays not for money: "I just play to get away from the world."

The night of July 14, he took on other shooters at Dave's Goodtime Billiards in West Peoria. Heading home at 11 p.m., he started for the bus stop. But two strangers at the billiard parlor - another player and his girlfriend - offered him a ride.

White got into the back seat of the car, a beige sedan. Near his house on East McClure Avenue, he asked the driver to stop for smokes at the Shell station at 1900 N. Knoxville Ave.

As he got out of the car, he left the cue ball and case in the back seat. When he came out of the station, the auto was gone. He has no idea why they left.

"I don't know if they intentionally drove off, knowing (the ball) was in the car," he says.

He filed a police report, but I doubt detectives are scouring pool halls - at least, not on duty. White plans to post a flier at Dave's Goodtime Billiards in search of the driver or the ball. He describes the driver as white, just under 6 feet tall, and 200 pounds - which doesn't exactly pinpoint the guy.

Still, the ball is distinct. It's off-white, except for a bright-white oval discoloration naturally caused when the ball was crafted in the 19th century.

White hopes someone can let him know about his ball. One day, he'd like to give the heirloom to his son. The lad is just 2 1/2 years old but has shown a propensity toward pool.

"He's pretty interested in balls," White says. "That was his first word. It wasn't 'mom' or 'dad.' It was 'ball.' "

- Contact Phil Luciano at pluciano@pjstar.com, 686-3155 or (800) 225-5757, Ext. 3155.

07-22-2004, 10:42 AM
Have you seen my baseball? /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif

Why would you carry something thats been in the family for years around to local clubs? I feel sorry for the guy, but gots ta wonder what he was thinking.

07-22-2004, 10:48 AM
My sentiments exactly. /ccboard/images/graemlins/confused.gif Maybe he should quit smoking also. /ccboard/images/graemlins/laugh.gif

07-22-2004, 03:08 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote woody_968:</font><hr>Why would you carry something thats been in the family for years around to local clubs? I feel sorry for the guy, but gots ta wonder what he was thinking.<hr /></blockquote>
I think the story is bogus. No ivory cue ball that had been used for 150 years would be playable. Also, a used pool-sized ivory cue ball is worth about $50, not $600. (A full set of three carom balls in reasonable condition with a 1920's box is worth about $300.)

I wonder if the story teller was trying to get sympathy.

07-22-2004, 05:42 PM
I agree with you. Why would anybody take an ivory cueball out anyway. To showoff?

DG - this guy isn't playing with a full rack

07-22-2004, 06:09 PM
Maybe the guy stole it, hoping his pregnant wife would swallow it, an....
The part of the story that makes me believe it's a poolhall urban legend..is the baby's first word was "ball"
Maybe if the baby's name is "Tiger"

07-22-2004, 07:12 PM
When someone you dont know well is nice enough to give you a ride home and you ask him to stop for cigarettes, you deserve to lose your stupid cueball. I hope he never finds it! I would take off too under the circumstances.

07-22-2004, 10:42 PM
I think the writer wrote it just as it was told to him or her. It is just another inaccurate pool story in the news. I have guys show me cues that they have some story their grand father was a great player and left it to them and he played Mosconi with the cue. Mean time they are showing me a Budwiser cue of some kind. Some people are just wacky.

Chris Cass
07-22-2004, 11:18 PM

07-23-2004, 12:08 AM
I tend to agree NS. If I read right he was some kind of pool player, probably bad. I can't even believe an old Ivory ball is still in one peice much less roll straight. If he played at all that ball must have felt like a slug hitting phenolic balls.