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View Full Version : A trip to Cincinnati (long)



Tom_In_Cincy
05-20-2002, 08:49 PM
From my collection of stories,

Enjoy

"Richard posted this story on the CCB in April,2001 about his road trip to Cinci in 1963. I copied it and saved it cuz it was so interesting! Thought some would like it. I never met or knew him but admired his stories..Roger.
Road Trip By Richard "Dipper" Blount I guess a lot of you have read the story about how I got started playing pool. Every word was the truth and, after 43 years I am still at it (playing that is). I quit for 14 years but started back in 1995 and am enjoying it more than I ever did before. A lot has changed, that's for sure. Since my return I have seen a lot of players at the tournaments I go to that are from the old days. Here's another true story about one of my early road trips and what happened to me. I was 18 years old and as full of myself as I could be because the players in my home town of Hazard, Kentucky had been telling me that I was going to be the best player that ever came out of Hazard. I believed them. So here I went. Now by the time I was 18, I thought I was a "seasoned and smart player" with everything it took to be a "world champion". Most of my trips had been to Lexington, Kentucky where I had learned an awful lot (at a big cost to me). But I felt I was ready for the big time so I got my clothes, road stick and climbed aboard the Greyhound Bus (didn't have a car) and headed for Covington, Kentucky where I had kin folks and knew I had a free place to stay. The very next day I road the Green Line Bus (cost a dime for a token) over to Cincinnati and found my way to Mergaurd's Pool Room and Bowling Alley. Nine ball and full rack Bank Pool were the only two games I would play. As all players know Kentucky has a strong reputation for bank pool. And, I thought I hit them pretty good. It was before noon when I hit the doors at Merguards and proudly announced to the small crowd there "I'm Richard Blount from Hazard, Kentucky and I play bank pool. Anyone want to play?" Now I had heard about the big name players in the Cincinnati area but didn't know them by sight. On this day they were all sitting in Merguards when I made my entrance. Joey Spath, Cincinnati Clem, Donnie "The Cincinnati Kid" Anderson and last but not least Eddie Taylor, The Knoxville Bear and greatest bank player that ever lived. Needless to say what happened to me and my "wad" of about $200.00. The next morning I went down to Jimmy Breedie's Shoe Shop beside the Odeon Pool Room on Pike Street in Covington. I didn't have to tell Jimmy what had happened because he had already heard. But being my friend he loaned me a $100.00 without question. He asked me if I was going back to Merguards and I said "yes." My cousin's house was on 42nd and Decoursey in Lationia, a long way from the Ohio River that separated Kentucky and Ohio. When they got through with me the second day I didn't even have a dime for a bus token and I had to walk from downtown Cincinnati across the bridge over the Ohio and then 42 blocks to my cousins. It was a very humbling experience for me. My cousin Ann bought me a bus ticket back to Hazard. When I got home my dad asked how was my trip and did I make any money. I told him all about it and looked at him and said "who would have thought that there would be four players as good as those guys were in a little old town like Cincinnati". I'll never forget what my dad said. "Son, Cincinnati has over one million people in and around it so you stay out of those places that big. I did! A year or so ago I ran into "Gene the machine" at a tournament in Abingdon, Virginia and we got to talking. I had heard about him in the old days so as we talked we knew a lot of the old time players from around the country. When he wondered aloud why he and I had never crossed paths in Baltimore, Philly, Detroit or Chicago to name just a few I told him the same story I just told you. I stayed away from those places like my dad said to. I went to Louisville, Kentucky to play in the Derby City (banks only) tournament last year (Jan. 2000). I know I didn't have a shot at the one pocket or 9 ball and really couldn't take that much time out from my business to stay for the entire tournament. I was talking to Truman Hoauge, a great bank player himself from Louisville and I asked him about Donnie Anderson. I hadn't seen Donnie since that time in 1963 in Cincinnati. Truman told me that Donnie was there for the tournament and pointed him out. There he was, long blond hair in a pony tail, sandals and 71 years old. I decided to go down and speak to him knowing that he would never remember me. I walked up to him at the table where he was warming up and said Donnie, (extending my hand to shake his) I'm sure you don't remember me and then he "shushed me and smiled" saying to his friend Ron, "this is the little, fat bank player from those coal mining hills of Kentucky" and proceeded to tell Ron the story I have just told here. We talked and laughed about what happened in '63 and then Donnie asked me if I remembered what Eddie Taylor told me after I had gone broke the second day. I told Donnie "I've never forgotten it." Naturally I was running my mouth even after being thrashed by the four players (they took turns with me). Taylor looked at me and said "son, only two types of players would walk into a pool room carrying a stick and announcing that they were a player looking for action, a professional or a fool and a professional wouldn't do it. Go back home to those hills in Kentucky and stay there" he had added. Donnie, Ron and myself along with the others who had gathered around us in Louisville all just laughed when he (Donnie) told that and then Donnie looked at me and said "do you remember what you said to Eddie? I told Donnie no, but I'm quite sure it was something from my "smart mouth" and laughed. Donnie chuckled and said "you called Eddie Taylor a lucky old man and told him to come to Hazard and you would play him some more for whatever he wanted to play for." I am quite sure Donnie Anderson was right on the money when he told me what I said to Taylor that day so long ago. Donnie wasn't in Louisville this year for the Derby City Classic and I'm sorry he wasn't. It is always good to see the old time players and get a chance to go back in time even if the time we go back to have some not so good memories. The table with the green felt and six pockets is still "my only mistress" even after 43 years."

Sadly Richard has passed away and I never got a chance to play Banks against him at the Derby City Classic, but I will have this story to remember him.

Rod
05-20-2002, 09:34 PM
That was a good story Tom, and I do remember that from last year. To bad Richard passed away but he sure had some fond memories of the game. Wasn't there a web site in Hazard or KY somewhere that has a story about him?

Tom_In_Cincy
05-21-2002, 07:06 AM
Yes, it was a newspaper site, that mentioned the story and his passing. Sorry, I don't have the link.

05-21-2002, 11:41 AM

MikeM
05-21-2002, 04:34 PM
Great article Tom. Can we get some more from your collection?

MM

Ralph S.
05-21-2002, 10:54 PM
Great story Tom, looking forward to more as I know an old timer myself that has some wonderful stories.
Ralph S.

Gayle in MD
05-22-2002, 01:11 AM
Thank you Tom, interesting post.
Gayle in Md

05-22-2002, 05:45 AM
Whitewolf, I just saw Mike a few months ago. He lives on a sailboat near Bradenton, FL, and sailed up my way (northwest FL) for a few days. It was the first time I'd seen him in a few years, and we spent several nights reminiscing.
Andy G.

BillPorter
05-22-2002, 05:57 AM
Nice story, Tom. Thanks for the post.

JimS
05-22-2002, 06:53 AM
I'm a lucky man. The Dipper was the first ccb guy I ever met and what a neat person he was!

He went way out of his way to see to it that I had a great time at my first pro tournament and took the time to haul me around the room and introduce me to all my heroes.....Nick, Archer, Buddy, Dallas West, Grady.

He passed just a few weeks after that. I'll remember Richard for the rest of my life. He was that sort of guy.....memorable!

SPetty
05-22-2002, 12:21 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote: Rod:</font><hr> That was a good story Tom, and I do remember that from last year. To bad Richard passed away but he sure had some fond memories of the game. Wasn't there a web site in Hazard or KY somewhere that has a story about him? <hr></blockquote>Hi Rod,

You may be thinking about this one:

http://www.wsgs.com/big1.htm

Wally_in_Cincy
05-23-2002, 09:24 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote: JimS:</font><hr> I'm a lucky man. The Dipper was the first ccb guy I ever met and what a neat person he was!
<hr></blockquote>

Hey Jim, what was his screen name here? Was it "The Big Dipper"? My memory is failing me..

bigalerickson
05-23-2002, 06:56 PM
Tom,

Thanks for the great story. (Note to self: Never walk in announcing to the crowd that Im looking for action).