View Full Version : Still Remembering Jack Colavita

10-02-2005, 03:22 PM
I had meant to post earlier about this but was not able to. The only way I know Jack Colavita is through Accustats, so I thought I would share a little about this.

The only straight pool tape that I know of that features Jack playing is from the 1989 US Open Straight Pool Championship in Chicago. Jack Colavita plays and defeats Ray Martin, by a score of 150-128 or so. The tape is no longer available from Accustats, and has not been for some time now. It also has no commentary, which is not necessarily a bad thing. In the match Jack Colavita plays better than Ray Martin, and deserves to win. But both players missed shots they have no business missing. Of course, that's what happens in straight pool.

In another tape from that same tournament (Steve Mizerak defeats Nick Varner) Sammy Jones comes into the booth to do a little commentary with Billy Incardona and Grady Mathews. My memory of this is not perfect, but they were discussing Mizerak when Sammy mentions that Steve Mizerak once had Jack down by a score of 100-0 after about twenty minutes or so. This because Jack had just defeated Steve two straight games, which apparently did not sit well with Mr. Mizerak. Sammy then mentions that Jack Colavita has been playing so well on table number seven in New Jersey. I thought that was a nice thing to say. Perhaps somebody from NJ knows the pool hall they would have been playing at in 1989?

The only straight pool tape that I know of in which Jack Colavita does commentary is a match from the 1992 US Open
between Jim Rempe and Allen Hopkins (Rempe beat Hopkins 150-142). Jack did the color commentary to Grady Mathews play by play. At the beginning of the match Grady says that Jack Colavita could be the greatest straight pool player that ever lived from a technical view point. Grady said that when players like Mike Sigel have a question about the proper way to run a pattern, they ask Jack Colavita. At the end of the match Johnny Ervolino enters the booth and Johnny and Jack both say how hard the other was to beat back in the day. To quote Johnny, "you Jersey boys sure were tough."

For those of you who have read Willie's Game (Willie Mosconi's autobiography), you may remember at the end of the book he was talking about how his era was coming to a close, that guys like him, Caras, Crane, etc. were all retiring. He then says that they were being replaced by hustlers like Johnny Ervolino and Jack Colavita.

I met Jack very briefly before the start of a charity event held at Amsterdam on the East Side. Such a nice man.


10-10-2005, 11:46 PM

10-11-2005, 10:26 AM

Someone once told me that he had had the opportunity to watch Mizerak play lots of straight pool (practice - non-tournament) for extended periods of time. This was quite the sight. DL

"I could have beaten those guys without them knowing a thing, but I just had to show them how beautiful the game could be when it is played right." Fast Eddie

Fran Crimi
10-11-2005, 12:27 PM
Jack's advice still rings in my ears. I remember him teaching me how to play position off the rails. He used to say, "Use the rails---it allows you to stroke through the shot better."

Here's a typical Jack Colivita play:

The game is 14.1. You're shooting the key ball. Old school was to jack up a little, shorten your bridge, tighten up the back hand and punch the shot to slide the cb over into position on the break shot. Jack would stroke the shot, pocketing the ball with ease, letting the cb run to the rail and float out for position on the break ball. He made it look effortless.

wei table (http://endeavor.med.nyu.edu/~wei/pool/instroke/instroke_table.html)