PDA

View Full Version : Leon Yonders



HALHOULE
01-25-2007, 07:12 AM
A bonafide idiot savant in pool. Never saw him miss any shot.I played him every game there was in the book, and I never pocketed one ball. I played him at Cochrans Pool Hall, and Palace Billiards in San Francisco for months on end. He never bumped any balls, never miscued, never got out of line on any ball. Look him up in the record book. He is there. What makes it even more incredible, he was totally blind in one eye, and held the record of running balls behind his back. He never gave me one ball to shoot.

Chopstick
01-25-2007, 07:49 AM
When did you play him?

Deeman3
01-25-2007, 08:25 AM
Hal,

I have heard of "Behind the Back Leon" but did not know he was a true Idiot Savant. Considering that he never missed, how did he not win every major title of the period. Was his illness/handicap somehow the reason he was never judged the top player fo the day?

I am not questioning your word here but it just makes sense, as he did often compete in tournament play, that he would have been at the top of the heap, given your opinion of him.

DeeMan

dr_dave
01-25-2007, 12:02 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote HALHOULE:</font><hr> A bonafide idiot savant in pool. Never saw him miss any shot.I played him every game there was in the book, and I never pocketed one ball. I played him at Cochrans Pool Hall, and Palace Billiards in San Francisco for months on end. He never bumped any balls, never miscued, never got out of line on any ball. Look him up in the record book. He is there. What makes it even more incredible, he was totally blind in one eye, and held the record of running balls behind his back. He never gave me one ball to shoot.<hr /></blockquote>Hal,

Thanks for sharing the story. I guess depth perception isn't so important in pool after all.

Regards,
Dave

PS: Thank you for using regular sentence case. IS THIS A NEW LOOK FOR YOU?

wolfdancer
01-26-2007, 11:23 AM
Dr.D....maybe at Hals age, typing with caps helps him see more clearly what he is writing.
Deeman..."never misses" in pool terms is not an absolute, but a hyperbole to make a point....a little poetic license, if you will.
"If you played a guy for months, and hardly ever won...you might also swear that he never missed a shot.(course you only play slugs...lol) I think both Robert Byrne and Grady Matthews, who frequented the Palace somewhere around those days....might back up Hal, re Leon.
Chopstick.....I think this was late 60s,early 70s. Cochrans had been closed for some 15 to 20 years when Tony A put together a group of investors, to reopen it as the Q Club.
After evicting the pigeons and rats that had taken up residency, clearing away the dust and debris....the contractor worked some magic, and BD listed it in its top ten new rooms that year (1991)
Great room (37 mostly old Brunswick and some Rebco tables, 5 of them billiards tables, a couple of 10 ftrs, a snooker table in its own area, and a private room with 3 tables)...bad location....the gals from the nearby strip club took their breaks there,we let them relax in the private room, some of the gentlemen that provided ladies for "entertainment" had their evenings libation there....Hennessy is de rigueur if you run an "escort" service.
After a series of owners, last I heard its now a Korean nightclub, with a few tables remaining. I think the ghosts of Welker Cochran, and some of the past greats still stop by......

dr_dave
01-26-2007, 11:38 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote wolfdancer:</font><hr> Dr.D....maybe at Hals age, typing with caps helps him see more clearly what he is writing.<hr /></blockquote>You're right ... that might be the reason, so I shouldn't joke about it. I just had to respond, because this was the first message I think I ever saw him post in sentence case. In the computer e-mail world, ALL CAPS is sometimes interpreted as "flaming" aggression.

The next thing you know, madMac will start using English (instead of his weird, phonetic Australian dialect).

Respectfully (and jokingly),
Dave

PS to Hal: Hal, if it is a vision problem, type in all CAPS in Microsoft Word, select the text with the mouse, and select "Change Case" under the "Format" menu. It will automatically change the text to sentence case. Then you can past this into your posting. Regards, Dave.

Deeman3
01-26-2007, 12:11 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote wolfdancer:</font><hr> Hennessy is de rigueur if you run an "escort" service.
<hr /></blockquote>

<font color="blue"> Wow, so that was what that girl was drnking....

Wolfdancer, Of course, Chopstick and I know the term "never missed" as I have applied that myself too many times. My point is/was was he really a true Idiot Savant? I didn't know if Wild Hal was exergerating that of if, indeed, such a mental impairment/enhancement would translate to lights out pool. My interest stems from the knowledge that Idiot Savants, with only a few exceptions have seom motor skills challenges as well as the mental ones they possess. So, someone out there who may or may not know the clinical definition of Leon's ailment might be able to let me/us know if this level of pool is possible with a real Idiot Savant. I don't recall any athletic savants if you ignore the fictional "Pinball Wizard" of The Who fame. I might guess that the very damage that inserts teh disease into a person's life may eliminate the small motor skills needed to perform. I could see a savant knowing the angles necessary for a geometric theoretical 236 railer into the corner (yes, I know that's mathmatically impossible) and even one who might conjure the actual path considering english, accumulated spin, friction loss and french fry grease adjustment but can any perfrom with the needed acumen to shoot the shots? Inquiring minds are anxiously inserting confused fingers into their noses and contemplating third nuckle depth.....</font color>

DeeMan
has a savant dog, can find his own butt in a single bound....

Brian in VA
01-26-2007, 01:16 PM
Deeman,

Moe Norman, who was a Canadian professional golfer from the late 50s, was referred to as a savant. Those who saw him play said he was the purest striker of the golf ball ever. I'll have to look it up but there was an article about him in golf digest sometime last year talking about him. He never distinguised himself on the tour because of his social disabilities but his peers all just stared in awe when he hit a golf ball.

I think they exist but it's less like to happen. If you've ever seen Tiger Woods hit a shot live, you'd think he was one, too. But in his case, it's just hard work.

Brian in VA

wolfdancer
01-26-2007, 03:24 PM
I also think the idiot savant was a slight exaggeration. There does seem to be a corollary though that great shooters aren't necessarily the brightest bulb on the tree.
The older guys usually dropped out of school early, and their focus was on 3c's instead of the 3r's.
(So how good a shooter are you?)
I think my advanced degree, a GED, held me back from achieving mastery of the felt.

dr_dave
01-26-2007, 03:27 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote wolfdancer:</font><hr>I think my advanced degree, a GED, held me back from achieving mastery of the felt.<hr /></blockquote>
GED rhymes with PhD, so it must be pretty good.
/ccboard/images/graemlins/wink.gif
Dave

wolfdancer
01-26-2007, 03:30 PM
I never read where Moe had any learning disabilities. Did read though that his unique swing theories went against all the accepted standards that were being taught...and he was, in effect...blacklisted. I think he may have won the Canadian Open....more than once?
"Natural Golf" has evolved from Moe's ideas....and we have at least one "Natural golfer" on the board....RandyG

wolfdancer
01-26-2007, 03:34 PM
You just need book smarts to get a Phd....GED's require street smarts /ccboard/images/graemlins/confused.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/tongue.gif

JPB
01-26-2007, 05:17 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote wolfdancer:</font><hr> I never read where Moe had any learning disabilities. Did read though that his unique swing theories went against all the accepted standards that were being taught...and he was, in effect...blacklisted. I think he may have won the Canadian Open....more than once?
"Natural Golf" has evolved from Moe's ideas....and we have at least one "Natural golfer" on the board....RandyG <hr /></blockquote>

I don't think he was "blacklisted" so much as he didn't like the social interaction/lifestyle/whatever that playing the tour entailed. He certainly was not blacklisted for any swing theories. He did play some tour events and was respected by the players. Mostly he played in Canada, spent some winters in Florida. Especially later in life, and towards the end Acushnet/Titleist paid him a monthly salary. I am pretty sure he had some form of autism or something. He grew up poor and back then they didn't know that much about his conditions. Obviously he wasn't such a severe case that he couldn't function, but his unusual behavior was probably due to his condition. I am going from memory here of what I have read about him, so if I am wrong on anything....

Also,he hit as many balls as anybody. He was not a long hitter with his swing, but was accurate. Not just hit the fairway accurate, but hit the thing in the middle of the clubface everytime without hitting the tee accurate. He broke fewer tees than any golfer ever, saying "I hit balls, not tees." Legend has it he used one tee for months or somethng and when it broke he said "Oh, that was a good tee." So he was a golf genius.

wolfdancer
01-26-2007, 05:27 PM
I didn't know the autism part of Moe's story....didn't know about the tees either, but did read he was the most accurate ball striker of his day, and to add to the hype, they added that he was paid not to play pro golf here....the story was he would have put a lot of teachers out of business?
Interesting man!!

wolfdancer
01-26-2007, 06:01 PM
Dr. D...Hal wasn't using a computer awhile back....just one of those devices...whatever they are called...He might not have Word.....
thanks for posting that....it's a neat thing to know.
But don't hold your breath waiting for Mac to learn the Queen's English.

cushioncrawler
01-26-2007, 06:51 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote JPB:</font><hr> ....He was not a long hitter with his swing, but was accurate. Not just hit the fairway accurate, but hit the thing in the middle of the clubface everytime without hitting the tee accurate. He broke fewer tees than any golfer ever, saying "I hit balls, not tees." Legend has it he used one tee for months or somethng and when it broke he said "Oh, that was a good tee." So he was a golf genius.<hr /></blockquote> Moe didnt break that tee -- another pro who wanted to have a try, he broke the tee, and thats when Moe said that Moe had been using that tee for months. madMac.

JPB
01-26-2007, 08:48 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote wolfdancer:</font><hr> I didn't know the autism part of Moe's story....didn't know about the tees either, but did read he was the most accurate ball striker of his day, and to add to the hype, they added that he was paid not to play pro golf here....the story was he would have put a lot of teachers out of business?
Interesting man!!
<hr /></blockquote>

After posting I checked out some of the stuff on him on the internet. Seems there is some dispute on why he was the way he was. May have been a high functioning autistic guy, may have been due to a head injury as a kid. Could be both maybe. Head injuries are weird things, if you have ever come across somebody with one. But he also had some numbers in his head in Rainman fashion, like exactly the most balls he hit on one day and exactly the number of courses he played. Some players on the US tour treated him like crap. He didn't like playing the tour basically. He wasn't banned, although some of his behavior wasn't what they wanted. He won a lot of Canadian events. He had some resentment over the way he was treated it sounded like, including how his family treated him.

P.S. I doubt instructors were afraid at all of him. Teaching then wasn't like it is now, and I doubt he would have ever become one of the high profile teachers. The natural golf thing came late, but that sort of business didn't exist then. Teachers taught at country clubs. Moe Norman wasn't going to put anybody out of work as a club pro. Even now that his ideas are known, it isn't like people bagged everything else to go to it. Not that it is wrong or anything, just that there was no conspiracy to prevent him from teaching a la alleged 200 MPG carburetor that the auto companies bought etc....