View Full Version : Remembering Cisero Murphy
02-26-2003, 04:09 PM
Remembering Cisero Murphy
by Blackjack David Sapolis
It is Black History Month, and I would like to write a few words for one of the all time great Straight pool players of our time, Cisero Murphy.
Murphy all but dominated the game in the New York City hotbeds of straight pool throughout the 1950's and 1960's. Cisero Murphy won the Eastern States 14.1 championship in 1959, and the New York State Championship from 1959-1964. In 1964, he was excluded from paticipating in the World Invitational 14.1 Championship despite his skill. Many players picketed outside the front of the Commodore Hotel in Burbank, California (the site of the tournament) to protest his exclusion. Cisero won a battle to compete in the event the very next year. It was his first attempt at winning a world title, and he won it. He defeated Luther Lassiter convincingly in the finals.
During his illustrious career, Cisero Murphy attained a high run of 262 balls in competition. After retiring from competitive pool, Cisero Murphy started the "Pool in the streets" program in his old neighborhood of Brooklyn. Cisero decided use his god given talent to help those who could profit from it. He gave free lessons and exhibitions thoughout the next twenty years.
All world championships and high runs aside, his greatest achievement was his induction into the BCA Hall of Fame in 1995. This induction came years after many of the players he dominated had gained entry. He will always be known as pool's Jackie Robinson.
Cisero Murphy will always be remembered for his kindness, warmth and his unforgettable smile. I will always remember Cisero as the best straight pool player I ever saw. Black or white. Through all of Cisero's obstacles, he never complained or backed down. He just went into competition and proved to everybody else what he already knew : He was the best.
I am half Irish, half Austrian, so it should be obvious I am not one of the brothers. Traveling the earth for decades & having 5 sales offices on 5 different carribbean Islands, allowed me to keep a year round tan, a dark tan. I tried hard to look like a brother, & here you have poor little Micheal who is now whiter than me, and can never go out in the sun ever again, and if he does, he has to carry a umberalla, scared to death he may get a suntan & look again like a bro. Go figger, this stuff get's so confusing. You have all these honkies thinking Jesus had blue eyes & was lilly white, hello McFly, he was a Palestinian, he looked like an Egyptian, he had brown skin, and being out side working all day long, he had very brown skin. When I travel around, I drive by a lot of Boy's & Girl's clubs, a lot of YMCA's, and if I have the time, I just walk right in the joint un announced & knock on he managers door, he thinks I am there to sell him something. I know these places dont have any money to bring in Nick Varner for a day. When he finds out I will hit a few shots & do a free clinic for free, he flips out. Most of the places I hit, are inner city, and my audience is mostly black. One of the first things I do is tell them about the great black champion, Cisero Murphy. Go back & watch the color of money movie, remember when Fast Eddy was reaming out da kid vincent, & telling him the black players never leave the street & show up at the tourney's at Atlantic City. There has always been great black pool players, the white honkeys just never knew that, or if they did they refused to open the door. Look who runs & rules pool, it is a 100% lilly white club, and blacks are really not welcome, you'all just stay down there in your ghetto please is how they really think. How many black men do you see playing on ESPN today. I tried to put a black man on national TV, and had him perform with me one of the shots they planned to air. That shot got cut from the final edit, but when you buy & play my tapes & see the Ripley's show, you will see him by my side, he was the shot mechanic for me on the shoot. How many fantastic baseball & basketball players once played the game, knew they were the greatest, & never got a shot to prove it because they were black. There were people who played as good or better than Micheal J, who never got a shot. I almost cried when I lived in Kansas City, Mo & they suited up & let Satchel Paige pitch in the big leagues as a old man, just to pay honor to him & those before him, who never got that call. There were great players that were never permitted to appear in public in any championship just because they were ugly, and these were white people. In the 20's they ran a guy around in a mask & called him the Masked Marvel, Fatty told me he was the greatest player he had ever seen, and the greatest one handed player of his time, He had the name of a saint, ASJ were his initials. When you see my video tapes, you will see nothing but pictures covering every inch of the room, and the room behind it you dont see. The wall paper is solid pool pictures. I call it my wall of champions, every player, I deem great, every great cue maker, every great writer, hangs on my wall. When a student comes by, I give them a tour. He asks, you dont hold the Masse cue like Gerni & the other guys do, I walk him over to Jake Shaefer in 1875 & say look see, this is how we do it, how the great ones did it. I just wanted you to know that a picture of Cisero Murphy proudly hangs on my wall of champions, and I think it is great, you people remember the great players of the past, & tell stories that you remember about them, to pass on the younger players coming up today. So much today, can be learned by studying what those of the past did long ago. Best Wishes, Fast Larry Guninger
May I do another add on here please. I do a perfect imitation of the stroke of Luther Lassiter & of Allen Hopkins to a new student, making the point, that you can play with no stroke. It gets much more complicated than that, and I dont want to drag into where that goes, just to say this, tie me to a tree, begin to pull my toe nails out one at a time & you won't stop until I tell the friggin truth, who was the greatest 9 ball player of all time, I'll say Luther Lassiter, now quick drop me off at a good D.P.M.
You want to really impress me, prove to me you actually beat Luther for money or for a title. I actually watched Luther in Johnston City in his prime, actually I think his prime was before that, and I am telling you, this guy was one of the best money players of all time. When a guy like Murphey beats him, it only proves, he too is great. Fast Larry
Great post. I enjoyed it.
Oh Larry, the more you post, the more I see a little child giggling at a computer. The beginning of your post could have easily been removed...why do you continue to feel the need to flush your head everytime you come on here. Shorten your stuff up some and remove this useless info...
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote larry:</font><hr> I am half Irish, half Austrian, so it should be obvious I am not one of the brothers. Traveling the earth for decades & having 5 sales offices on 5 different carribbean Islands, allowed me to keep a year round tan, a dark tan. I tried hard to look like a brother, & here you have poor little Micheal who is now whiter than me, and can never go out in the sun ever again, and if he does, he has to carry a umberalla, scared to death he may get a suntan & look again like a bro. Go figger, this stuff get's so confusing. <hr /></blockquote> This does nothing for the thread except show you have access to a keyboard.
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote larry:</font><hr> You have all these honkies thinking Jesus had blue eyes & was lilly white, hello McFly, he was a Palestinian, he looked like an Egyptian, he had brown skin, and being out side working all day long, he had very brown skin. <hr /></blockquote> This is proof that you do not know everything. Actually you show absolute ignorance but that may pass only if you agree you do not know everything. By no means was he a Palestinian.
I am sorry I did not read the rest of the mind dump. Too much poop to filter through.
02-26-2003, 06:50 PM
A fitting tribute to a great player. If anyone would like to see a picture of Cisero Murphy in his classic shooting stance dig out your December 1996 copy of Billiard Digest and turn to page 98. The top picture is a great shot of him.
Kind of looks like Floyd Patterson a little!
Will you scan the pic and post it?
02-26-2003, 09:09 PM
I had a tape of him playing straight pool from accu stats. I think they still might have it if anyones interested.
Dear Mr. Addict, there is no way I am going to get into any argument with you or any one else over religion, no way. I just wanted to praise Mr. Murphy, & I wanted the black people to know it was a white person from the deep south doing that. That was my only motive, Ok, perhaps I got a little carried away with that, but all you have done to me is slam & take cheap shots at every thing I have said & done so far, so why should I now expect anything less from you on this. Jesus was a Jew, who was born in Bethlehem, & was a part of the Roman empire. He was born on March 20th, 6 AD. Bethlehem is 5 miles south of Jerusalem. Jesus was on foot all of his life, so he never got very far from the center of where he was born. Most of the people who now live at or around these places consider them selves either to be Palestinians or Israelies. The POL conrols most of this area today, it sort of see saws back & forth. To say a person in Louisiana is an American is correct, but his origin could have been French. Consider that Bethlehem & Jerusalem are really one place, not two, as they are so close together, then consider this, in l920 this entire region was called Palestine & governed by the British, under the UN PARTITION PLAN of l947, it became under Arab control, and Jordan, with Israel becoming a new nation in l949, the area was under their control. To avoid some long drawn out battle, let me revise my statement, Jesus was a Jew from Jordon, now can you live with that sir? Look, for the record, I am no fan of the PLO, I am a white christian, and my savior & lord is Jesus. Try & give a history lesson and holy cow, they come down on your head, give me a break here please. Fast Larry
Dear Mr. Member thank you for deciding not to get into an argument. I think it is funny that you are so defensive here, but if it was a pot shot that you perceived then my gosh, could it have been anything different. I guess then you probably feel it is alright for you to take pot shots at Ewa in another thread but to tender to receive one here.
In giving a history lesson (as you refer to it) you were wrong and I mentioned it. You perceived this as a pot shot. Do you really think the Galileo was taking pot shots at the Roman Church when he said they were wrong about the universe revolving around earth? Cmon, are you so arrogant to think I will take everything you say as truth?
I do thank you for trying to clear up your mistake. Your correction is right, Jesus is a Jew.
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote larry:</font><hr> To say a person in Louisiana is an American is correct <hr /></blockquote> Wrong. A person is only an American (I am using this term to be the equivalent as a US citizen) if born here, or has a citizenship. Otherwise if your example person was born in France and has not applied for citizenship, then that person is plain ole French guy living in the US.
[ QUOTE ]
Consider that Bethlehem & Jerusalem are really one place, not two, as they are so close together <hr /></blockquote> No, you do not consider them as the same because they are close...Example is US is "close" to Canada.
[ QUOTE ]
Jesus was a Jew from Jordon, now can you live with that sir? <hr /></blockquote> No. He was from Bethlehem.
02-27-2003, 08:11 AM
Thanks for a great story, I have seen his picture up at Amsterdam Billiards for years it is nice to finally know the story behind it. This game is just full of interesting characters, it definately attracks those of a different drummer...
02-27-2003, 08:47 AM
Wonderful tribute to Cisero, Blackjack.
Cisero and I were buddies for 20-odd years. We spoke often on the phone up until his death and the thing that always struck me about him was his lack of bitterness about the way he was treated over the years due to his race.
It's ironic that while he was being held back more than the other players due to his race, his thinking was far more progressive and ahead of his time than most of the others. He was often frustrated by the fact that they didn't see the big picture, that in order to bring money into the game, you have to get those people with access to that money interested in the game.
Cisero spent a lot of time behind the scenes lobbying people like program directors of major networks, and heads of major corporations. Instead of seeing the value of his work, many of his fellow players saw that as competitive and often would sabotage his efforts.
But in spite of all that, Cisero always looked towards a better and brighter future and never gave up hope.
... and he had one hell of a send-off --- the best funeral I ever saw (if there is such a thing).
Fran, do you have any good stories that stick in your memory. I really like stories about matching up, but even if there is a good charitable story would be nice.
eg8r <Sucker for a good story
02-27-2003, 09:47 PM
Fran I had the utmost respect for Cisero, his quiet spoken voice,his calm. I remember attending a meeting he was having trying to organize Pro-Pool. I think it went nowhere because of the mentality of the ProPlayer.
When we met at tournaments we would spend time together. We shared besides pool a love of fast/pitch softball. ####
02-28-2003, 05:56 AM
I think ASJ was Andrew St.Jean[the Lowell Kid] who Joe Canton said was the greatest one handed player he had ever seen play. ####
02-28-2003, 06:30 AM
There's one that Gene Nagy told me about Cisero and himself.
It was back in the 60's and Gene and Cisero were considered the two best 14.1 players in the NY area. Gene's backer and Cisero's backer got into a heated arguement about who was the best player in the city and decided to set up a match between the two of them over at JC's billiards in Queens.
Word got out about the upcoming match and somewhere along the line it became a race issue. The blacks were behind Cisero and the whites were behind Gene and by the day of the match, you could feel the tension in the air as the room was literally divided in half, with each race on opposite sides of the room, shouting threats back and forth at each other.
Cisero and Gene stepped up to the table to lag. They turned to each other, seeming to have the same thing on their minds, Gene said, "Do you really want to do this?" Cisero paused for a moment, looked around the room and said, "I certainly do not." So they both put their cues away and walked out of the pool room together, leaving behind their backers and a stunned crowd.
Now that is a good story. LOL
02-28-2003, 09:38 AM
There went two very wise men. /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif
I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Murphy one time, about 1968 or 69. Although a very short meeting, I got the impression that he was a very nice man. From all reports, my impression was correct.
02-28-2003, 04:07 PM
Fran, great story. Think they make guys like that anymore ? If they do, theyre keeping them well hidden.
Dear Fran, break down da cue & walk outta da joint, that has to be the greatest pool story I have ever heard, I am going to steal that one & put it in my next book, just kidding. When it comes to class, how do you fade that one. Best Wishes, Fast Larry
ah so grasshopper, you had to dig, but you finally found out who ASJ was, very good, you impress old Fast. Best Wishes, Fast Larry
Dear Fran, what a beautiful post & story about such a great man & champion, race or color, has nothing to do with greatness. I had one punk post we dont wanna hear about some old fart back in the 60's, we only wanna know what going on in 03. Well here is a beautiful lesson about class, every one of those punks that feel this way, should go tatoo to the inside of their eye lids, this story. There is so much you can learn, from those who have gone there before you. Those who do not study history, are condemed to repeat it. Best Wishes, Fast Larry Guninger
Dear Mr. Lenord, when the PBT folded, and the guy running it tried to explain why, it went something like this, they met the enemy & it is them, these guys are their own worst enemies. Now I am no fan of any person who takes peoples money or prize money & runs off to Bermuda with it, so dont get me in any argument about this on, OK. I am simply the reporter, the messenger of so many things, what I am trying to teach a bunch of people on this board, is you dont shoot the messenger. Best Wishes, Fast Larry Guninger
Dear Mr. Rich R. Sir the arc was built by God, read your bible, are you now telling me God is an amateur when it comes to building things. Look, like I said before, there is no way I am gonna get in any religious argument with any of you people, the only point I am trying to make here, is you can take any thing any ones says, & screw it around backwards & make the guy out to look like a jerk, which is what several have been doing to me, which is why I am taking a hike, and no more teachings or herasy or blashphemy will be coming out of my ignorant carnival mouth, or that is what is being posted about me and what you are being told I am. You want to know the difference between me & them, none, we are both God's children. Best Wishes, Fast Larry Guninger
02-28-2003, 06:58 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Fast Larry:</font><hr> Those who do not study history, are condemed to repeat it. <hr /></blockquote>
That's one helluva quote. Yep.
You know, Larry, I think we may have a few class acts that came out of each decade. The thing I like about the ones who came from the 60's and before is that they're older now and more willing to tell their stories. Back then, they kept it all quiet--half the time it was fear of getting arrested.
There's a guy in a nursing home now, tells me he's been shot three times. He said, "You know, you just can't walk into a pool room in a bad neighborhood and act like who the hell you are." I think half the guys who play pool today should pay this guy a visit.
Hey Larry, that quote about the Ark in Rich's post is part of his signature, which is a snippet of text that is automatically added to your posts. He has had that for some time, if you'll look back at all of his posts, you'll see the same quote. And lots of other folks here have various quotes in their sigs as well. If you click "My Home" near the top there, and then on "Edit" near the bottom of that page, besides the "Personal information, email, password, etc." line, you can specify your own signature if you like.
My point being, Rich wasn't directing this quote at you. Nobody is arguing religion here. Please don't take everything you read here personally or out of context.
Larry, you're an interesting guy but you're awfully defensive and thin-skinned. Please lighten up a bit, work on your posting style to make it a bit easier to read (just hit Enter occasionally!), and try to learn your way around these bulletin boards, how they work, etc.
No criticism intended, just trying to enlighten...
02-28-2003, 10:28 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Fast Larry:</font><hr> Dear Mr. Rich R. Sir the arc was built by God, read your bible, are you now telling me God is an amateur when it comes to building things.<hr /></blockquote>I think the quote is referring to Noah's Ark, not the Arc of the Covenant.
02-28-2003, 10:40 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote cycopath:</font><hr> <blockquote><font class="small">Quote Fast Larry:</font><hr> Dear Mr. Rich R. Sir the arc was built by God, read your bible, are you now telling me God is an amateur when it comes to building things.<hr /></blockquote>I think the quote is referring to Noah's Ark, not the Arc of the Covenant. <hr /></blockquote>
Right! The really funny thing is that of all the taglines, Rich R.'s is probably one of the funniest, yet true, of all!
Apparently some folks don't get his humor! I do! ROFL Rich!
03-01-2003, 07:53 AM
Thanks Scott, dmorris68 and cycopath.
Unfortunately, the only one taking things and screwing them around backwards, to make a guy look like a jerk, is Fast Larry. /ccboard/images/graemlins/confused.gif
Larry, if you are so egotistical, to think that every word printed on this board, revolves around you, I am sorry.
It does not.
03-01-2003, 10:43 AM
What would ole Fast think of:
<font color="blue">I can only explain the situation to you. I can not comprehend it for you. </font color> /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif
03-01-2003, 10:46 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Wally_in_Cincy:</font><hr> What would ole Fast think of:
<font color="blue">I can only explain the situation to you. I can not comprehend it for you. </font color> /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif <hr /></blockquote>
I think old Fast would jump down your throat with both feet.
Let's look at what is being said Larry. The "Arc" is compared to the "Titanic". It is no leap of faith to understand that the subject is "BOATS". Therefore, the "Arc" was built by Noah, an amateur boatbuilder; the "Titanic" was built by a professional boat (ship) builder.
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