View Full Version : Thank you Mike Geffner!
05-23-2003, 06:50 AM
Thank you Mike Geffner for a most informative article on James Evans.I have always enjoyed your writing but you really outdid yourself this time.While the article may have been about James Evans,this post is about you. After reading the article (Cover June BD) I had the same feeling that I would probably have if I ever ran 5 Racks of Nine Ball or went Eight and out in One Pocket.All I can truly say again is THANK YOU MIKE!
05-24-2003, 09:41 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote PQQLK9:</font><hr> Thank you Mike Geffner for a most informative article on James Evans.I have always enjoyed your writing but you really outdid yourself this time.While the article may have been about James Evans,this post is about you. After reading the article (Cover June BD) I had the same feeling that I would probably have if I ever ran 5 Racks of Nine Ball or went Eight and out in One Pocket.All I can truly say again is THANK YOU MIKE! <hr /></blockquote>
I got my BD yesterday and read that story right away. What a shame such a great player never got his due just because of his skin color. Maybe we can lobby for a HOF nomination next year.
Quote: "He spotted everybody ...except Greenleaf" /ccboard/images/graemlins/laugh.gif That's pretty strong.
05-24-2003, 04:41 PM
I don't subscribe to the Billiard Digest and have not read the article. Does he mention how he gathered his facts. I read about James Evens years ago in a article by I believe Tom Fox. I think it was in a an old magazine, The Bowlers Journal and Billiard Review. There is also a mention of him in the book "The Bank Shot and Other Great Robberies". Tom Fox wrote that book also with Minnesota Fats. At the time the book and the article was written, there would have been many people still around that saw him play first hand and knew him so the continuity would be intact. The problem with the history of the game is, little of it is documented and fewer and fewer people, if any, are still around to provide accurate eye witness accounts of many of the players of the early 20th century. If it is not done, it will be lost for good. That was some of the basis of my argument about the HOF. How can they be considering players still in their youth and playing while they disregard other players Living and dead who have made contributions to the game. There is no sense of history about the game. Talk to a golfer and they know everything about the game, forget a baseball fan, they know everything that ever happened since the game was invented. Most pool players, present company excepted of course, know nothing about the games history, and it is not their fault, how can they. I met quite a few older players when I was young. I did not really realize how well known and significant they were to the game at the time, they were just guys in the pool room to me. Danny Gartner, Gene Skinner, Marcel Camp, Snooks Pearlstine, Harry Cohen, and more. I used to listen to their stories and think nothing about it, I was just a dopey kid. I wish now I had paid more attention and even recorded some of these guys. I just think there is a place in the games history for them. Maybe a special hall of fame for the peoples players, like Big Bob, Toby Sweet, Richie Ambrose, Cornbread Red, Johnny Irish, Don Watson, Don Willis and the list goes on. Most of these guys were never recognized champions, but beat the players who were, and even the ones that may not have risen to the level of champion status, still are part of the games rich history and should not be forgotten.
05-24-2003, 05:44 PM
Well said, let's also not forget;
Maurice "Tugboat" Whaley, Jersey Red, Norm Weber,Peter Rabbit,Bud Hypes,Weenie Beenie, Smilin' Bob, Glen Womack,Hubert Cokes, Cleo Vaughn, 'Connecticut Johnny', Earl Hiesler, "Junior" Goff, Don Willis, San Jose Dick, Ronnie Allen (the real "fast eddie") Jack White "Cannonball" Kienowski, well I'm sure I missed a couple, but just the folk lore associated with the above named would be enough to fill 10 encyclopedia britanicas!
05-25-2003, 12:02 PM
Lest we not also forget, James Cattrano JR. I would also like to see more written about John Thomas Lineen (your above mentioned "Johnny Irish") as he was quite likely among the best of all the unknowns!
05-26-2003, 06:50 PM
Big Bob may be in Naples,Flawda to play in Grady`s senior tournament.Cheers
Vagabond /ccboard/images/graemlins/cool.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/cool.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/cool.gif
05-27-2003, 06:34 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Popcorn:</font><hr> I don't subscribe to the Billiard Digest and have not read the article. Does he mention how he gathered his facts. .....<hr /></blockquote>
He said he had been researching this article for 14 years on and off by talking to guys like Jersey Red, Jimmy Caras, Johnny Ervolino, Cisero Murphy and the like. I'll re-read it tonight and try to be more specific.
05-27-2003, 07:54 AM
I am from Europe and i am not subscribed to BD anymore but i would love to read the article about the great James Evans.Would someone be that nice and ship a copy to me.If so please e-mail me.Thanks,
Brian in VA
05-27-2003, 10:51 AM
I agree. I've been subscribing for a couple of years ago and was about ready to let it lapse when the new issue hit. That article was worthy of any magazine in the nation, not just BD. Well done Mike!
I'm staying a subscriber a while longer. And for goodness' sakes BD, feel free to have more articles like this. For a magazine that's been around a quarter of a century, you should be able to publish this quality every month.
Brian in VA
05-28-2003, 08:16 AM
Kudos to Mike on a truly fine and well written article. He is so right about recording the heritage of our sport, from sources that were there, before we lose all historical record. Again, congratulations on a job well done.
06-04-2003, 06:41 AM
I would bet that George Fells knows a lot about James Evans also.
06-05-2003, 05:26 PM
Mike specifically mentions both those stories -- in fact the bowling mag writer apparently audio taped Evans, and Geffner had access to that tape as well.
I agree 100 % about the article -- it was a great read, and add me to the list of folks who gained huge respect for Evans, and would devour anything else written about him.
I love the stories about and by the old timers ('course I guess I'm rapidly turning into an oldtimer myself -- ouch /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif ).
I learned alot of One Pocket playing Norm 'the farmer' Webber myself, but especially Bob 'Ingie' Ingersoll (from the Boston area) -- and of course Boston Shorty. My favorite was Ingie, though -- I swear he never forget anything about One Pocket, right up to the very end -- may he rest in peace /ccboard/images/graemlins/frown.gif
06-05-2003, 07:23 PM
I finally read that article. Very well done. I'd love to read more about James Evans.
06-06-2003, 10:35 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Popcorn:</font><hr> Danny Gartner, Gene Skinner, Marcel Camp, Snooks Pearlstine, Harry Cohen, and more. I used to listen to their stories and think nothing about it, I was just a dopey kid. I wish now I had paid more attention and even recorded some of these guys. I just think there is a place in the games history for them. Maybe a special hall of fame for the peoples players, like Big Bob, Toby Sweet, Richie Ambrose, Cornbread Red, Johnny Irish, Don Watson, Don Willis and the list goes on. Most of these guys were never recognized champions, but beat the players who were, and even the ones that may not have risen to the level of champion status, still are part of the games rich history and should not be forgotten. <hr /></blockquote>
I was fortunate to have seen Danny Gartner <aka> "Young Greenleaf" and Snooks Pearlstein <taught the ever powerful Tom Brown among others> play each other 14.1< they were both in the 80's> in Toby Sweet's Gold Crown Billiards in Hollywood Fl...years ago. Growing up down here I got to listen to the words of those great players plus Big Bob, Ritchie "Mr 9-Ball" Ambrose and Danny Diliberto. But pretaining to James Evans, who I heard about from my dear friend Johnny Ervolino. John would stay with me for weeks and tell me stories of Evans, Camp, Sailor Barge and others. Johnny swore to me thats James Evans was as pure a player anyone ever saw. Funny how me and Popcorn have similar appreciations for the same players.....
06-06-2003, 11:07 AM
Your mention of Ervolino reminds me of second-hand gossip that I hear from a local backer regarding being conned out of small change now and then. He tells stories about stuff like getting hit up for cab fare to the airport then finding out a ride was provided, etc. Makes me wonder if anyone was fronting hotel money while he stayed with you /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif
06-06-2003, 12:39 PM
I dunno Spidey...but we hung out, played pool and gin, ate like KINGS, he taught me about the history of the game and the old school mentality of the cue ball. Money was never an issue...ever.
06-09-2003, 12:05 AM
That was a great article on James Evans. What a tragedy.
Maybe now he'll sleep a little better...
I also read an article Mike Geffner wrote on Anna Sordenstam the golfer. It was an airplane magazine. Apparently Mike is a reknowned sports writer and just not pool.
01-21-2005, 09:59 PM
can anybody tell me where i can get a back copy of this article, magazine. it is for an african american friend of mine. so any help would be greatly appreiated.......mike
01-21-2005, 10:09 PM
Billiards Digest Ordering Back Issues (http://www.billiardsdigest.com/subscribe/back_issues/)
Hope this helps Mike..
01-25-2005, 06:48 AM
Popcorn I have to give my stories with the players you have name.
Danny Gartner, I played him in the final game to play in the Worlds Tournament that was run by the Golden Cue in Queens.
The final game started at 2.00 am, Danny looked like tired dog but when the game finally started he looked like a million dollars. Cueball Kelly was the referee, during the middle of game, Danny missed a shot and slammed his cue into the floor shattering the butt piece and hitting 2 ladies in the audience and nothing from Kelly.
Then Danny scratches and grabs the cueball and throws the cueball down into the table scattering the balls and crashing up into the flourescent light. Here is a player going beserek and nothing from Kelly. Here is a guy that should be in Belleville and I am playing him to earn a berth in my first Worlds. His behavior destroyed my mental game instead of thinking about pool I am worrying about getting a straight jacket for my opponent.
Toby Sweet came thru Troy looking for action I was willing to play him straight pool but he would only play nineball. The bar owner next to the poolroom wanted to see a game so he staked me to play Toby. In the end I was down 12 games Toby made nine nineballs on the break and I made three balls in the four hour session. Seeing I was making nothing when broke I would play a safe break leaving the cueball behind the rack so that Toby first shot was a push out, then we were playing straight pool with all the balls below the spot. In the end his break was too strong.
Don Willis was a friend of Joe Canton, he would always tell me that Jimmy Moore always said if he knew what Joe knew about straight pool Mosconi would never beat him a game.####
01-25-2005, 07:27 AM
L.S I played Norm "The Farmer" Weber in the late 50s at Joe
Canton's poolroom in Troy. It was my first experience gambling. Joe's number one table was an exhibition area it was crowded with everyone betting on the game. It was a great day of action. In the end I think I came out one game up. We played later in the sixties but Norm wanted to play short rack games taking away my ability to run 100s. Thereby cutting his losses.
Buddy Hypes played Poughkepsie Mel nineball in Hudson,NY and was down 30+ games at 30 a game his maximum bet. Ralph Laurella the owner and backing Bud asked him anything wrong and Bud told him no this guy can't play. With in 3 hours he went from 30 down to 40 up and Mel quit.
The Cannonball played Mel and ended up giving Mel the 8 ball and robbed him no nineball player that came thru beat Mel as bad as the BAllMAN did.
Eddie was the funniest poolplayer I ever came across. He would run by the corner pocket and grab the pocket and swing
around looking at the balls. He had more moves than a Snake.
He lost a game to Jimmy Quick of Binghamton at a tournament at the CueClub in Syracuse and entertained everyone with his portrayal of Quick running of the rack and then playing safety. It seemed that Quickee never made one break shot he just played safe. It was the funniest half hour in pool. It was to bad no one had a video camera.
I played Conn Johnny some one pocket in Conn, I wasn't going to play a onepocket champion for big money. The owner of the room would bet big on straight pool, I was there to
play him straight pool. The one thing I learned about onepocket is OH WELL. That is what they say when there locked up and are going to slam into the balls hoping to make one in their side.####
01-25-2005, 07:54 AM
Voodoo Daddy here is my James Evan story I would play in Saratoga at Eddie Walzacks poolroom. There I met Thomas Gibson, a retired Black New York Policeman and one of the finest gentlemen I ever met. He was so soft spoken you would wonder how he could have arrested anyone.
His beat was up in Harlem near the 125st poolroom that James Evans played at. He would take his lunch and breaks there and had nothing but praise for Evans play. He said his form at the table was World Class. If there was action he would come back after work to watch Evans play. He never saw him lose once, that is not to say he didn't lose but he never saw him.
Johnny Ervolino and I matched up at the Olympic Bowl in Rochester in the 60s. We were playing for berths on a Tv Show that never happened we had 10 games or so. I would cut breakshots back into the pocket and after one day of playing Johnny said when I go back home, I am going to practice that shot I always play safe on that shot and you make it all the time and break the rack open wide.####
01-29-2005, 07:32 PM
I used to work for Jimmy Cattrano. Havent heard that name in years. Jimmy passed away about 4 years ago.
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