View Full Version : Luther (Wimpy) Lassiter

07-16-2003, 11:06 AM
In all the talks about top players in the game this guy is rarely mentioned by people today. I have read and heard that this guy was the first truely great 9-ball player ever and that he was pretty much unbeatable in his heyday. I wonder why it is that Mike Siegel, Willie Mosconi, Ralph Greenleaf, and other top players of their era have become legends and are remembered yet Lassiter seems to have slipped from alot of peoples minds and is not nearly as well known.

Keith's post on the top 3 players made me think about this. Just how good was Lassiter compared to the greats of the past and the greats of today? Is there any media form showing this guy play? Old footage of this guy shooting some pool would be awesome to see and it would really be a shame if there are no examples of his play on video left or ever made.

Some older people on this forum must have seen him play at one time or another. For those of you that did see Lassiter play who do you think would have had the edge in a long match between Efren and Lassiter both in thier prime? Was Lassiter's break stronger then Efren's? Did Lassiter put up 5+ racks on people all the time? How powerful was his safety game? How confident was this guy when it came to playing against other top players for cash, what was his personality at the table like?

I seriously know nothing about this guy other then Mosconi expounds about how great he was in his book and other sources I have read said he was a phenomenal player.

Rich R.
07-16-2003, 11:56 AM
Lassiter was certainly one of the best.

In the haze, that I call a memory, I remember seeing Lassiter play Mosconi, on several occasions, on ABC's Wide World of Sports. I believe they were always playing straight pool. I don't seem to remember any 9-ball matches between the two. IIRC, Lassiter was a real challenge for Mosconi and won his share of the matches.

I have no idea if these programs are available anywhere.

If someone wants to correct me, please do. It was a lot of years ago and my memory ain't what it used to be, and it was never good. /ccboard/images/graemlins/tongue.gif

07-16-2003, 12:11 PM
I saw Luther Lassiter play in the World Championships back in the 60's in Long Beach, Ca. In the 9-ball portion I believe he finished 2nd. He had the perfect pool players physique...5'8", slight potbelly, biceps so small I don't know how he lifted the cue, and he didn't have any type of sledgehammer break. No one did in those days. He played a cool, clean game and he played great. I believe Balsis won that year. He also came through Fresno a few times and played one of our local champions named Rocky Antenucci...who has played everybody!

07-16-2003, 03:00 PM
I have no idea if these programs are available anywhere.

Bert Kinnister has tapes available of matches played in 82-83 in atlantic city between Lassiter and Mosconi and fats and a whole bunch of others.
I have got 4-5 of them that i got when he had them on special in december for $25 each, if you call and ask he may let you have them for that price. Pretty good stuff.

Keith McCready
07-16-2003, 06:12 PM
I watched him when he was getting older, and he still played real, real good. Me and Buddy have discussed who were top players, too, and Buddy sort of has the same feelings as I do, or more, about Luther Lassiter.

I'll tell you a cute little story. When Joe Balsis was playing Wimpy, they were playing straight pool, racing to 150, and Joe had him 149 and then missed the break shot. They had to wake up Wimpy out of the chair because he was asleep, and he got up and ran 150 and out. It was one of the best exhibitions I've ever seen, being woke up out of a chair, dead asleep, and running 150 and out!


Ralph S.
07-16-2003, 07:31 PM
Woke up from a dead sleep and runs 150 and out, I would say that qualifies for "He got Game". /ccboard/images/graemlins/laugh.gif

07-17-2003, 01:29 AM
> George Fels,in one of his too-numerous-to-mention great articles called "Heart",told this story about Luther. It was the late 40's,in Norfolk,which at the time was a hotbed of gambling activity. Wimpy was spotting a guy 40 balls going to 100,and was stuck 58-8,playing for 5000 dollars. The equivalent in todays money would be about 60000. He stepped up and ran 92 and out for the cash,risking a 10000 dollar turnaround every time the balls were broke or he went into a cluster. If you asked Wimpy who the best player was,the answer was always Don Willis,and later on Mike Sigel. Tommy D.

07-17-2003, 02:00 AM

I was a young sailor in the late '60's, stationed in Norfolk. I was a pool addict then, and played downtown at St. Elmo's. The place was upstairs, and pretty old, even then. A little round guy called "Carolina" ran it.

The locals played a trick on me, and got me to proposition "that old man, sitting over there". Turned out to be Mr. Lassiter. I offered my hand in apology, and was puzzled when he took it with his left.

I saw him in there a few times, but never got to see him play.