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Mr. Blonde
09-16-2003, 11:44 PM
Whenever a young player first picks up a cue stick with the intent of accomplishing something in this sport the first famous pool player that usually comes to mind is not Mosconi,Reyes,Strickland or any others but the name Minnesota Fats. After studying the game and all the people that have come before them they soon realize that his legend may have surpassed his actual skill on the table. They learn that he was a master self promoter,a great spokesman for the game of billiards and a person whos name will forever be linked to the game of pool.But the question remains:Just how good was Rudolf Wanderone, AKA: Minnesota Fats?

Popcorn
09-17-2003, 12:05 AM
Fat's could play, maybe not equal to the champion players, but no sucker was going to beat him, especially at one pocket. I would say he played around Weenie Beanies speed. There was a lot of players that were better players then him at the time though. When it came to money he was not bluffing, if he made a game, he played it and for big cash. You did not want to jerk around with him, or you could find yourself in a trap. He beat Richie Florence for something like $40,000 and Florence was a top player.

HALHOULE
09-17-2003, 06:09 AM
Fats was a shortstop who carefully chose who he played against.He never played anyonr above a shortstop. Never entered any tournaments. Never won a tournament. Mostly hustled kids. He would gamble at banking, for that was his only skill.

HALHOULE
09-17-2003, 06:20 AM
Richie Florence was not a player in the top echelon of players in the world. He was a very good player, but world class, no.

Aboo
09-17-2003, 09:59 AM
He was probably better than 98.9% of the folks who post here /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif Criticize him all you want, but knowing who NOT to play is just as important as playing, if your trying to make a living at it.
I'm young in the pool world, but the guy who kind of mentor's me at the local pool hall played one pocket with Fats in St. Louis, I forget the name of the pool hall, when he was in his teens.
Fat's spotted him 7 balls and gave him the side pocket instead of a corner pocket. He never made a ball.

Now, I'm not a good one pocket player, yet. But this guy can and does kick the crap out of everyone I've ever seen him play in one pocket. In two different pool halls. And he says he was probably better then...

Popcorn
09-17-2003, 10:25 AM
That's a gaff game. I can play most players 8 to 1 in the side. The game will be over in no more then three or four innings most of the time.

Aboo
09-17-2003, 10:31 AM
Hmmm, I'm assuming by "gaff" you mean something of a sucker bet. It is possible that I got the spots reversed, or totally off. My point was, the game was played, with a huge advantage given to my friend and he never had a chance. Meaning, that while I've never personally seen Fats shoot pool. I have it on fairly good authority that he was no chump.

Popcorn
09-17-2003, 10:39 AM
Richie fell into the category of a lot of players that had a period when they were really playing good but did not maintain it. Players like Richie Ambrose, Billy Incardona, Wade Crane and so on all had their time. Take a player like Buddy Hall for example though. In 1973 he won that big tournament in Dayton almost as an unknown and has not been out of the spot light for thirty years. Fats had a little more heart then you like to give him credit for. He never robbed kids, he liked to bet high, don't be silly. He matched up well because he had to, he was no great player, but he stood up real good for the money. Plenty of players were afraid of him because of that.

Eric.
09-17-2003, 10:54 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Aboo:</font><hr> Hmmm, I'm assuming by "gaff" you mean something of a sucker bet. It is possible that I got the spots reversed, or totally off. My point was, the game was played, with a huge advantage given to my friend and he never had a chance. Meaning, that while I've never personally seen Fats shoot pool. I have it on fairly good authority that he was no chump. <hr /></blockquote>

Aboo,

Like Popcorn was saying, all things being equal between the players, getting the side pocket in One Pocket IS a suckers bet.

For starters, you will have a much smaller "makable shot area" than if you had the corner pocket. Also, it is easier to leave the CB in a tough spot when your opponent has the side hole.

BTW, that was Fats' M.O. He would win the match before anyone broke the balls. A master game maker, but a strong, amateur level player at best. No disrespect intended.


Eric

stevelomako
09-17-2003, 10:59 AM
Wow,I can't believe what I just read on the last two posts.

I know Fats could play! He wasn't just a shortstop and he didn't play just shortstops and under. Fatty didn't duck champions, he tried to eat them alive. Find a champion that doesn't think Fats was one of the best at matching up at anything with ANYONE. Having the name "Triple smart Fats" wasn't like a big guy having the nickname "Tiny". They called him "Triple smart" because that's exactly what he was. All the great players I ever talked to put Fats at the top of their list, people like U.J. Puckett, Ronnie Allen, Eddie Taylor, Danny Jones, Cornbread Red, Weenie Beenie, Alton Whitlow, Luther Lassiter.......must be some reason why.
I'm just a young guy (44) but I was fortunate enough when I was about 18,19 years old and started playing good, to be around some of the greatest gambling and greatest players the country's ever seen for quite a few years. I also consider myself very, very lucky that for some reason (I think being young and giving them respect and just loving listening to them) the older champions gave me alot of advice and told me tons and tons of stories and one thing in common they all had was......the RESPECT they gave Fats.
If you want to compare him with Mosconi, Lassiter, Worst, Crane, Mizerak, Sigel, Varner, Hall, Reyes, etc., then you're right, he didn't play their speed, not many people did...........but he wasn't too far under them. In pool, like in any other sport, it doesn't matter how, it's the final score that counts and here's the what the usual box scores were with him.

Fats--------1
Opponent---0

I've heard some great stories about Fats, not just from him, but from the people he did things with...and from people he did things to (and those people weren't even hot at him).

As far as Richie Florence goes........there's no doubt about it, he could play! I suppose it depends on how you look at it. Comparing him with everyone over the years I guess he wasn't in the top echelon...but in his time, I think you had to say he was a world-class player then.

Steve

Aboo
09-17-2003, 11:20 AM
None taken Eric. I'm just repeating what I've heard. Not from personal experience like others here. I just have a tendancy to believe that there is a reason why he is so well known. Soooo many folks talking about him I just can't believe that the guy was "average" or just above.

jungledude51
09-17-2003, 01:21 PM
I was lucky enought to see Fats play for the big money several times when I was younger and anyone who calls him a "shortstop" would not be accurate. Most of the real smart
players in this country, the ones who make a good living at it, do it by matching up a fair game and playing "Just good enough to win". These guys who show up at tournaments bragging about how great they are and start running racks to win a small amount of money are not really the professionals. The professionals are guys like "Strong Arm John, Gainesville Johnny, Jack Cooney and many more who use the same style as they do. The rackrunners will remain broke until the day they day, God Bless their souls.... /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif <font color="blue"> </font color>

tateuts
09-17-2003, 01:34 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote stevelomako:</font><hr> I'm just a young guy (44) but I was fortunate enough when I was about 18,19 years old and started playing good, to be around some of the greatest gambling and greatest players the country's ever seen for quite a few years. I also consider myself very, very lucky that for some reason (I think being young and giving them respect and just loving listening to them) the older champions gave me alot of advice and told me tons and tons of stories and one thing in common they all had was......the RESPECT they gave Fats.
If you want to compare him with Mosconi, Lassiter, Worst, Crane, Mizerak, Sigel, Varner, Hall, Reyes, etc., then you're right, he didn't play their speed, not many people did...........but he wasn't too far under them. In pool, like in any other sport, it doesn't matter how, it's the final score that counts and here's the what the usual box scores were with him.

Fats--------1
Opponent---0
<hr /></blockquote>

I used to think Fats was just a blowhard publicity seeker.

I remember one of the television sports shows, I think it was Wide World of Sports, arranged a television match (for a money prize) of Fats versus Steve Mizerak in eight ball. This was in the early 70's. I thought - this is going to be a joke - Miz was world champion at the time. It was something like best 3 of 5 games. Well, I'm sure the Miz could have beat Fats - just one problem - he never saw an open shot. The Miz didn't win a single game! He was obviously embarassed on television.

I guess Fats could play!

Chris

HALHOULE
09-17-2003, 02:09 PM
Of the people here giving there opinions about Fats prowess; I wonder what age group they fit into. I played everybody I could find, including the guy we are talking about. I happen to be 80 years old, as of August 12 this year. Began playing this game at age 10. I am still playing it every day. That totals up to 70 years of pool playing every day. I have personally seen them all; know how they all played. What their strengths and weaknesses were.The whole enchillada.

Scott Lee
09-17-2003, 03:03 PM
...and to add to what Hal had to say...few people here were around when Fats was in his heyday (which were the 40's &amp; 50's), and although he no doubt made some "good games" and some big scores, he also has a dark side reputation as someone who was not above dumping a match, where he had been stakehorsed, to split the cash.

One thing that is indisputable about Fats...if you believed what he said, he beat everyone in the world, for all the money ever printed! LOL Truth is, materially he never had anything more than the BR in his pocket, a little old house in S. IL (whom he shared with a his wonderful wife), and a couple of old Cadillacs (filled with a million newspaper clippings)...and, sadly, lived out his last days in a Tennessee hotel, courtesy of the owner (even though Fats was broke). So, if Fats is your icon for what pool can GET you (materially)...DON'T QUIT YOUR DAY JOBS! LOL

Scott Lee

stevelomako
09-17-2003, 05:18 PM
Mr. Houle,

Hi and how are you doing, just wanted to know if you read my post carefully and if you did....would you agree I'm correct?
Did you happen to know of Babyface, Roy (Kilroy) Kosmalski, Sammy Blumenthal, Paul Brueseloff, Bernard (keep the motor running) Rogoff, and if you did would love to hear a story or two.

Thanks,
Steve

stevelomako
09-17-2003, 05:53 PM
Mr. Lee,

Good evening. I know that you are pretty well respected and liked by quite a few people on this board and most would probly take your word as the gospel truth.
So I'd like to ask you to please read what I wrote carefully and tell me I'm mistaken.

I'd like to say that materially he probly had more at who knows how many different times, than most people make in a lifetime.

As far as the hotel, I could only hope that anyone reading this would have someone like that looking out for them. He didn't want Fats in some nursing home living out his last years and it's not like the place was a crummy motel. Do you recall if it was a nice place or not?

Fats was treated like a King in Nashville so I don't think he sadly lived out his last days.

If you don't know, you just don't know.
Hopefully most people won't quit their days jobs, but Fats was most definately an icon and one of the greats in the history of pool.

Steve Lomako

Popcorn
09-17-2003, 06:52 PM
Quote
"I have personally seen them all; know how they all played. What their strengths and weaknesses were.The whole enchillada."

That is a pretty bold statement, I was not aware this was a debate. Are you somebody I am supposed to have heard of? Lets see, Richie could not play, Fats could not play, anybody else? To be honest, your opinions are filtered through such narrow-minded thinking, I don't have much faith in them.

Barbara
09-17-2003, 06:57 PM
Hal,

Thanks for getting in touch with me. Since you've been off the board, this thread has appeared on AZBilliards and I resurrected it here.

Can you identify the two men circled on the the right in the Johnson City photo?

http://www.billiardsdigest.com/ccboard/showthreaded.php?Cat=&amp;Board=ccb&amp;Number=98673&amp;Forum =All_Forums&amp;Words=Barbara&amp;Match=Username&amp;Searchpag e=2&amp;Limit=25&amp;Old=allposts&amp;Main=98673&amp;Search=true#P ost98673

Thanks,

Barbara

Sid_Vicious
09-17-2003, 07:11 PM
I deduced something like this kind of end for Fats after talking with a lead contractor from IL who was killing time at my PH several years back while his crew finished rebuilding an airplane engine. He said that Fats lived real close to him, was a personal friend, and he actually gave him a brand new Balabushka, which was then(and now probably) kept in a glass show case. The picture of the final demise wasn't pretty or enviable as I remember it,,,broke and alone was apparent in my visuals,,,I felt sorry for Fats after hearing that. I didn't hear anything about the motel thing though, it all was told in maybe a 2 hour visit. Nice guy the storyteller, and I believed all he had to say...sid~~~now the pieces fit a little bit better it seems

Popcorn
09-17-2003, 08:04 PM
You say that as if his end was that different then many people in general. You become old and sick and alone. The difference here is he had good friends that took care of him. We should all be so lucky. Many even those with money often get dumped off in a nursing home as their children piss away their money. I was in a catacomb and there was some writing on the wall in Latin. The guide translated it for us. It said, "What you are, we once were. What we are, you will be". We should all hope we end up having friends and being treated with the kindness and respect he was at the end of his life. Here is a picture of fats at the BCA show not that long before he died, posing for pictures with fans, laughing talking, the center of attention.

http://www.picturetrail.com/gallery/view?p=999&amp;gid=2549764&amp;uid=1340894&amp;members=1

I cropped my wife out of the picture, Don't waste any time feeling sorry for Fats, he was a very lucky man.

stevelomako
09-17-2003, 09:18 PM
Scott,
Just checked out your homepage in your profile. What really interested me was the pool stories and challenge matches. Any chance on you telling one (maybe about Art Bodendorfer) then giving me a little info on what you mean by "challenge matches", I might be interested myself if it's what I think it means.

Steve

mark wilson
09-17-2003, 10:38 PM
Scott, I respectfully disagree with the idea that some how Fat's was not someone to be admired. I was around Fat's on multiple occassions and the generosity and laughter he left behind is still felt today. Years after his demise you may poll the public to name a famous pool player and guess who they come up with by a large margin. I have no personal knowledge about his morals regarding a money game so I will not opine, however if you do not have first hand knowledge we owe the sport more respect than perpetuating an image of the old pool hustler with no scruples. My last comment is not directed toward you but is just my view. I have heard many of todays top players make derisive comments regarding Fat's skill as a player. These are genarally put forth by frustrated players that have trouble making a living from pool. Rather than build our sport they are so selfish and greedy that they tend to lash out and alienate the billiard industry or come up with some sort of plan to sue the sponsors for a quick buck rather than work together and build the sport to such an extent that their personal legacy would be still remembered and discussed years after their demise as we are talking about Fat's impact. I'm happy and proud to say I knew and was around Minnesota Fats.

smoovestroke
09-17-2003, 10:52 PM
I read an interview given by Jackie Gleason. Jackie was a pretty good pool player. He was the shortstop in his local pool room. He said that someone brought Willie Mosconi to the room and Jackie didn't know who he was and Mosconi drilled him. After he got whupped, they let him in on the scam. They weren't trying to rob him they were just having fun. Anyway, Jackie said that he got to know Willie and Fats while doing the movie, "The Hustler". He said that he could beat Fats easy.

I do agree with those of you that feel that Fats was good for the game because his charisma has helped make the game more popular. Whether he was a good player or not, he was certainly a character to remember!

Popcorn
09-17-2003, 11:19 PM
An absolute lie. I saw Gleason play several times in Inverary. He could not play a lick. He played about equal to the average better player you would find in any pool room, so far away from a player like Fats it would be a joke. I can't be fooled, I know if someone could play at one time or not, even if they don't play so well now.

Mr. Blonde
09-17-2003, 11:52 PM
Wow, this is the most responded to thread I've ever started in any message board ( Is is sad that I'm a little bit proud of that?). I guess this is the reason I and a lot of other pool fans don't know how good Fats really was, because no two people seem to ever agree on the matter

Popcorn
09-18-2003, 12:26 AM
Yep, he was a riddle wrapped inside of a mystery.

"One thing about players after they die, the longer they are dead, the better they play". (Danny DiLiberto, talking about Johnny Irish)

Qtec
09-18-2003, 05:54 AM
I played Fats once.

I,m just about to take my shot and I say to Fats who is right next to me,"Fats, I'll give you 10 bucks if you just go sit over there"

He says, "Q , am I in your way?"

I said,"No"




















"Youre standing on my foot! "


HaHaHa /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif


Q

Qtec
09-18-2003, 06:09 AM
Popcorn, I think he meant that WillieM could beat Fats easy, not J Gleason.


I would just like to add that pool players are a bitchy lot. They love it when a good player starts losing.

You dont get a name and a reputation like Fats had for nothing.Pool is more than just potting balls.

Maybe he was a great intimidator, a pressure player and a hustler.

Its easy to knock people when they are not around.

Q

Popcorn
09-18-2003, 07:57 AM
Gleason was refering to himself the way I read it, it is a given that Mosconi could beat Fats.

Scott Lee
09-18-2003, 10:21 AM
Mark...I never said Fats was not someone who has done a lot for our sport. I knew Fats fairly well, myself, and always enjoyed seeing him in his element. Although I am not old enough myself, I have spoken with several older players, who have "first-hand knowledge" of this side of him (dumping). I look at it like the very same descriptions of Mosconi, and how he was many times a 'prima donna' who behaved quite poorly in some of his exhibitions. That doesn't take away from his popularity as a pool icon, but it is part of his history with the sport. Both you and I choose to upgrade the image of our sport by participating as instructors to the masses, with very positive, ongoing results...something neither Fatty nor Mosconi ever did!
BTW...I hope you have fun with Jerry and Jeanette next month!

Scott

Scott Lee
09-18-2003, 10:34 AM
Steve...You probably misinterpret what I am saying. In my "Traveling College of Billiard Knowledge" shows (which I perform at universities, military bases and poolrooms), I play challenge matches against the audience, do some trick shots, teach a little, and tell a little billiard history.
Since I no longer gamble, which is what I suspect your question was about, the 'challenge match' that you are perhaps thinking of, would not materialize. On the other hand, I am open to playing anyone, anywhere, at any time (assuming it fits into my schedule), just for the sake of playing pool!

Scott Lee

stevelomako
09-18-2003, 11:04 AM
Scott,
I appreciate your reply, thanks.

You know, I could never figure out why 3 or 4 trick shooters never got together to put on road act. Always just one running around by themselves. People like seeing a good show as much as they like seeing and hearing about gambling and a show would be so much better if there were 2-3 or 4 guys doing it. I know it would be less stressful and alot easier on you guys if you were taking turns doing stuff and more pool rooms and other places would have an easier time selling tickets for something like that than just for one person. Personally, I'd pay 20-30 dollars soft for an evening of trick shot magic with a few guys rather than see one guy for free. Middleditch is always trying to make a buck so I would figure he would do it. Probly couldn't use the Grindinger guy but I know there's other people.
Just an idea to throw at you.

Anyway, back to the thread. I still hope you don't think Fats was some two bit hustler that couldn't play a lick cause you would be absolutely mistaken. Like I said earlier, go back and read my post and tell me so many CHAMPIONS were full of it about what they told me.

Sincerely,
Steve Lomako

bolo
09-18-2003, 11:23 AM
I think if I were in your business it would be a policy to never comment on other player in the negative at all, ever. There is just no reason to. I don't know you at all, just from here, but I have to tell you, it changed my opinion about you a little. Maybe you could care less, but that is what happened. I would delete it if I were you. Just my opinion

Fran Crimi
09-18-2003, 01:55 PM
How good was Fats? Plenty good.

I knew him, I played him, and I watched him play plenty of times.

His exhibitions packed the house and he performed, not just with his dialogue, but with his shot-making skills. He was one of the best bankers I ever saw and I still can't do some of the skill shots he used to perform.

Fatty had a built-in idiot detector that was awesome. He could smell an idiot a mile away and in spite of his dialogue schtick which was all acting, he hated the pool players who were all full of themselves. He always said there was no reason for them to act that way. Fats used to irk Mosconi to no end because he hit Mosconi where it hurt the most...in the ego.

I remember on the set of the TV Match, the Great Shootout between Mosconi and Fats, the producer told me they almost came to blows. Fats attacked Mosconi's ego and Mosconi went after Fats, and they had to tear them apart. Even though Mosconi won the shootout, Fats scored the bigger victory. Some players didn't like Fats because he knew their weaknesses.

And by the way, yes, he played in several pro level events. I watched him play in at least 5 big ones.

Fran

Deeman
09-18-2003, 01:58 PM
I saw Fats shoot some fairly impressive one pocket in the mid sixties but nothing like Eddie Taylor and the others. He may have been tougher when he was younger but I knew him very well in Nashville when he was at the Maxwell House. I enjoyed him as he was the most entertaining man in the world. By then, he had almost no game. I never saw him "down" but always considered him a sad character, never coming out of his Fats character. We would eat at the Bullpin lounge (they fed him free) and I would kick him a few bucks when he needed something. He would shoot some tremendous trick shots and a few stroke shots on his table at the Maxwell House but when we played, he would quit if I was ahead. I mean he just would stop playing and do something else. Not a problem as we were just hitting balls around. He was always talking up us going to JOB so he could gamble high against the pros when there was a tournament but, in truth, he had no money, no one would have staked him and, not to make any of you mad, but he just didn't have the game. He did ask me to dump to him when we were playing in front of people and I had no problem doing that. He said it like he could crush me but didn't want to show his full speed.

I liked him. I tried to even get close to him but I don't know anyone who did. I remember taking him to the hospital and paying his ER bill and him calling me a mootch an hour later. Still I liked him! I never saw him hustle kids but know he would talk about the big dumps he had done in the past. My feeling was, he always claimed a dump when he lost, but that was just Rudy. I was an executive at Nissan and would frequently bring Japanese and American business men to meet him. He would play them a fun game and the next day tell everyone he had beat the President of GM out of $1,000,000. He simply had no shame in claiming anything. What upset other players like Danny Deliberto was that he claimed titles and wins that were not his. Can you imagine someone who had never made the majors calling Nolan Ryan a Chump?

He (or Walter Tevis's character) has done a lot for pool. Rudy was much more entertaining than the fictional character but survived on his will not to let any facts get in the way of his legacy that he created.

How well did he shoot? I don't think he was ever above good shortstop status but who really knows? I was not born until 1952. I say let the old guy's memory rest as George Custer, John Kennedy and many others are not exactly what we thought either. However, he like all legends are fair game for what is remembered, written and recorded. Scott's recollection is much closer to the Fats I knew than Mark's.

Fats wouldn't care as long as you were talking about him.
/ccboard/images/graemlins/laugh.gif
Deeman

Sid_Vicious
09-18-2003, 02:57 PM
I don't mean to diminish someone already gone, I was told first hand by this guy who lived close by that Fats was alone, was broke, and that still makes me feel sorry for that kind of end. I've lived long enough to see that the end of someone's time can be much, much better for the most part, and I'm speaking about the general, run of the mill US citizen. Anyway those are my feelings from what I was told, not a need for anybody else to adopt any of them...sid

wolfdancer
09-18-2003, 03:35 PM
Post deleted by wolfdancer

Qtec
09-18-2003, 06:19 PM
Dont feel sorry Sid. Just think of the life he had.

Would you rather work in an office for 50 years , never done anything crazy and retire on your pension and live comfortably till you die. Always wondering if it all could have been different?


Or would you rather be Fats, who has a million stories to tell and a million memories?

You cant have it all.


I would rather be Fats. But thats me.


Q

Scott Lee
09-19-2003, 12:24 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote wolfdancer:</font><hr> I heer'd, that in his day (way before my time) he gave exhibitions before presidents and royalty,Army and Navy bases, etc....wait..that might be Jack White (they're both around the same age)How good was JW?? "Come, let us to....." <hr /></blockquote>

Ok Jack! That does it! I'm coming back to the Bay Area to give you a new pair of glasses! LOL How good do I play? Hell...you know, I can't play a lick (but I fake it pretty good!)! LOL JW? He always used to say (when someone would ask him), "How good do I play? I dunno, I never been tested!" LOL At 72 he still has a silky smooth stroke!
Hope to see you again in Nov.

Scott

Scott Lee
09-19-2003, 12:48 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote stevelomako:</font><hr> Scott,
I appreciate your reply, thanks.

You know, I could never figure out why 3 or 4 trick shooters never got together to put on road act. Always just one running around by themselves. People like seeing a good show as much as they like seeing and hearing about gambling and a show would be so much better if there were 2-3 or 4 guys doing it. I know it would be less stressful and alot easier on you guys if you were taking turns doing stuff and more pool rooms and other places would have an easier time selling tickets for something like that than just for one person. Personally, I'd pay 20-30 dollars soft for an evening of trick shot magic with a few guys rather than see one guy for free. Middleditch is always trying to make a buck so I would figure he would do it. Probly couldn't use the Grindinger guy but I know there's other people.
Just an idea to throw at you.

Anyway, back to the thread. I still hope you don't think Fats was some two bit hustler that couldn't play a lick cause you would be absolutely mistaken. Like I said earlier, go back and read my post and tell me so many CHAMPIONS were full of it about what they told me.

Sincerely,
Steve Lomako <hr /></blockquote>

Steve...Actually the few of us that travel extensively do pretty well individually already! Your idea is a good one though, and I have already put together a small group of trick shot artists, instructors, and tour pros, whom I represent to venues around the country for exhibitions, in addition to my own tour bookings.

As far as Fats is concerned...no, I don't think of him as a two-bit hustler. Like Deeman illustrated, Fats created his own persona and biography out of thin air...and spent the better part of his adult life famous, because of a hit movie (that wasn't even about him)! Without "The Hustler", Fats would never have been anyone remembered any more than the thousands of faceless players from the past. Because of a lucky break, Rudy Wanderone picked up a nickname, and milked it like nobody's business for better than 30 yrs! However, Fats did have the showmanship necessary to pull it off. Don't get me wrong. He was VERY good at what he did, but like some other poolplayers, he did have a dark side of his personality too!

Scott Lee

NH_Steve
09-19-2003, 04:42 AM
Scott, I think you short change Fats a bit here. There have been other pool movies, there has never been another Fats. Also, wasn't he 'Fats' already -- before the movie -- but 'New York Fats' at the time? And who's to say that Walter Tevis didn't build his character partly around Rudolph Wanderone -- that has always been suggested. Sure 'Minnesota' was fictional, but 'Fats' was not.

Certainly wouldn't you agree he was perhaps a little better than 'very good' at what he did? Over the last fifty years no one has out-done Fats. He certainly got a big boost from the movie to bring the spotlight his way, but he had the pure entertainment talent to keep 'em coming back.

As a player, it appears his heyday was the 40's and 50's, and especially banking and One Pocket. By the time he did the mosconi TV things he was kinda over the hill as a player -- but still going strong with his personality!

Scott Lee
09-19-2003, 09:44 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote NH_Steve:</font><hr> Scott, I think you short change Fats a bit here. There have been other pool movies, there has never been another Fats. Also, wasn't he 'Fats' already -- before the movie -- but 'New York Fats' at the time? And who's to say that Walter Tevis didn't build his character partly around Rudolph Wanderone -- that has always been suggested. Sure 'Minnesota' was fictional, but 'Fats' was not.

Certainly wouldn't you agree he was perhaps a little better than 'very good' at what he did? Over the last fifty years no one has out-done Fats. He certainly got a big boost from the movie to bring the spotlight his way, but he had the pure entertainment talent to keep 'em coming back.

As a player, it appears his heyday was the 40's and 50's, and especially banking and One Pocket. By the time he did the mosconi TV things he was kinda over the hill as a player -- but still going strong with his personality!

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Steve...I have always been a fan of Fats! However, the truth is that he could never play with the best players, regardless of the era. According to his own monologue, he beat everyone for the cash! LOL He was a wonderful storyteller, and nobody really cares whether the stories were true or not, including me. As an amateur historian, I am always interested in both sides...the truth and the "make-believe". Rudy may have known as "New York Fats", but there is little evidence to back that up. He grabbed the M.F. moniker after the movie won the academy award in 1961. Walter Tevis swore that he never wrote his Minnesota Fats character based on any poolplayer, most especially Wanderone. That is certainly up for debate, but I tend to believe the author of the initial story.

Yes, there was only ONE Fats...but nobody has outdone him?
That too, is debatable. Even Jack White, with his chutzpah, actually did perform before the President of the United States, AND did a command performance for the Queen of England (among many other figureheads in many countries). Fatty never reached those lofty heights! Even Jack, though, commented on Fat's terrific ability to talk up a storm, and keep the audience in stitches for hours!
With worldwide t.v. coverage, Mike Massey is getting very well known, and perhaps will eclipse Fats, especially in terms of being a skilled player!

Whether it comes from the movie, or his own schmoozing, there will always be just ONE Minnesota Fats! LOL I am certainly grateful to him, for promoting the game as he did, and bringing knowledge of it to millions of people over the years!

Scott