Willie's Game: An Autobiography

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9780025874954: Willie's Game: An Autobiography

A biography of the legendary pool player discusses his game against World Champion Ralph Greenleaf at the age of seven, his glory years in pool competitions, and his work as a consultant for such top pool movies as The Hustler.

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From Kirkus Reviews:

Likable, well-told autobiography of the world's greatest pocket billiards player, full of superb billiard lore and tales of giants of the cue. Even those who have never played pool will enjoy this engaging story of a Philadelphia billiards prodigy who was playing for stakes at age six and who, a year later, challenged (but lost to) then-World Champion Ralph Greenleaf. Mosconi (writing here with Cohen, A Magic Summer, 1988, etc.) heard billiard balls clicking in earliest childhood, the sound coming from tables in his father's pool hall below the boy's bedroom, and at age five began playing while standing on a box. Though his father tried to deny him access to the tables, Mosconi unveiled a talent so great that his stunned dad began showing the kid off in matches at his and other pool halls. At age seven, Mosconi defeated ten-year-old Juvenile Champion Ruth McGinnis, and, when he turned ten himself, retired undefeated. When the Depression hit, Mosconi reentered the sport for prize money, soon learning that tournament masters had an analytic sense of the game far superior to that of pool hustlers out to con inferior players. Mosconi himself never hustled--though, as a joke, Toots Shor once brought him in to beat braggart Jackie Gleason, who didn't know Mosconi by sight. The author commended Gleason to director Robert Rossen to play Minnesota Fats in The Hustler, for which Mosconi acted as technical adviser and as Paul Newman's trainer. Many legendary games are replayed here as Mosconi shows--quite modestly--how his fast, nervous style won the World Championship 15 times and at last crushed the real-life Minnesota Fats on TV's Wide World of Sports. You're on the green felt, kissing a solid-colored ball into a side pocket and stopping on a dime, positioned perfectly for the next ball. Marvelous. (Photographs--not seen) -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Library Journal:

Pool, or billiards, is enjoying a yuppie-induced renaissance of late. Mosconi, the record 15-time world champion player/legend, played from the 1930s to his retirement in the late 1970s. Noted for his speedy shooting style and his professional manner, Mosconi here provides a fascinating glimpse of his 50 years in the subculture's circuits and venues. His reminiscences of colorful legends of the game, like Ralph Greenleaf and the inimitable Minnesota Fats, are especially noteworthy, while his account of his early years growing up in Philadelphia, the grind of the road, wartime service, and health troubles convey aspects of the human predicament. The biggest problem for general readers will be the numerous play-by-play accounts of memorable games. Unless one is already versed in the rules, scoring, and so forth, these passages quickly become tiresome. While not a necessary purchase for most libraries, the book's overall entertainment and historical value are high. Purchase where sports books are heavily circulated.
- David M Turkalo, Social Law Lib. , Boston
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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