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News-Antique.com - Sep 02,2011 - Willie Mosconi was to pocket billiards what Michael Jordan was to basketball.
From 1941 through 1956 Willie won the world pocket billiards championship 13 times in 15 years. He also won Cushion Billiards world championships (pool played without pockets)--a rare champion in both sports.
In a 1954 pool exhibition Willie managed to land 526 balls in a row without a miss. “The Mosc” as fans nicknamed him possessed a real passion for the sport reportedly practicing six hours a day for seven days a week over a 30 year period. Willie’s long-term sponsorship with Brunswick Corporation gave him the time and space to get great.
Born in Philadelphia in 1913, the young pool shark turned to the game early. At age four he was spotted pushing crates over to his father’s pool table after each shot so he could get a better look at the table top. He was also caught more than once shooting potatoes with a mop handle around the pool table.
One of Willie’s most publicized games happened in 1978 between him and Minnesota Fats. The competition was televised on ABC’s “Wide World of Sports.” Both men were 65 but you would never have known it by the skill each player demonstrated. Willie’s razor-sharp accuracy prevailed and he won the game.
Willie died of a heart attack on Sept. 12, 1993. He has been called the greatest player in the history of the game.
On May 14, Hunt Auctions held its Important Sports Memorabilia Auction in Chicago. Featured in the sale was a selection of items belonging to Willie.
His favorite pool cue produced by Russian master George Balabushka with a Burton Spain forearm, four Ebony colored points, five colored veneers; diamond mother-of-pearl inlays; including eight shafts sold for $92,000.