Here's a phrase I'll be repeating a lot in my stories. "The One And Only" Rudolph 'Minnesota Fats' Wanderone.
1970./ Fats was the only human that could out talk Ronnie 'Fast Eddie' Allen. After beating Ronnie for $9,000 getting 9 to 7 playing 1 pocket for $500 a game Fats took 9 to 8 from Richie Florence (Ronnie's partner) for $500 a game playing 1 pocket.
Ronnie and Richie had just won $33,000 a week before from Cleo Vaughn in Mobile, AL. Cleo was a great 1 pocket player so it took greater players to beat him.
This is a 100% true story, I knew that it happened because I went through Mobile just a few days later and played Cleo who I tried to play higher but he'd only bet $300 a game and by his actions I knew he was getting money from his partner and local bookmaker.
After stalling a little the first day, the next day we started for $500 a game and stayed there until I'd won around $4,000 for the 2 days then Cleo had to quit.
After the first day, local light heavyweight Calvin who'd fought Bob Foster for the light heavyweight title.
They say Foster won every round and hit Calvin with everything but the chair and couldn't knock him down. Calvin went the 15 rounds. A real life YO ADRIAN moment. Bob Foster was a great champion. Wiki Bob
Anyway Calvin and I were friends from the year before. He steered me to some spots and i gave him a 20% free roll. Cleo quit a little early and Calvin and I went to dinner together that's when I heard about Ronnie n Richie having just beaten Cleo.
Ronnie and Richie had called Jansco and were on their way to Johnston City, IL to match up with Fatty a week before the tournament started.
So Barbara and I headed toward Johnston City. My friend and old midwest running mate Lindy Craddock was there, watching Richie and Fats playing for $500 a game in the pit. Fatty had Richie and Ronnie stuck a lot...
Lindy saw me and started laughing, trying to hold it in he motioned to me to meet him outside then he told me Ronnie lost $9,000 giving Fatty 9/7 then Richie started giving Fats 9/8 and when Fatty scratched he spotted 1 of Richie's balls.
Lindy said Fats would take an intentional scratch make a noise in his troth of balls and grab one of Richie's w his left hand and throw it over to his right hand then bring the ball out wide from his side of the table and spot it up. All the time Lindy was telling me this he was laughing. Started laughing so hard he couldn't breathe, then told me the rest.
Now Ronnie is sitting beside Lindy watching the game and after a couple of games of watching Fatty called Richie over and said Fats just scratched and spotted your 5 ball.
Richie waited until after Fats turn then after he got down ready to shoot Richie said wait a minute, what's the 5 ball doing on the spot I banked it in cross corner earlier.
Fats you spotted my 5 ball after that last scratch you took. Fats said that's right, you're right Richie and put the 5 ball in Richie's troth then spotted one of his own, then said.
Ronnie you've got to leave we didn't hire you to keep this game and I think you're giving Richie signals on what to shoot. Ronnie 'The Knocker' Allen, you've got to leave the room or you're gonna force me to quit. Richie doesn't need coaching or you pulling his coat.
Ronnie said "well you took 2 scratches and spotted 2 of Richie's balls. 9/8 is tough action but I know he can't play you 11/6. Fatty started unscrewing. Richie told Ronnie to leave.
That's when I came in all this had happened an hour or two before I got there. When I watched Fats was playing perfect for the next 4 hours of so until Fats quit after 8 hours of playing as agreed to before they started.
Then they'd kick it off the next day around noon and Fats was the most offensive minded player I'd ever seen. Ronnie was the second most offensive player I've ever seen but for the next few days until he'd won $40,000 from Ronnie and Richie, the only bank I saw Fatty miss was when he wanted to leave it in the jaws and put whitey behind tied up balls.
Sometimes Richie would have a few balls around his pocket and Fats didn't even look at Richie's pocket.
Fats banked a ball on Richie's side of he table near the side pocket long-rail end rail and caddy corner into the middle of Fatty's pocket while drawing the cue ball back for position to run out. If he would've missed that bank Richie's pocket had 3 balls near it that were still there after Fatty ran out.
Bill 'Weenie Beenie' Staton won the 1 pocket in Johnston City that year and I think the all-around playoff title too. He appeared on Johnny Carson's Tonight Show for it.
A day after Beenie won Fats made an appointment to play him some even the next day Fats lost 3 in a row for $300 a game like 8/0, 8/1, 8/3 that's close to the scores.
I watched Fats as he went over to the baby powder and filled his hand up with it then slapping his hands together the powder made a huge cloud and Fatty walked through saying "well pole are you ready to get it out of the dirt and play for $500." It was Beenie's break and said sure let's play for $500 a game. Fatty beat him 8/0 3 games in a row so fast it was unbelievable. Beenie couldn't breathe and white as a ghost could barely talk loud enough to say he quit. Fats had just done things the first inning of all 3 games that blew Beenie's mind. Mine too.
The Last Johnston City Tournament: 1972, Round-Robin, 9 Ball and 1 Pocket only. Three weeks, you play everybody.
Tournament eve; Minnesota Fats ( Rudolph Wanderone ) is speaking live on a midwest tv and radio broadcast, trying to help Paulie Jansco promote the tournament. Here is one of the things he said, and I quote " Jimmy Reid is here from LA and wants to play. Any man from any land, any game he can name, for any amount he can count, anything he can bring."
Three weeks later-finals night, there are 4 players left in the 9 ball and 4 players left in the 1 pocket, yours truly is top of the board in both divisions, I'm ahead of Norman Hitchcock 1 game to love in the 1 pocket semi-finals and we had just begun the 2nd. game----when all of a sudden a voice comes over the microphone;
This is the FBI, everybody stay where you are, we've got all the exits closed, and this tournament is over. They had 33 Subpoenas and 12 indightments for interstate gambling act and income tax evasion. We all had to appear at a special Grand Jury hearing that was scheduled for 9am next morning in St Louis, Mo.. Come to find out, that the tournament eve quote of Fats was grounds enough for the interstate gambling charges, they (FBI) only made one mistake, they served Fats with a subpoena also.
About 1/2 of us had gone in and testified one at a time before the Grand Jury, then Fats showed up and demanded to testify next. When he got through testifying and came out into the corridor--- the whole Grand Jury followed him out and wanted his autograph. They decided not to follow the U.S. District Attorneys advice and immediately dropped the charges against all the poolplayers ( yours truly included ) that had been indicted.
Happy but curious I asked Fatty ( which is what his friends called him ) what had happened. He replied, "I told them that these poolplayers were harmless and to stop wasting the taxpayers' money, that they had 2 people subpoenaed out there, Dirty Low Down Red and Omaha Fats, and that if you gave them a blood test it would come back 90% hotdog & 10% coffee." Fatty was the best talker I've ever known, the DA didn't have a chance. Fatty got us in and Fatty got us out... New York Fats - alias - Minnesota Fats - ( Fatty ) like Ali was "The Greatest"...
Upon returning to LA, I told John Brascia ( John The Dancer ), what had happened - he added a little fiction, wrote the book, screenplay, and 7 years later the movie "THE BALTIMORE BULLET". It came out with James Coburn & Omar Shariff both playing my part. In real life at the end of the movie, Coburn plays Jimmy Fusco's part, wait a minute I'm getting confused.
Let's see, I was winning the tournament and I was also known as the best money player in the world Omar Shariff played me. Bruce Boxleitner played Coburn's partner the real life Cole Dickson, who in reality was my partner, or was it Larry Lisciotti, there I go getting confused again, well anyway, sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction. Gotta go now...
Your confused pool guru, Jimmy Reid
There's another two stories about Fats that I'll put up after I finish some others, coming soon Cornbread Red, Peter Rabbit, Jersey Red, Danny Jones. Ronnie Allen and on and on.