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Encyclopedia > Luther Lassiter

Luther "Wimpy" Lassiter (b. 1919, Elizabeth City, North Carolina, d. 1988, Elizabeth City, North Carolina) was an American professional pool player. He was an inductee into the Billiards Congress of America's Hall of Fame in 1983, and is generally considered to have been the greatest nine-ball player of all time. Elizabeth City is a city located in Pasquotank County, North Carolina. ... Official language(s) English Capital Raleigh Largest city Charlotte Area  Ranked 28th  - Total 53,865 sq mi (139,509 km²)  - Width 150 miles (240 km)  - Length 560[1] miles (901 km)  - % water 9. ... Elizabeth City is a city located in Pasquotank County, North Carolina. ... Official language(s) English Capital Raleigh Largest city Charlotte Area  Ranked 28th  - Total 53,865 sq mi (139,509 km²)  - Width 150 miles (240 km)  - Length 560[1] miles (901 km)  - % water 9. ... Pocket billiards is a sub-classification of the broader category of games known as cue sports. ... This is the list of people inducted into the Billiard Congress of Americas Hall of Fame. ... 1983 (MCMLXXXIII) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ... A correct nine ball rack Nine ball is a contemporary variation of pocket billiards, with historical beginnings rooted in the United States and traceable to the 1920s. ...

Contents

Early Life

As a young man, Lassiter showed signs of uncanny hand-eye coordination, both in the areas of pool and baseball. In the sandlot games of his youth he was an ace pitcher, and according to his friends, who affectionately referred to him as "Bud," he was the player everyone wanted on their team. Lassiter's younger brother, Clarence, spoke of his talent as a pitcher: "Coach was always trying to sign him up. You know, Bud could pitch a ball. But by then, pool had caught him and he didn't care about the athletic end of things. The coach pestered him and pestered him and tried to get him to play, because he had a natural talent for baseball. But he didn't use it; he was trapped by pool." On the subject, Lassiter himself said, "Oh, sure, I played some baseball. In fact, it was at some little old ball game that I once ate twelve hot dogs and drank thirteen Cokes and Orange Crushes, and everybody fell to calling me Wimpy" (after the Popeye character of the same name, who loved to eat hamburgers). So instead of baseball, Lassiter focused on pool, and began developing his game at City Billiards in Elizabeth City. The owner of the room, Speedy Ives, would allow Wimpy to come in the back door and shoot whenever he wanted as long as he would clean the floors and sweep the pool tables. Look up coordination in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... A view of the playing field at Busch Memorial Stadium, St. ... The Sandlot is a 1993 film about young baseball players. ... mcv ... A large hot dog with ketchup A hot dog is classified as a type of sausage or, alternatively, a sandwich on a suitably shaped bun with the sausage and condiments on it. ... A Popeye comic book cover shows Popeye, with his characteristic corncob pipe and single good eye, and his girlfriend Olive Oyl. ... Elizabeth City is a city located in Pasquotank County, North Carolina. ... A billiards table with 6 pockets A billiards table (sometimes improperly called pool tables, which are specific for pool games) are tables where billiards games are played on. ...


Also as a young man, Lassiter became afflicted with a condition, which he termed as "the swolls," that would follow him throughout his life. This was a condition in which, when an attractive member of the opposite sex approached him with affection, Lassiter's lips would puff up and become red and swollen. This condition first showed up in the early 1940s when Lassiter was in Norfolk, Virginia. Minnesota Fats remembered, "[Lassiter's] lips would be all puffed up and at first I thought it was from wiping off the lipstick. But there was nothing he could do about it, so he finally gave up on tomatoes across the board by remaining a bachelor. Evelyn told Wimpy he should fall in love and get married, but Wimpy would always say, 'Bless you, Mrs. Wanderone, but I'm already in love - I'm in love with pool.' And he really was." This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... Motto: Crescas (Latin for, Thou shalt grow. ... Rudolph Walter Wanderone Jr. ...


Hustler Days

During the early 1940s, following his discharge from the Coast Guard, Lassiter's main running buddy was Rudolph Walter Wanderone Jr., best known as Minnesota Fats. Their town of preference was Norfolk, Virginia, which was known at the time as the highest-rolling place to be for pool hustlers, card players, prostitutes, and gamblers in general. Lassiter became the "undisputed king" of the pool hustlers during these years, reportedly winning over $300,000 between 1942 and 1948 (including $15,000 in a single week) from gambling on pool games. He often accepted money games involving extraordinary sums, often around $1,000 a game. It was during this time that Lassiter developed the confidence and skill necessary to begin to compete on the professional level with the greatest pocket-billiard masters of the time, including Willie Mosconi and Irving Crane. This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... A coast guard is a national organization responsible for various services at sea. ... Rudolph Walter Wanderone Jr. ... William Joseph Mosconi aka (June 27, 1913–September 12, 1993), an American billiards player from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is considered by most who knew him to be one of the best players in the history of the game. ...


After the sudden decline of the gambling action in Norfolk around 1948, Lassiter was forced to begin competing professionally in pool tournaments held across the country. His first major tournament was the World Straight Pool Championships in 1953 held in San Francisco's Downtown Bowl; the player who knocked him out was Willie Mosconi, who would go on to win the tournament and the world title. William Joseph Mosconi aka (June 27, 1913–September 12, 1993), an American billiards player from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is considered by most who knew him to be one of the best players in the history of the game. ...


It was also during this time that Lassiter formed a partnership with Don Willis, a player who, while never having won any world titles because he never competed in any of the tournaments, had beaten some of pool's greatest players, including Jimmy Moore, Ralph Greenleaf, and Willie Mosconi, all in straight pool. And in 1948, Willis had even beaten Lassiter in nine-ball (Wimpy's best game) on Lassiter's home turf, Elizabeth City. Indeed, Willis' talent for nine-ball was the primary reason for Lassiter forming a partnership with Willis rather than a rivalry. Together they would go on the road and hustle pool rooms across the country, sometimes winning anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000 over a period of several days. Don Willis (May 1, 1909 to March 2, 1984) was a legendary and colorful pool hustler and billiards player from Canton, Ohio. ... Ralph Greenleaf (3 November 1899 in Monmouth, Illinois - 15 March 1950) was a twenty time World Pocket Billiard Champion. ... William Joseph Mosconi aka (June 27, 1913–September 12, 1993), an American billiards player from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is considered by most who knew him to be one of the best players in the history of the game. ... A straight pool rack, right before the opening break. ... A correct nine ball rack Nine ball is a contemporary variation of pocket billiards, with historical beginnings rooted in the United States and traceable to the 1920s. ...


Later Years

After his official retirement from pool in 1975, Lassiter continued to play in some low-profile tournaments, but due to years of hard living while on the road and marathon gambling sessions that would last into the early hours of the morning, he often was not able to play quite as well as he had in his younger days. Even so, many pool players during those years claim he was still one of the greatest players alive, and a force to be reckoned with on the pool table. Lassiter did come out of retirement, along with many other pool greats, to compete twice in "The Legendary Stars of Pocket Billiards Tournament," once in January 1982 at Harrah's Marina Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, and then at The Claridge Hotel and Casino, also in Atlantic City. The players who competed in the 1982 tournament were Lassiter, Joe Balsis, Babe Cranfield, Jimmy Moore, U.J. Puckett, Irving Crane, Minnesota Fats, and Willie Mosconi. In 1983, the line-up was the same minus Balsis and Cranfield, and with Jimmy Caras added. These were round-robin tournaments, in which each player would be matched against the others in a single match, with each playing the same number of matches, and receiving a set number of points for each match won. Each match consisted of one seven-ball set, race to four games, one nine-ball set, race to four games, and in the event of a tie, one eight-ball set, best two out of three games. At the 1983 tournament, which was televised on the then-fledging ESPN network, Luther Lassiter pitched a shutout. He won all six of his matches for 20 points each, amassing a perfect score of 120 points and the first place prize of $10,000. After Lassiter defeated Willie Mosconi to put the exclamation point on the tournament, current WPA World Nine-ball Champion at the time and commentator for the match, Allen Hopkins, said to co-commentator Chris Berman, "This is no surprise to me; Wimpy's a great nine-ball player. I watched him play, and he looked like the young Wimpy, from years back. He played great. The way he played this tournament he could have beat anybody, including [today's players]." After beating U.J. Puckett earlier in the same tournament, Lassiter said in response to Berman's praise of his playing, "Well, I'm the youngest and I'm still lucky." A tournament is an organized competition in which many participants play each other in individual games. ... Rudolph Walter Wanderone Jr. ... William Joseph Mosconi aka (June 27, 1913–September 12, 1993), an American billiards player from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is considered by most who knew him to be one of the best players in the history of the game. ... Round Robin = A sexual act between two partners. ... A correct nine ball rack Nine ball is a contemporary variation of pocket billiards, with historical beginnings rooted in the United States and traceable to the 1920s. ... Eight ball players Eight ball is a billiards game played with a cue ball and 15 billiard balls on a pool table with 6 pockets. ... ESPN, formerly an acronym for Entertainment and Sports Programming Network, is an American cable television network dedicated to broadcasting sports-related programming 24 hours a day. ... In team sports, a shutout (a clean sheet in soccer) refers to a game in which one team wins without allowing the opposing team to score. ... William Joseph Mosconi aka (June 27, 1913–September 12, 1993), an American billiards player from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is considered by most who knew him to be one of the best players in the history of the game. ... Allen Hopkins is an American sportscaster, who covers soccer for ESPN. He initially came to ESPN to assist with their coverage of the 2006 FIFA World Cup, and is now the sideline reporter for MLS Primetime Thursday and other Major League Soccer coverage. ... Christopher (Boomer) James Berman (born May 10, 1955, in Greenwich, Connecticut) is a sportscaster, who anchors SportsCenter, Monday Night Countdown, Sunday NFL Countdown, Baseball Tonight, U.S. Open golf, and other programming on ESPN. He joined ESPN a month after its founding and has been with the network since. ...


Luther Lassiter spent his final days practically broke, living alone in the house of his childhood in Elizabeth City, on a pension provided by oil tycoon Walter Davis, who was a life-long friend of Lassiter's. When they were children during the Great Depression, Lassiter would give Davis, who came from a poor farming family, a couple of dollars whenever he needed it, which often meant the difference between eating and not eating. Davis never forgot Lassiter's kindess, and repaid him by taking care of his necessities in his last years. To escape his loneliness, Lassiter would often ride his bicycle a couple of blocks away to his younger brother Clarence's and his wife, Barbara's, house, and hang out and play with their two sons. The Great Depression was a time of economic down turn, which started after the stock market crash on October 29, 1929, known as Black Tuesday. ...


Luther Lassiter died in 1988 at his home in Elizabeth City. Clarence's wife, Barbara, said after his passing, "I knew two or three people in my life who I thought would go to heaven - with no doubt - and [Wimpy] was one of them. He treated everybody like they was supposed to be treated."


Quotes

"I watch a man shoot pool for an hour. If he misses more than one shot I know I can beat him."


"The undershirt is the most foolish item in a man's wardrobe. I shall never wear one again." -at Johnston City, Illinois, November 1963 A vest is a type of mens garment. ... Johnston City is a city located in Williamson County, Illinois. ... November 1963 22nd November 1963 United States President John Fitzgerald Kennedy assassinated at Dallas, Texas 22nd November 1963 Aldous Huxley dies in Los Angeles, California 22nd November 1963 C. S. Lewis dies at his home in Oxford 23rd November 1963 First episode of Doctor Who 100,000 BC a. ...


"Man is the strangest of all the Lord's creatures. The trouble with man is he doesn't know how to live . . . I'm a pool player, so they ask me, 'Haven't you done anything with your life except shoot pool? Haven't you ever worked?' I always tell them, 'Well, no, sir, I can't say that I've ever worked.' That always gets those rascals, 'cause they always ask, 'But how have you managed to live?' Oh, Lawdie, that's so silly. I tell them, 'Sir, I live like a tree - 3 percent from the soil and 97 percent from the air.' You know, that's true." -to Tom Fox at McAnn's Saloon in New York City, 1967, during the World 14.1 Continuous Championships, which he won after defeating Jack Breit (better known as Jersey Red) in a score of 150-73 Nickname: Location in the state of New York Coordinates: Country United States State New York Boroughs The Bronx Brooklyn Manhattan Queens Staten Island Settled 1625 Government  - Mayor Michael Bloomberg (R) Area  - City  468. ... 1967 (MCMLXVII) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar (the link is to a full 1967 calendar). ... Straight Pool, also called 14. ...


Career

Titles

Johnston City is a city located in Williamson County, Illinois. ... A correct nine ball rack Nine ball is a contemporary variation of pocket billiards, with historical beginnings rooted in the United States and traceable to the 1920s. ... A straight pool rack, right before the opening break. ... Please wikify (format) this article as suggested in the Guide to layout and the Manual of Style. ... Straight Pool, also called 14. ... A correct nine ball rack Nine ball is a contemporary variation of pocket billiards, with historical beginnings rooted in the United States and traceable to the 1920s. ... Please wikify (format) this article as suggested in the Guide to layout and the Manual of Style. ... Straight Pool, also called 14. ...

References

  • "In Memory of Luther 'Wimpy' Lassiter", The Snap magazine, June/July 1990, page 30
  • Dyer, R.A. Hustler Days: Minnesota Fats, Wimpy Lassiter, Jersey Red, and America's Great Age of Pool. Guilford, Connecticut: The Lyons P, 2003.
  • "The Legendary Stars of Pocket Billiards," 1982/83, Television Broadcast, ESPN network.

 
 

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