THIS INDUCTEE: Earl
Strickland was a dominant player
during the 1980s and 1990s, and continues to be so today. He currently
holds over 100 tournament titles and has been named Player
of the Year five times. He won the Akron Open nine times and
the US Open 9-Ball Championship five times: 1984, 1987, 1993, 1997
and 2000. He has won the World 9-Ball Championship six times: 1984,
88, 90, 91, 94 and 2002. He most recently
won the World Pool Masters Trick Shot Challenge in 2003. Read
The following information
listed in this section of The8Knights is credited to the Billiard
Congress of America. Check out their official site at http://www.bca-pool.com.
1910 - 2002
Caras was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania,
and is the second living person to be elected to the
Hall of Fame. Jimmy started playing billiards at the
age of five. When 17, he defeated Ralph Greenleaf in
an exhibition match to become known as the Boy Wonder
of The World. Nine years later, in 1936, he won his
first world championship. He won again in 1938, 1939
and in 1949. Eighteen years later, in 1967, he won the
U.S. Open in a field of 48 players. His record of "most
balls," "most games won" and "fewest innings by a champion"
still stand in the record book for that size field.
1913 - 2001
Crane was born in Livonia, New York. His
love for the game started as a child, when he was given
a toy billiard table. Although he played steadily as
a teenager, he did not enter tournament play until the
age of 23. He won his first world title in 1942. Since
then, he has won almost two dozen major championships,
including the world crown in 1946, 1955, 1966, 1968,
1970, 1972, plus the International Roundrobin championship
Crane was the victor in the 1978 World Series of Billiards
(a combination of 14.1 and 9-ball) against a strong
field of outstanding competitors. His greatest triumph,
however, was his victory in the 1966 U.S. Open, when
he won the championship in a never-to-be-excelled record
run of 150 and out.
1944 - 2006
Mizerak was born in Perth Amboy, NJ. He was
a world champion pool player dominant during the 1970s
and early 1980s in the game of 14.1 continuous. In the
brief span of his career, he was four-time champion
of the U.S. Open, winning the title from 1970 to 1973.
He also captured the PPPA World Open title in 1982 and
1983. In 1986, he had a part in The Color of Money,
a movie about pool. Mizerak owned and operated pool
halls in the West Palm Beach-Lake Park, Florida area
during the 1990s and 2000s. He founded the "Senior Tour"
in 1996 for players 50 years of age and older. He continued
to finish near the top in several national tournaments
1914 - 1995
Wise was born in Spokane, Washington. In
her early years, there were very few national tournaments
for women. Since she was in many local and state tournaments,
she became the self-proclaimed world champion. When
BCA staged the first national tournament for women in
1967, she immediately entered. For the next five years,
she proved herself most worthy as she won five consecutive
U.S. Open titles.
1921 - 1995
Balsis was born in Minnersville, Pa. Balsis
never could resist knocking the balls around one of
the pool tables at father John Balsis' recreation room.
By the time he was 11, Balsis was playing exhibitions
against the likes of Andrew Ponzi and Erwin Rudolph.
He won junior titles four consecutive years. During
pool's doldrum years Balsis left the game and it wasn't
until 1944 that Balsis, a boat machinist in the Coast
Guard, won his next title; Armed Services Champ. In
1964 "the Meatman," as Balsis is known because of his
family's meat business, returned to competitive pool.
Between 1965 and 1975 Balsis competed in the finals
of the U.S. Open five times, winning twice (1968 &
1974). He won the prestigious Billiard Room Proprietor's
Association tournament in 1965, then captured the World
All-Around championship in Johnston City, Ill., in 1966.
He won the Jansco brothers' Stardust Open all-around
title back-to-back in 1968 and 1969.
1919 - 1988
by many to be the finest 9-ball player ever, Luther
Lassiter was born in Elizabeth City, NC.
Lassiter earned his nickname "Wimpy," for all the hot
dogs and Orange Crushes he could pack away as a youngster
hanging around the local pool hall. By the time he was
17, "Wimpy" was packing away his share of opponents.
Lassiter's biggest years in tournament play came in
the 1960s. In the 11 years of the Jansco brothers' all-around
championships in Johnston City, IL (1962-1972), Lassiter
won the straight pool title five times, the nine-ball
title four times and the one-pocket title once. On three
occasions Lassiter went on to capture the All-Around
title (1962, 1963, 1967). He also won the BCA U.S. Open
in 1969 and the Stardust World All-Around championship
1913 - 1996
the most recognizable figure in the history of pool,
Rudolph"Minnesota Fats" Wanderone
was elected to the Hall of Fame for Meritorious Service.
Although he never actually won a designated "world championship,"
Wanderone, the game's leading comic, orator and publicity
generator, has probably done more for the game in terms
of sheer exposure than any other player. Initially nicknamed
"Brooklyn Fats," and "New York Fats," Wanderone dubbed
himself "Minnesota Fats" after the film version of "The
Hustler" hit movie screens around the country in the
early 1960's. Since that time he has become known around
the world as pool's foremost side show. "Fats," whose
exact age is a mystery, hosted a national television
show, "Celebrity Billiards," during the 1960s. He stopped
playing in tournaments around that time.
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