THIS INDUCTEE: Fourteen-time
World Pocket Billiard Champion Ralph
Greenleaf possessed all the flash and flair of a
natural showman. With his beautiful actress wife, Princess Nai Tai
Tai, the handsome Greenleaf put together a sparkling trick-shot
performance and toured the vaudeville circuit in the 1920s and 30s.
The audiences watched him perform his spectacular shots by looking
at a huge mirror suspended on stage over the playing table. Greenleaf
won his first Pocket Billiard championship in 1919 and his last
one in 1937.
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.
1948 - Present
the basics of pool at an early age from his father in
his hometown of Owensboro, Kentucky, Nick
Varner displayed his great overall talents
in 14.1, Nine Ball, One Pocket and Bank Pool by claiming
the 1969 and 1970 national ACU-I collegiate titles,
the World 14.1 Championship in 1980 and 1986 and the
BCA National Eight Ball Championship in 1980.
Accumulating over 20 major titles in his career, he
became only the second man to earn over $100,000 in
prize winnings in the memorable 1989 season in which
he won eight of the 16 major Nine Ball events. Winner
of the Player of the Year in 1980 and 1989, and the
first honoree of the MPBA Sportsperson of the Year in
1991, Nick has always been an exemplary role model and
has enriched the sport of pocket billiards through his
many years of dedication to excellence and sportsmanship.
1817 - 1871
Phelan is considered
by many to be the Father of American Billiards as a
player, inventor, manufacturer and tireless popularizer
of billiards. He played in and won the first billiard
stakes match in 1859, and holds many patents for table
designs and cushions. He is credited as being the first
to put diamonds on tables. He authored "Billiards Without
A Master" (1850), the first American book on billiards,
and set trend for lavish billiard rooms through his
New York room on Broadway.
1918 - 2005
Taylor is a two-time world all-around tournament
champion. He defeated Hall-of-Famer Luther Lassiter
in all-around finals in Johnston City, Ill., in 1964.
He also defeated Danny Jones and Mike Eufemia at '67
Stardust Open finals in Las Vegas. He lost to Lassiter
in '63 Johnston City all-around finals, and finished
7th in '67 World 14.1 championship in New York.
A Tennessee native, the "Knoxville Bear" was inducted
into the Knoxville Sports Hall of Fame in 1987. He is
an active promoter of billiards in Boys Clubs of America,
and is regarded as one of the greatest one-pocket and
bank pool players of all time.
1936 - Present
Martin: Born in 1936, his world titles in
straight pool in 1971, 1974 and 1978 make Ray Martin
one of only seven players in this century to win three
or more world 14.1 titles. He has many nine-ball tournament
wins to his credit as well, including the 1980 Caesars
Tahoe Invitational, the 1981 ESPN King of the Hill,
and the 1983 Music City Open. While concentrating today
more on teaching than playing, Martin is still a threat
in straight pool tournaments, finishing fourth and fifth
in the 1992 and 1993 BCA U.S. Opens. In collaboration
with Rosser Reeves, Martin wrote "The 99 Critical Shots
in Pool" (1977).
1911 - 1999
Moore (born 1911): Although Moore never won
a world title, he claimed the National Pocket Billiards
Championship in a 3,000-point match win over Luther
Lassiter in 1958. At the National Invitational Pocket
Billiards Championship in New York City in 1965, he
easily outdistanced a straight-pool field which included
the strongest players of the period such as Joe Balsis,
Ed Kelly, Lou Butera, Luther Lassiter and Eddie Taylor.
He is a five-time runner-up in world 14.1 championship
play. He posted high finishes in many other major events
in the '50s and '60s.
1937 - 1996
to a Brooklyn, New York family in 1937, James Cisero
Murphy was the first and only African-American ever
to win a world or U.S. national billiard title. He started
by taking the New York City championship at age 16.
While in his 20's he won the Eastern States 14.1 Championship
six straight times against top competition, but because
of his race was not invited to compete in world title
events until 1965, when he won the Burbank World Invitational
14.1 tournament, beating Joe Balsis, Jimmy Moore and
Luther Lassiter. Murphy remains the only player in the
history of pocket billiards competition to win a world
title on his first attempt. He continued to place near
the top in straight pool events during the 1960s and,
two decades later, had a winning record in the 1983
BCA U.S. Open 14.1 Championship. Murphy has posted several
competitive high runs of over 250 balls.
1941 - Present
West, the only player to appear in every
BCA U.S. Open straight pool championship, was born in
1941 in Rockford, Illinois. By age 13, he had run 97
balls at straight pool. The holder of several state
pool titles, West was the U.S. Open champion in 1975
and 1983. An expert 9-ball player, he earned second
place in the 1995 WPA World Championship. He also plays
top-level three cushions. West has shared his extensive
knowledge of straight pool on videotapes, explaining
in detail how long runs are made. He has been winning
tournaments for over 20 years and has earned the respect
of the best players in the game for his positive attitude,
gentlemanly behavior, and competitive spirit.
| Back | Next