1-2 of 2 results  for:

  • table games x
  • Sports, games, and pastimes x
Clear all

Article

Hoppe, Willie (11 October 1887–01 February 1959), billiards champion, was born William Frederick Hoppe in Cornwall-on-Hudson, New York, the son of Frank Hoppe and Frances Hoffman. Hoppe’s father had been an itinerant barber and successful professional billiards player before purchasing the Commercial Hotel in the Hudson River town near West Point. Willie and his brother Frank spent far more time practicing billiards under the demanding and sometimes harsh regimen of their father than they did in school. Willie dropped out of school after the fourth grade and spent eight-hour days around the billiard table. By 1899 he was hailed a “boy wonder” as he stood on a wooden crate making brilliant shots, his peculiar sidearm strokes sending the ivory balls rolling smoothly over the green baize. For the rest of his life Hoppe’s world was bounded by the four corners of a billiard table. His father sold the hotel and took the two boys on barnstorming tours of upstate New York, earning betting monies along the way. “Father was one tough taskmaster,” Willie later recalled. “He trained my older brother and me so we could trim all the visiting drummers, though I had to stand on a box to do it.”...

Article

Mosconi, Willie (27 June 1913–16 September 1993), pocket billiards champion, was born William Joseph Mosconi in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Joseph William Mosconi, a boxing trainer and pool hall owner, and Helen (maiden name unknown). Mosconi was born to the game of pocket billiards, being raised over a gymnasium where a pool table was available to the boxers his father trained. His father, who hoped that Willie would eventually join his uncles in their vaudeville act, resisted Willie’s learning the game because it had a bad reputation. But when the boy sneaked out of his room to play pool with a broom handle for a cue and potatoes for pool balls, his father conceded. He began to display his inborn talent on the table owned by one of his uncles, a vaudevillian and dance instructor. His uncle’s show business background motivated him to use Willie’s talent in public, and as a six-year-old prodigy Willie soon defeated most local players, although he had to stand on a crate to make most of his shots. He made a good income for his family in these exhibitions and even played against billiards champion Ralph Greenleaf, but he “retired” at age 10 to pursue more normal childhood interests....