Now we all know who tops our list of favorite famous billiards players (hint: she’s striking…) but if you want to expand your knowledge of celeb players, check out our list of some of the big names:
- Willie Hoppe: William Frederick Hoppe (1887-1959) was a carom billiards champion who won 51 world titles. He was inducted post humorously into the Billiard Congress of America (BCA) Hall of Fame in 1966.
- Willie Mosconi: William Joseph Mosconi (1913-1993) was a pioneer in the billiards industry who helped popularize the game with his trick shots (Ewa demonstrates “The Mosconi Shot” here). Between 1941-1957 he won the World Straight Pool Championship 15 times. Nicknamed “Mr. Pocket Billiards,” he served as a technical advisor on The Hustler and also had a cameo. He was one of the first inductees into the BCA Hall of Fame.
- Johnny Layton “The Diamond King”: (1896–1956) The Diamond King won the World Three-Cushion Championship 12 times. He’s credited with originating the method of using the diamond system through the application of his mathematical mind. He recorded the high three-cushion game mark of 50 points in 23 innings—his record still stands.
- Jimmy Caras “The Boy Wonder”: When he defeated Ralph Greenleaf at the age of 17 he was given the nickname “Boy Wonder of the World”. Three of his records still stand, “most balls”, “most games won”, and “fewest innings by a champion”. Caras was inducted into the BCA Hall of Fame in 1977.
- Jean Balukas “The Cue Queen”: Balukas was the second woman inducted into the BCA Hall of Fame. She competed in her first U.S. Open at the young age of nine and finished seventh. Just three years later at 12 years old, she won her first U.S. Open. Balukas boasts seven U.S. Open 14.1 titles and six World Open titles.
- Ralph “The Showman” Greenleaf: (1899-1950) One of the game’s first true showmen, his New York Times obituary said “What Babe Ruth did for baseball, Dempsey did for fighting, Tilden did for tennis…Greenleaf did for pocket billiards” He was in the first group of players inducted into the BCA Hall of Fame in 1966. He won his first world title in 1919 and defended it nine straight times. He put on trick-shot exhibitions, complete with a mirror over the table to enhance the view for the audience.
Who are some of your favorite famous billiards players? For a list of the BCA Hall of Fame, click here.