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Hall of Fame Inductees, 2011-2018
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Hall of Fame Inductees: 2011-2018  

 

Charles Ursitti
1972 - Present
Inducted 2015


Charles Ursitti’s career in billiard promotions began when he teamed with boxing promoter Big Fights, Inc., to produce the first-ever meeting of pool legends Willie Mosconi and “Minnesota Fats” in the “Great Pool Shootout.”  The 1978 ABC-TV Wide World of Sports production drew more than 10 million television viewers, and remains the most watched pool match ever aired in the U.S. Ursitti went on to promote televised matches between Fats and Mosconi, eventually introducing modern day players like Allen Hopkins and Steve Mizerak into the productions.  A seven-year run with CBS Sports Spectacular created opportunities to add more pro players, as well as female stars Jean Balukas and Loree Jon Ogonowski (Hasson).  Ursitti was responsible for pool’s initial forays onto cable giant ESPN, where he promoted the “King of the Hill” series and the “Legends of Pocket Billiards” series.

In addition to being a promoter, Ursitti researched and created a database documenting the history of competitive pool and three-cushion billiards in the U.S., chronicling the sport from 1878 to present day.  The database is available online for free at charlesursitti.com.

“Needless to say, I’m thrilled to be elected into the BCA Hall of Fame,” Ursitti said.  “When I was first introduced to pocket billiards in 1976, I never dreamed of someday joining the greatest of the great.  I consider myself really lucky with all of my promotions, and was honored to work with the legends of the sport, from Willie and Fats, Irving Crane and Jimmy Caras, to Mizerak, Hopkins, Mike Sigel, Jimmy Rempe and the rest.  It has been a great trip, and I will cherish that forever.”


 

Oliver Ortmann
"The Machine"
1967 - Present
Inducted 2014

One of the most decorated players in Europe, Oliver Ortmann led the way for European players in the United States by scoring a shocking win over pool legend Steve Mizerak in the final of the 1989 BCA U.S. Open 14.1 Championship in Chicago.  Ortmann went on to win the 1993 BCA U.S. Open, as well as three World Pool-Billiard Association world titles — the 1993 WPA World 9-Ball Championship and the WPA World 14.1 Championship in 2007 and 2010.  The fiery Ortmann twice won the International Challenge of Champions (1997 and 2000), and captained Team Europe’s winning Mosconi Cup squad in 2002.  He also holds 14 European Pool Championship gold medals, 13 Euro Tour titles and was three-time European Player of the Year.

“This is a great surprise to me,” Ortmann said, after being notified of his election. “It’s great news.  To be honest, I had stopped thinking about the hall of fame.  Many years ago I thought it was possible, but after years went by, I thought my time had passed.”

 

Mika Immonen
"The Iceman"
1972 - Present
Inducted 2014

Mika Immonen, born in London, but raised in Finland, was the European 9-Ball Tour’s No. 1 player at 20.  Four years after capturing his first major international title — the 1996 Peace Cup in Taiwan —Immonen settled in New York City.  A year later, he won the World Pool Championship in Cardiff, Wales, topping a star-studded 128-player international field and grabbing what was then pool’s richest top prize — $65,000.  Immonen was a dominant player throughout the 2000s, winning 10 pro titles in the U.S., including back-to-back U.S. Open 9-Ball Championships crowns (2008, 2009).  He added his second world title when he won the 2009 World 10-Ball Championship.  Billiards Digest named Immonen “Player of the Decade” in 2010.  Immonen has added a handful of major titles since 2010, including the World Cup of Pool doubles crown in 2012.  He has also played as a member of Team Europe in the Mosconi Cup 14 times, and was named MVP in 2008.

“This is really amazing,” Immonen said, when the Billiard Congress of America Hall of Fame call interrupted a practice session at Amsterdam Billiard Club in Manhattan.  “I’m a little beside myself right now, with goose bumps. After last year (in which Immonen lost to Jeanette Lee in a special Hall of Fame run-off]), I knew I had a chance.  But you never really believe it until it’s real.”

“When I was younger, I had dreams and goals,” he added. “It’s a timeline, and the Billiard Congress of America Hall of Fame was on that list.  Obviously, that goal takes time.  I wasn’t in a big rush to be recognized as an old geezer, but it’s nice to be in the Hall of Fame at 41.”

Jose Parica
"Amang"
1949 - Present
Inducted 2014

 

Jose Parica becomes the second player elected to the Greatest Player wing of the Billiard Congress of America Hall of Fame through recommendation of the Veterans Committee.  (The Veterans Committee considers players who failed to be elected through general voting prior to turning 60.  Players recommended by the Veterans Committee are put on the final ballot.  Election is confirmed with a 50 percent approval from the Voting Members of the Hall of Fame.) Following a distinguished career in the Philippines, where he gained a reputation as the pool-crazy island’s money-game king, Parica arrived in the U.S.  He won his first pro tour title in 1986, at the Clyde Childress Open.

After a sabbatical from the game (1992-1996), Parica returned to the Camel Pro Billiard Series with a vengeance, winning a pair of tour titles.  His consistent play throughout the year also earned him the $50,000 Player of the Year (POY) bonus award to the tour’s top points earner.  The points title came down to the semifinals of the year’s final event, when Parica battled Buddy Hall in a match that determined which player would claim the POY award.  Parica topped Hall, 9-7. Parica continued to rank among the game’s top players well into the 2000s, winning Derby City Classic titles in 2001, 2002 and 2003, including Master of the Table in 2002.

“It has been a long time to wait,” said Parica, when told of his election.  “For many years, I didn’t think the people from the BCA knew who I was.  I was always asked about my record.  I won many major tournaments in the U.S.  They commented about my gambling, but what pool player doesn’t gamble?  But it is a great honor,” he added. “I’m very happy.”

 

Jeanette Lee
"The Black Widow"
1971 - Present
Inducted 2013

 

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., Jeanette Lee is unquestionably the most recognizable contemporary pool player in the world.  As a player, Lee’s supreme confidence and drive took her to the Women’s Professional Billiards Association’s No. 1 ranking.

As a promoter and marketer, Lee parlayed her talent and looks into a small business empire that has resulted in untold amounts of exposure for both her and the sport.  After boldly declaring her intention to become No. 1 in 1993, Lee wasted little time, winning three WPBA Classic Tour events, the U.S. Open 9-Ball Championship and the WPBA Nationals in 1994.  The incredible string of wins vaulted Lee to No. 1 and earned her Player-of-the-Year honors from both Billiards Digest and Pool & Billiard Magazine.  Lee won seven more Classic Tour titles from ’95-’99, and added two EPSN titles, the Tournament of Champions and Ultimate Shootout. In 2001, Lee earned the gold medal at the World Games in Akita, Japan.  She has won a dozen titles in the 2000s, including the WPBA Florida Classic and BCA Open Championship in 2004.  Lee’s accomplishments at the table are all the more impressive considering the physical ailments (scoliosis, arthritis, bursitis and more) that have resulted in 10 surgical procedures.

Off the table, Lee’s contributions and clout have been recognized in her 1998 selection as WPBA Sportsperson of the Year and her ranking as one of the industry’s most powerful people in the bi-annual Billiards Digest Power Poll in 2001, ’03, ’05 and ’07.  She was featured in ESPN The Magazine’s annual “Body Issue,” has been ranked among the world’s sexiest female athletes, and has appeared in numerous television commercials and as a guest on countless national television shows.  She has served as National Spokesperson for The Scoliosis Association and on the board of the Women’s Sports Foundation
.


Barry Hearn
1948 - Present
Inducted 2013

 

Born in London, Barry Hearn began his professional career as an accountant.  In the early ’70s, Hearn bought several billiard halls around London, and then expanded into event promotion and television with the information of Matchroom Sport.  In 1994 Hearn branched out into American pool, staging the Mosconi Cup, a Ryder Cup-style 9-ball event pitting the top players from the U.S. against the best of Europe.  For 20 years, the Mosconi Cup has been aired live and in its entirety throughout the UK, and as edited programing throughout Europe (and on occasion in the U.S. Since 1994) Hearn has also staged the World Pool Masters (20 consecutive years), the World Pool League/World Cup of Pool (1998-2013), and World Pool Championship (1999-2007). Incredibly, Matchroom events have never featured an entry fee, and have distributed nearly $9 million in prize money.

Additionally, more than 800 hours of Matchroom events have been aired live throughout Europe and Asia, with thousands of additional hours of packaged programing being aired throughout the world.  It could be argued that Hearn’s efforts through Matchroom have played as important a role as anyone’s in the development of international pool competition.

 

Karen Corr
"The Irish Invader"
1969 - Present
Inducted 2012

 

Karen Corr, moved to United States in 1998 and traded snooker for American 9-ball she attacked the Women’s Professional Billiard Association Classic Tour with precision shooting and unbreakable concentration. Corr’s quick rise to the top and her consistent dominance on American soil has earned her the only spot in this year’s BCA Hall of Fame class.

The Northern Ireland born Corr, 42, will be formally inducted into Greatest Player wing of the BCA Hall of Fame on October 26, 2012 during ceremonies at the Holiday Inn in Virginia Beach, VA.

Shortly after winning her fourth world snooker title in 1997, Corr moved to the U.S., switched her game to 9-ball and raced through one WPBA qualifier after another in pursuit of a Classic Tour touring card. After just six months, Corr was ranked 24th in the WPBA, rising to No. 4 in 1999. She captured her first Classic Tour title in 2000, the Cuetec Cues Players Championship. She added two more tour titles in 2000, and then rose to the No. 1 ranking in 2001 with an amazing six titles. In the same year, she also was named Player of the Year (POY) by Pool & Billiard Magazine and Billiards Digest, breaking Allison Fisher’s string of five consecutive POY honors.

In her 13 years playing in the U.S., Corr has won 15 Classic Tour titles, four BCA Open titles, three WPBA National Championships and three Tournament of Champions titles. She has won numerous international and regional events and was runner-up twice at the WPA World 9-Ball Championships. Corr also has a Joss Northeast Tour title to her credit and from 2001 through 2008 she was one of the open tour’s most successful players.

“It’s awesome to be appreciated this way for your skills,” Corr said after learning of the honor. “And I want to thank the people who vote for the Hall of Fame.”

Corr left the Classic Tour a year ago to be with her terminally ill mother in England. Diane Corr, 71, passed away at the beginning of July in 2012.

“This is a nice way to start my new life,” Corr said. “I’m back in the States and pool will be my life again. I’ve got a bit of catching up to do, but I appreciate the opportunity to make a career in cue sports.  Hopefully, I have a few titles left in me.”


Danny DiLiberto

"Buffalo Dan"
1935 - Present
Inducted 2011

 

Danny DiLiberto chose billiards ahead of boxing, bowling and baseball, all sports at which the multi-talented athlete excelled. In fact, DiLiberto boxed professionally and was undefeated as a professional fighter. Under the tutelage of famed trainer Angelo Dundee, and boxing under the name Danny Toriani, DiLiberto posted a 14-0-2 record, with 12 knockouts in the late ’50s, until his oft-injured hands forced him to retire from the ring.

Boxing’s loss was billiards’ gain, as the colorful DiLiberto spent nearly 30 years near the top of the game. DiLiberto won numerous national-class tournaments in the ’60s, but was at his peak in the 1970s when 14.1 was the game of champions in the pool world. After falling in the title match of the prestigious BCA U.S. Open 14.1 championship in both 1968 (to Joe Balsis) and 1972 (to Steve Mizerak), DiLiberto won the straight pool division at the 1972 Johnston City World All-Around Championships. DiLiberto then went on to defeat 9-ball division champ Billy Incardona and one-pocket division winner Larry “Boston Shorty” Johnson in a three-man playoff to earn the Johnston City All-Around crown.?

DiLiberto’s versatility at the table shown through in the ’80s when he defeated Nick Varner in the title match to win the 1981 BCA National 8-Ball Championship, then won the ’83 World One-Pocket title and the 1984 Classic Cup 9-Ball crown, giving him a major national title in the four major pool disciplines. “I’m really choked up,” DiLiberto said after being informed of the honor.

“I really thought the Hall of Fame would wait until I was dead to vote for me. It’s truly an honor. This makes my day, my month, my year!”


  

Ralf Souquet
"The Kaiser"
1968 - Present
Inducted 2011

 

Ralf Souquet, born in Eschweiler, Germany, has been a dominant player in Europe for more than 25 years, having won more than 40 German titles and 36 European Championship medals. But his record is nearly as impressive in top U.S. and international events. “The Kaiser,” as Souquet is known, boasts world titles in both 9-ball (1996) and 8-ball (2008), a gold medal in 9-ball at the 2009 World Games, and is a five-time winner of the World Pool Masters. On American soil, Souquet owns a BCA U.S. Open 14.1 Championship crown (2000), a U.S. Open 9-Ball title (2002), a pair of BCA Open 9-Ball Championship titles, and has won the Derby City 9-ball crown three times.  

“This is great news!” said Souquet, who had finished second in Hall of Fame voting to Francisco Bustamante in 2010. “It’s a great honor. When you talk about the greatest players, like Archer and Strickland and Varner, they’re all in the Hall of Fame. Being mentioned in the same list with those names is a great achievement.” Souquet becomes the seventh foreign-born player inducted into the BCA Hall of Fame.

“I’m also proud to be the first European male player in the Hall of Fame,” Souquet added. “I think it’s probably harder for a foreign player to be voted in, but it’s nice that the American pool community believes that my overall game and approach to the sport has been positive. I must have done something right.” 



Hall of Fame Inductees: 2011-2018 I 2002-2010 I 1997-2001  I 1992-1996  I 1985-1991 I 1977-1984 I 1969-1976 I 1966-1968

    

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