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Hall of Fame Inductees 1977-1984
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Hall of Fame Inductees: 1977-1984

 
Jimmy Caras
"Boy Wonder"
1910 - 2002
Inducted 1977

Jimmy 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.



Irving Crane

"The Deacon"
1913 - 2001
Inducted 1978

Irving 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 Round Robin championship in 1968.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.

 


Steve Mizerak

"The Miz"
1944 - 2006
Inducted 1980

Steve 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 each year.

 


Dorothy Wise

"Cool Hand"
1914 - 1995
Inducted 1981

Dorothy 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.

 


Joseph Balsis

"The Meatman"
1921 - 1995
Inducted 1982

Joe 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.

 


Luther Lassiter

"Wimpy"
1919 - 1988
Inducted 1983

Considered 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 in 1971.

 


Rudolph Wanderone

"Minnesota Fats"
1913 - 1996
Inducted 1984
 

Perhaps 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.

 

 

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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