Letter: Hustler Fats

From Mr George R. Crisp

Sir: In an otherwise fine obituary of Minnesota Fats (24 January), Mike Shamos did give the impression, unintended I'm sure, that Fats was something of a lightweight when it came to playing pool.

Nothing could be further from the truth: Fats was the most respected, if not feared, pool player of his generation, the hustler's hustler, the real article. In some of those televised matches with Willie Mosconi, at least the ones I recall from the 1970s and early 1980s, Fats's on-air challenges to put down some real dough were rebuffed by his smoother, more polished rival.

Good reason, too: Mosconi knew the difference between playing a meaningless exhibition for the benefit of a mainly ignorant audience and playing for real stakes. Fats would have had Mosconi - and indeed had him numerous times, away from camera shot - for lunch.


George R. Crisp

London, W14