Thread: Is Fats a fit?
View Single Post
Old 11-01-2009, 01:50 PM
SJDinPHX's Avatar
SJDinPHX SJDinPHX is offline
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 9,225

Originally Posted by gulfportdoc
There's been a lot of talk, mostly favorable, about whether or not Rudolph Wanderone should be considered for the 1P Hall of Fame.

In my particular case, during the late 60's and 70's I assumed "Fats" was a joke. I knew he'd stolen the Walter Tevis character's name, had capitalized on it, and made big money because of it. He reportedly was a source of anger and embarrassment to Tevis, and later to his widow. One wonders if Wanderone was ever in any way grateful to the Tevis's.

I saw a few of his TV shows. And while they were entertaining, Fats' play was terrible. Of course by then, Fats had gotten older. His incessant banter was the draw, and he was an expert at that. For that reason, he seemed like a good fit for the BCA HOF, simply because their hall leans toward the commercial success of pool-- not necessarily toward the excellence of their inductees.

Nevertheless, I started hearing rumors that the guy could actually play, and that he'd been a feared back room player, up through his middle years. He'd beaten RA and Kelly, albeit with a little weight. Recently on this site, Jay Helfert, Beard, and others have attested to his high level play. Others, such as Diliberto, have continued to denigrate Fats.

It occurred to me that there is possibly a "resentment factor" in regards Fats. That he has received way too much attention over the years, whereas much more deserving players have remained unheralded in the shadows. There may be some truth to that.

Still, presumably without Fats' influence, our beloved game may not have been brought into modern times. Reportedly he was a big influence in the Jansco's inclusion of 1P at Johnson City. Without Johnson City, 1P may have withered away.

Because of this, and because of his legendary back room 1P prowess, my personal opinion is that Fats, despite having been an insufferable windbag, deserves to be strongly considered for HOF.

I certainly agree with most of Doc's opinions on the Fat man. I was only around him enough to absorb (not necessarily appreciate) his inccessant con and braggadacio.

I never resented him, but he was only tolerable (to me) in very small doses. He could easily give our top two horn blower's on this forum...
8 to 4 and the break, in the self engrandisement department.

That being said, he could be a very unique and entertaining individual. He had the bufoonery of W.C. Fields, crossed with the caustic wit of Groucho Marx or Don Rickles.

I know he was instrumental in getting the Jansco's to include one pocket in their first tournament, but so was Squirrel, Beanie, both Red's, and all the other top one holer's of that era. It was allready an established action game. He just had George's ear a little better than the rest.

To say that he was "responsible" for bringing 1P out of the closet, is in IMHO, a bit of a stretch.
Fat's was all about "Fat's", and I don't think he ever even thought much beyond HIS agenda, as far as promoting ANYTHING.
That doesn't make him a bad guy, its just the way he was.

Thanks to Tevis, he gained a level of notariety he almost certainly, would NEVER have enjoyed... if it had not been for the success of the book and the movie. He should have kissed him, instead of suing him. But I guess that was a necessary step to gaining that notariety.

He is definately worthy of a "lifetime award" of some sort...maybe even a "special" award of some kind, due to the colorful character that he always was.

But there is simply too long a list, of other's who did more for the game of pool, (Tevis, Newman, Gleason, Cruise ???)...and a whole bunch of guy's who played it better than Fat's ever did, even in his prime. Just my 2 cents.

Last edited by SJDinPHX; 11-02-2009 at 03:12 PM.
Reply With Quote