Had a nice long chat with the legendary Marshall Carpenter at a tournament in Hattiesburg, Miss. this weekend. I was particularly interested in Hayden Lingo. Much of the commentary was noted previously in Steve's interview, but he did have a few points which surprised me.
We talked about several name players. He said Lingo was the best 1P player he ever saw. But unfortunately he was an alcoholic, which dampened his career. I asked him about Boston Shorty. He said they were set up to play a match in the 1960's for very large dough, but that Shory's horses backed out at the 11th hour. So he said they never played except in tournaments.
He said that Grady Mathews was more knowledgeable about one-pocket than any other player in the history of the game; but that Lingo maybe knew as much or even a shade more. Now that's saying something! He did say that Efren was a "freak", considering what he's able to do with the cueball. I told him I wouldn't be surprised if Efren could make the ball do a double curve.
He recalled that Irving Crane was one of the nicest gentlemen he's ever met in pool (I agree). He said Crane was kind enough to show Marshall a practice routine for running balls, which reportedly brought his pocketing game way up.
I thought it was interesting for Squirrel to relate that once he tried one-pocket, he immediately gave up playing any other pool game. No 9-ball, straight pool, nothing. Said he hasn't played any of those games in decades.
He cracked me up when I asked him about the nice looking cue he was using. Said he didn't know who made it; that someone gave it to him, and he liked the feel. How many guys don't know what kind of cue they're using?! It's a beautiful pole. Must be 20 or 21 ounces, with a leather grip. You gotta love his game prep style. Even at his age he just walks into the poolroom, hits a couple of shots using a hard stroke, and he's ready to start. Hell, I need an hour to warm up!
He did agree with seveal other top players that a good shooter will prevail over a good mover. Presumably that's why the game has morphed into a style that emphasizes running balls; which has in turn attracted younger players. Marshall's own game is still poetry to watch. Of course he's not usually a threat to run 8 and out. But if you get a shot at your hole, you've earned it. He's still playing strong at 78!