Reportedly Hayden Lingo is second from left, middle row. Although captioned “First Tournament” 1961 in the 1969 Johnston City program, this photo was actually taken later, probably in 1963.
Often cited as ‘the man that invented One Pocket’, it is more likely that he was just such a strong early practitioner of the game that he and the game became nearly synonymous. However, at least two people have told me that it was ‘his rules’ that became the basis for the Jansco Brother’s tournament rules, which were the first published rules for the modern game, used for the first Johnston City tournament in 1961.
Although he was from Oklahoma City, Lingo spent long stretches on the road, at least as far from home as Boston. Old-timers from Oklahoma City describe him as a well-dressed and soft-spoken man, while those who ran into him on the road often describe him as a secretive hustler. From Eddie Taylor to Squirrel, to Freddie the Beard, all who knew him agree that he was an unusually smart player, who approached One Pocket like a studious chess master would approach chess.
Like other early masters of the game, he was said to have an uncanny mastery of control over the balls, and even late in life as his health failed, his combination of superior ball control and knowledge made him an intimidating player.