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The Hustler & The Champ: Willie Mosconi, Minnesota Fats, and the Rivalry that Defined Pool [Hardcover]

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Item Number 405210  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   309
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.07" Width: 6.35" Height: 1.08"
Weight:   1.34 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Oct 1, 2007
Publisher   The Lyons Press
ISBN  1592288839  
EAN  9781592288830  
UPC  660813024954  

Availability  2 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 22, 2016 11:38.
Usually ships within one to two business days from La Vergne, TN.
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Item Description...
In the tradition of Pulitzer Prize nominated, Positively Fifth Street, here is a riveting account of a high stakes shoot-out between pool's two most famous personalities.

It was Valentine's Day, 1978, and Howard Cosell was hosting the long-awaited show-down between the best-ever tournament player, Willie Mosconi, and the game's most famous hustler, Minnesota Fats. This was The Great Pool Shoot-Out,  one of the most highly rated televised sporting events of the year, exceeding even World Series games and basketball championships. R.A. Dyer, author of the best-selling Hustler Days, which recounts the rise of pool during the 1960s, writes of the acrid, but mutually beneficial rivalry between Fats and Mosconi, and how the televised shoot-outs came to embody that rivalry, which was nothing less than a bitter rift within the soul of American pocket billiards. Fats and Mosconi were born the same year, but were vastly different characters: one stood for artistry, the other for show business; one brought dignity to pool, the other made it fun. They are without a doubt the two most important players ever to hold a cue. This is the ultimate tale of American sportsmanship.

R.A. Dyer is a columnist for Billiards Digest, and lives in Austin, Texas.

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More About R. A. Dyer

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! R. A. Dyer is a columnist for the nation's premier pool magazine, Billiards Digest. He is currently statehouse reporter for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, and before that, was a reporter for The Houston Chronicle, where he was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. He lives in Austin, Texas.

R. A. Dyer currently resides in Austin, in the state of Texas.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
good history/ bad his-story  Jul 13, 2008
there are some great facts found in the pages of this book but the majority of the story is Mosconi champ-Fats hustler , over and over. R.A Dyer is a good writer and his book "hustler days" was a great champion. "The hustler and the champ" was a great hustle.
Upon completing this book, I can say I found it very informative along with being a great story. I have read the autobiographies of both Willie and Minnesota Fats and this book had numerous facts about the two I was unaware of. The book begins by explaining how there televised match originated, then goes on to chronicle the history and careers of both men. I don't think you can say Fats really had a "career" as much as a life spent hustling and gambling. Willie sure had one with all the World Championships and his lifetime spent doing exhibitions all over the country. Keep in mind that the book has much more history on Willie than Fats. The book then tells of their televised match. This part was excellent reading as he told of Fats "starting in" on Willie before the pool match even began. I read this part twice and had to laugh at the things he said and pictured him saying them on T.V. (CLASSIC FATS). The book talks about a few other meetings between the two as well as a little on their lives after pool. I thought it was kind of sad how both ended up.
If I had one negative thing to say, it was maybe a little dry during the middle chapters.
What I liked most was what the author gives us to think about at the end. Even though Willie absolutely detested Fats, Fats did a lot for pools popularity and Willie's. I believe the book claimed their original televised match had a 30 % share. That's incredible when you think about it. Willie had the records and championships but Fats was like the original one man show. Like Minnesota Fats said to Willie Mosconi...."You gotta have fans".
A very pleasent read by a Mosconi fan  Jun 11, 2008
I have been a pool fan and player for about sixty years. I've been a Mosconi fan as long as I can remember and have attended several of this gentleman's exhibitions. At that time, I was an employee of the Brunswick Corporation, Mr. Mosconi's sponsor.

This book was a "good read" from cover to cover. I read much too seldom, however once started in this book I couldn't lay it down. What was appreciated in this book was that it did not seem to be biased, it truly enabled the reader to know Mr. Mosconi.
Dry but informative  Mar 23, 2008
Ask anyone who the best pool player of all time was, and they may say Minnesota Fats. That's an amazing thing, because he was not the greatest pool player of all time, and the book/movie the Hustler were NOT based on him. Instead, he borrowed the name after the fact. WIllie Mosconi should be on people's short list as one the the greatest pool players of all time, but few know who he is. Such is the nature of people's lack of knowledge of pool history, and the effectiveness of Minnesota Fats' con.

This book covers these facts in detail, and covers the rivalry between Minnesota Fats and WIllie Mosconi. It all leads up to the two players contending against each other on ABC's wide world of sports.

Both RA Dyer books I have read were a bit dry, but informative. This book was more interesting than the other, though. I suggest anyone wanting to understand either of these players read this book. This information is covered in other places, but in piecemeal fashion.

If pool/billiards history is not your thing, I suggest more entertaining books such as 'Playing off the Rail' (non fiction), or 'Stroke' (fiction)
The Legacy of Mosconi and Minnesota Fats  Dec 11, 2007
I found R.A. Dyer's "The Hustler & The Champ" an enjoyable and important read, especially for those pool enthusiasts that truly understand the beauty and the greatness of the lost game of straight pool. While there are young players today that can also run 'hundreds', we will likely never see the game of 14.1 played the way it was played during Mosconi's reign. Greenleaf, Mosconi, Ponzi, Procita, Eufemia and others played "old style straight pool" and all shared similar rules of navigation on the felt when running racks. Few players today, save for greats that played in proximity to Mosconi's era, such as 3-time world champion Ray Martin, Dallas West and a few others can resurrect the "old-style play."

As I progressed through Dyer's book I found myself sympathizing with Mosconi's absolute frustration and his sadness of having denied himself a personal life with his family because of his investment of years "on the road" for Brunswick doing exhibitions and living out of hotels for a game that unfortunately also died. At the "end of it all" the magic and greatness of straight pool died anyways and denied Mosconi
even the legacy of keeping the game of straight pool alive.

I found facinating Dyer's description of Mosconi's apathy for playing pool and being forced out of financial necessity to play the game and yet performing nonetheless at a level that was unsurpassable. Dyer gives the reader an accurate and eye-opening read on the separate 'worlds' of pool...the "hustler's world of Minnesota Fats" and the "tournament world" of Willie Mosconi and their eventual combative and necessary collision. I would highly recommend this well researched and informative book.

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