Welcome to Scribd, the world's digital library. Read, publish, and share books and documents. See more
Download
Standard view
Full view
of .
Look up keyword
Like this
2Activity
0 of .
Results for:
No results containing your search query
P. 1
RUNNING THE TABLE: The Legend of Kid Delicious, the Last Great American Pool Hustler by L. Jon Wertheim [Excerpt]

RUNNING THE TABLE: The Legend of Kid Delicious, the Last Great American Pool Hustler by L. Jon Wertheim [Excerpt]

Ratings: (0)|Views: 39|Likes:
Published by Diversion Books
Running the Table: The Legend of Kid Delicious, The Last Great American Pool Hustler
By L. John Wertheim

PROLOGUE
Jeez, that fat man, look at the way he moves. Like a dancer. And those fingers, them chubby fingers. That stroke, it’s like he’s playing the violin or something. —Fast Eddie Felson (Paul Minnesota Fats (Jackie Gleason) in The Hustler Newman), marveling at

THE BIG FELLA waddled down the hallway of the hotel, grinning and nodding graciously. The pool tribalists called out his name o
Running the Table: The Legend of Kid Delicious, The Last Great American Pool Hustler
By L. John Wertheim

PROLOGUE
Jeez, that fat man, look at the way he moves. Like a dancer. And those fingers, them chubby fingers. That stroke, it’s like he’s playing the violin or something. —Fast Eddie Felson (Paul Minnesota Fats (Jackie Gleason) in The Hustler Newman), marveling at

THE BIG FELLA waddled down the hallway of the hotel, grinning and nodding graciously. The pool tribalists called out his name o

More info:

Published by: Diversion Books on Jul 05, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

Availability:

Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
This book can be read on up to 6 mobile devices.
download as DOCX, PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd
See more
See less

04/06/2014

pdf

text

original

 
 
 
 
 Running the Table: The Legend of Kid Delicious,The Last Great American Pool Hustler 
By L. John Wertheim
 PROLOGUE 
Jeez, that fat man, look at the way he moves. Like a dancer. And those fingers, them chubby
fingers. That stroke, it’s like he’s playing the violin or something.
 
 — 
Fast Eddie Felson (Paul Newman), marveling atMinnesota Fats (Jackie Gleason) in
The Hustler 
 THE BIG FELLA waddled down the hallway of the hotel, grinning and nodding graciously. The
 pool tribalists called out his name or patted him on the back. When you’re five feet nine inches andtip the scales at 320 pounds or so, it’s not easy to walk without
breaking stride. But Danny
Basavich had no choice. He’d overslept on this listless morning in January 2006 and now was
minutes from forfeiting a match in the Derby City Classic, a twelve-day gambling marathonmasquerading as an annual pool tournament.His personality as generously proportioned as his physique, Basavich tried to acknowledgeeveryone at the Derby City venue
 — 
the Executive West Hotel, a shopworn hostelry hard by theLouisville Airport, designed by someone with a deep appreciation for the 1970s. As he shuffleddown the hall, Basavich smiled his infectious smile, quickly pressing his stubby right hand into his
admirer’s, a handshake that effectively conveyed the message “Luv
-ya-but-I-gotta-
run.”
 In a disarming voice that recalled Wolfman Jack with a New Joisey accent
 —e’s screeching like old
train brakes,
 p’s
and
t’s
popping like fireworks
 —he shouted out a stream of “Catch me when I’mdone playing, Chris” and “You got my cell number, right, Petey?” and “Let’s grab a drink later,Alex.” Without exception, everyone was called by his first name, a Dale Carnegie lesson he’d
learned years before.He arrived at table 17 just in time. With his girlfriend, Danielle, a clutch of friends, and dozens of railbirds looking on from aluminum bleachers, Basavich unsheathed a custom-made Pechauer cue.His opponent in this early-round Derby City match was Jose Parica, one of the brighter stars in the pool cosmos. A slightly built Filipino who looks to be in his mid-fifties, Parica performed with aneven disposition, neither surly nor affable; just focused and impassive, his body language betrayingnothing.
 
 
Minnesota Fats famously wore a carnation in the lapel of his bespoke suit. Though comparably
 built, Basavich didn’t go quite so far with his fashion. Still, he l
ooked resplendent in drooping black trousers, black loafers, and a herringbone jacket that did its moaning best to cover his girth.His thatch of straw-colored hair had been generously gelled and his goatee neatly trimmed. Like
many hefty men, he’d tried t
o drown his insecurities in an ocean of cologne. He somehow looked both older and younger than his twenty-seven years. His boyish, contagious smile was, as ever, infull bloom. At the same time, his swollen belly and arthritic movements suggested a man well intomiddle age. His green eyes sparkled and swiveled from side to side as he stared at the configurationof balls on the table.The best American pool players were once irrepressible, wild and woolly figures straight out of Damon Runyon, all trash talk and color and bluster. But once they started getting beaten by Asiansand Europeans
 —who, the conventional wisdom went, weren’t better players but simply possessed
superior powers of concentration
 — 
the Americans grew stoic and emotionally frozen. In this sense,Basavich was a pure throwback. Above the crack of the balls on the surrounding tables and theechoes of clinking beer bottles, Basavich directed an ongoing monologue to the folks on the rail, tohis cue, to himself. After one particularly dazzling piece of shotmaking, a smile stole across his
face as he said, to no one and everyone, “Didn’t think a big guy like me could pull that off, didya?” It’s always “big” with Basavich. Never “fat.”
 Derby City had already crowned champions in bank pool and one-pocket, and now the tournamentculminated with the nine-ball championship. A form of rotation pool, nine-ball requires players torack only the first nine balls in a diamond formation. A player wins by pocketing the yolk-colorednine ball, but on every shot he must hit the lowest ball on the table first. Usually the player devisesa pattern of shots through the rack, or what remains of it, that has him pocketing the one, the two,
the three, and so on, until he’s taking aim at the nine ball to win the game. At
Derby City, the first player to win the race to seven games wins the set and advances to the next round.In the movies, pool is played at warp speed. The balls invariably collide violently on impact. The pace is rapid-fire. The players attempt high-risk, high-
reward shots. It’s all pyrotechnics. Real pool,at least at the highest level, is much more clicking than clacking; it’s a sport of ellipses, notexclamation points. The balls don’t often rocket into the pocket. They tend to enter casually, as if they’
re slipping out and quietly leaving the party, landing with a gentle
ka-tonk 
. The playersdischarge their duties at a leisurely pace, especially Basavich, whose excruciatingly slow playing isas much his hallmark as his overstuffed physique and bottomlessly charismatic personality. Sizingup shots like Tiger Woods studying a putt, he takes his time, rocking back and forth in the manner of a man who has to pee.In professional pool, you can go for hours without seeing a holy-shit-you-gotta-be-kidding-meshot
. It’s all about positioning and control. Because of the way they expertly maneuvered the cue

Activity (2)

You've already reviewed this. Edit your review.
1 thousand reads
1 hundred reads

You're Reading a Free Preview

Download
scribd