Pool’s back in the news

To the Editor,

I was impressed by the photo “Champs” that appeared on Page 6C of the June 22 edition. I just want to offer my congratulations to the River Club I, Weirton city pool champs.

As a kid, I grew up s a railbird, having seen Jackie Gleason as Minnesota Fats in “The Hustler” with Paul newman as Fast Eddy, and the sequel with Newman as an older Eddy in “The Color of Money.” Also, in high school in Miss K’s junior English doing book reports on the Robert Rossen novel and Don Carpenter’s “Hard Rain Falling” at Brooke High School.

The history of the pool room to me was like the history of the Catholic church might be to others. Ned Polsky, in “Hustlers, Beats and Others,” wrote that the rising divorce rate during Prohibition likely drove bachelor men into the pool room. Polsky tells of the World War I veterans in the city in the early part of the 20th century, writing that pool halls per capita were 10 times as many as now.

Of course, his book was written nearly 40 years ago.

So, when pool champs appear in the newspaper today, it’s a big deal. As the actor in “The Hustler” said, “This is awesome, Mister.”

I decide to remain a railbird probably from the actor the part, like any kid influenced by what he or she saw on the big screen. I researched Cranfield’s second-floor poolhall at 46th and Broadway, a half-mile from Yankee Stadium, where Babe Ruth, the Sultan of Swat, as well as members of the New York Giants baseball team, played 8-ball in the 1920s.

I collected the stories of the history of the game. So, again, it’s great to see pool back in the Ohio Valley in a big way.

Michael Traubert