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W2DR

My friend Grady.......

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As I grow older it's a never-ending source of amazement to me how I can remember events in my life. Meeting Grady Mathews is one of those remembrances. I know that 99.9% of you have no idea who Grady Mathews was nor why he should be special to anyone, especially me. Let me try to explain.

When I was seven years old my best friend's father bought a pool table. An old slate-top 5x10 Brunswick. He converted one of his chicken coops to hold it and "the pool room" was born. I played pool on that table 4-5 days a week for the next eight years.

Back in those days "the game" was straight pool. He who sinks 125 balls first wins. The smaller 4x9 tables and the popularity of 9-ball was 20 years away. Willie Mosconi was my hero in those years. To heck with The Lone Ranger and those wimpy cartoon guys.

By the time I was 15 there was nobody in town willing to put a dollar on the rail to try me. But, there was always the soldiers. The town I lived in was adjacent to the largest Army basic-training base in the country. And the first of every month "the boys" would come to town. Ready to find the local bars, the local girls, and the local pool hall. And for the first three days of every month I was always at the local pool hall.

Back then, the minimum wage was US$1.00/hr. Work a 160 hour month and, before taxes, you would earn US$160. Appealing? Not to me. On the first three days of the month I could easily "earn" US$400-500 from our soldier friends. And there were no taxes. And still over three weeks of the month to go. But let's get back to Grady Mathews.

When I was 18 years old a met a guy who was to become my mentor. His name was Charlie. I knew how to shoot pool. I knew all the shots. Charlie knew that. But he also knew that I didn't know how to hustle. So he set out to teach me.

About an hour's drive north from where I lived there was a world-class Brunswick dealer. Let me call it GCB. And at that dealer was a friend of Charlie's - Fred F. We'd drive up on the weekend nights (when the dealership was closed) to play a little on the world-class tables in the showroom.

One night a friend of Fred's showed up. Some kid named Grady. He and I were about the same age (I think I was about a month older) and we hit it off right away. Over the next couple of years I shared many tables with Grady. No money was involved. We just played for bragging rights. And, boy, did he teach me how to hustle.

Grady was one of the greatest sticks of all time. I'll never forget him or what he taught me. Sometime in 1962-63 he moved on up the road to Cochran's, 1028 Market St., San Francisco. The mecca of pool in those days. And pool hustling. Ronnie Allen, One Eyed Hank, San Jose Dick, Ears, Legs, Sleepy Bob, and Okie Sam are just a few of the "regulars" I remember.

The love of my life (and now my wife) lived in San Francisco in those days. I'd drive up on Friday evening, spend a few hours at Cochcran's  shootng the WNA with Grady, meet her the next day and night, and drive back home on Sunday. What a life.

Sadly, Grady has passed on now. It's been almost 60 years since I last saw him. But the memories linger on.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grady_Mathews
 

Edited by W2DR
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Great memory Sir , reminds me of this classic movie :

 

 

Cheers

John

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As Jackie says to Paul Newman some 14 minutes into the movie..."you shoot a good stick". This movie was released at the peak of my game. I've seen it more times than I can count. Another monument to a wasted youth (mine) ...........

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Never imagined I would be searching Wikipedia for a pool player, but it was some interesting reading.  Thanks for the story.  By the way, was the army base you mentioned Fort Riley?

Jeff

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Jeff Smith

 

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6 hours ago, JNS said:

By the way, was the army base you mentioned Fort Riley?

How about Ft. Ord?

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12 hours ago, JNS said:

Never imagined I would be searching Wikipedia for a pool player, but it was some interesting reading.  Thanks for the story.  By the way, was the army base you mentioned Fort Riley?

Jeff

Mike has it right Jeff. It was Fort Ord. "The place" to shoot pool in nearby Monterey was The Smoke Shop on lower Alvarado Street. While that was the "official name" everyone in town just called it Louie's. The owners name was Louis Menendez. I was 13 years old the first time I walked in the door there. They had a rule that you had to be 16 to play, but I never saw it enforced. If you want to see the "real" Grady Mathews he appears in the 1986 movie The Color Of Money. He was the technical director on that film and he makes a brief appearance as a guy named "Dud" about 1:17:20 into the movie.

One caution though, the movie The Hustler is MUCH closer to real life hustling than The Color Of Money. Trust me, there is almost no relationship, (at least in my experience) , between anything in The Color Of Money and what I ever experienced.

But, then again, I'm not Tom Cruise  🙂 .

Edited by W2DR
Kant spel
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9 hours ago, W2DR said:

Mike has it right Jeff. It was Fort Ord. "The place" to shoot pool in nearby Monterey was The Smoke Shop on lower Alvarado Street. While that was the "official name" everyone in town just called it Louie's. The owners name was Louis Menendez. I was 13 years old the first time I walked in the door there. They had a rule that you had to be 16 to play, but I never saw it enforced. If you want to see the "real" Grady Mathews he appears in the 1986 movie The Color Of Money. He was the technical director on that film and he makes a brief appearance as a guy named "Dud" about 1:17:20 into the movie.

One caution though, the movie The Hustler is MUCH closer to real life hustling than The Color Of Money. Trust me, there is almost no relationship, (at least in my experience) , between anything in The Color Of Money and what I ever experienced.

But, then again, I'm not Tom Cruise  🙂 .

What made me think about Fort Riley in Kansas was when you said the largest basic-training base....I was thinking that Ft. Riley (home of The Big Red 1) was in that catagory....maybe it's not even close in size.  Thanks for the advice on the movie. Next movie I watch will be "The Hustler", I guess.  It seems that you've had an interesting life.

"But, then again, I'm not Tom Cruise"...Well, a man's got to know his limitations (spoken in my best Clint Eastwood voice).  LOL

Jeff

Edited by JNS
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Jeff Smith

 

System: i9-9900K@5.0GHz., ASUS Maximus XI Hero MB, 32 GB 3200 Hyper-X RAM, Corsair HX1000i PSU, Cooler Master ML360R RGB, EVGA RTX 3080Ti FTW3, (2) Samsung 860 500GB SSD for Windows 10 Pro and sim, (2) M.2 NVMe 2TB, (2) WD Black 4TB HD for data, Samsung 65" 4K curved monitor @ 30Hz. (Currently running VSync, TB , Unlimited),YOKO+ yoke, VF TQ6+,TPR pedals, Logitech Multi, Switch, and Radio Panels

Software:  P3Dv4.5HF3 Pro, Ultimate Traffic Live, ASP3D, ASCA, ORBX, Fly Tampa, GSX/GSX2, PMDG, A2A, Just Flight, Milviz, Carenado, Majestic.

On other computer: P3D v3.2.3, My Traffic 6.0a, PMDG, ORBX, A2A, Captain Sim , iFly, Flight 1, Flysimware, Just Flight, Milviz, Carenado

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