Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia

Willie Mosconi

Willie Mosconi

Williw Mosconi playing billiards.

Willie Mosconi is considered to be the second best billiards player of all time and the best straight pool player. Mosconi began playing at a very young age at his father’s billiards parlor in South Philadelphia. Between 1941 and 1957 he won fifteen consecutive championships.(The National Museum of American History)

The National Museum of American History

Willie Mosconi is considered to be the second-best billiards player of all time and the best straight-pool player. Mosconi began playing at a very young age at his father’s billiards parlor in South Philadelphia. Between 1941 and 1957 he won fifteen consecutive championships. Straight-pool matches were played until one player reached a certain number of points, one point being given for each ball pocketed. Matches were usually played over several days to scores of several hundred points. Mosconi holds the all-time documented record for balls continuously pocketed without a miss—526, achieved in an exhibition match in Springfield, Ohio, in 1954.

Under the sponsorship of Brunswick, Mosconi toured the country promoting what he always called pocket billiards. He was the technical advisor for the film The Hustler (1961) with Jackie Gleason and Paul Newman (and said to have made Newman’s trick shots), which increased the popularity of pool in the United States.

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