Thursday, September 16, 2010
Pool Synergy 11: What's in Mosconi's Case?
Consider exhibit A, above. It's a handwritten note in which someone has enumerated 13 pool shots, each of which has been described with just a few words. The unnamed author uses cursive letters that slant off to the right. It also looks like he took his time writing it because the script is deliberate. Almost tidy. And judging from the crease marks, one can assume the note was at one time folded into at least three sections. This tells me that the unnamed author must have been carrying the note around with him.
Why are we examining this note? Because at one time it may have resided in the pool case of one William Joseph Mosconi, the 15-time world champion. I recently found it in the Archives Center of the National Museum of American History in Washington. As part of my contribution this month to the PoolSynergy project, I'm posting this note up here.
Quick review: Pool Synergy is a monthly collaborative effort in which online pool writers take on a single theme. This month it's pool gear. Our September host, Samm Diep of pooltipjar.com, has asked us to provide photos and descriptions of stuff we put in our cases. But as I write about history here, I decided not to explore my own gear, but rather that of Willie Mosconi.
Now consider exhibit B, the simple piece of chalk pictured just above. Although you can’t tell it from this photo, this piece of chalk once rested on the rail of Willie Mosconi’s pool table in the basement of his Haddon Heights home. Flora Mosconi, Willie’s widow, gave it to me some years back. The piece of chalk is not autographed or otherwise marked to signal its famous origins. But I know the truth. It looks well worn. But was it ever in Willie's case? You be the judge.