September 1 , 2004
20 Greatest American Pool Checkers Players
Of All Times
(Written by Charles ‘Pecan’ Thompson)
#8 - Elton "Little David" Williams
Perhaps, as much as any other Pool Checkers player, I might have been instrumental in the development of Elton's game.
You see, because I had family living in Flint, Michigan in the early seventies, I visited there often. In the ensuing years, Elton and I played many times and had several matches. He was perhaps 15 or 16 years old at the time. I recall beating him in a fourteen game match by the score of 4-3-in a sudden-death playoff. Elton actually had the match won but missed the "special" in regulation play. I was told that there was great sadness in Elton's heart because of that lost, and he vowed for revenge.
Here is an excerpt from one of the newsletters that I was writing at the time. It will pick up the story from there…(Notice the date).
CHICAGO WESTSIDE CHECKER CLUB, INC.
4931 W. CHICAGO AVE.
January 3, 1972
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
B. Chair.--Frank McCorkle
|V. Pres.||Charles Florence||
J. T. Brandon
|B. Mgr.||Van Penn||
|As. B. Mgr.||Leon Baynes||
EDITOR OF: N E W S L E T T E R
WESTSIDE CHECKER CLUB
(Chicago's first family in pool checkers)
"When checkers are played better, we will play them"
Berston Pool Checker Club - Flint, Michigan –
Westside Checker Club - Chicago, Illinois
"LITTLE DAVID" COMES TO CHICAGO
They came down from the Northland through three states, braving rain, sleet and snow -- this horde of checker fanatics. They brought with them a 17 year old wonder boy who is destined to become the greatest pool checker player of all times, and they sent ahead an 80 year old master craftsman-scout with a warning, "He is coming for 'Pecan.'"
The granddaddy of all checker players, old man "Chicago" Harris, had already warned the Westside Checker Club that the kid was coming for revenge. But what was built up as a classic turned out to be nothing more than a good workout for the kid, for he methodically cut up "Pecan." The score was 5-2 in the 14 game match. The match was actually over after the 12th game as Elton was leading by 3 games with only 2 games left to play. "Pecan" bowed out with a simple statement "He is too good today."
More importantly, as the kid was finishing off "Pecan," there was mumbling in the background of, "I told you so," "But he can't beat 'Ohio,'" "Go get "Ohio!" - (His real name was Mitchell). Yes, at times like this, the real checker fanatics take over. Those who can't play at all but pretend to know any and everything had begun to have their day. And so the calls began to go out as these self-proclaimed experts scrambled for telephones.
The word was out, "Get 'Ohio'". But it was unnecessary, for "Detroit" Boyd who had ducked out of his 14 game match with Delmus Harrington of Flint, Michigan was personally escorting his sweet joggers and sidekick, "Ohio the Great Mule," to the Club.
Then he was there, and there he stood -in the doorway of the Club. In all of his belligerent and bellicose attitude, he huffed and he puffed, and made threatening statements of, "I will kill you," and "You can't beat me" as he faced this 17 year old kid who looked more like an altar boy than a giant killer.
For a fleeting second the kid seemed afraid, and there were misgivings on the part of his manager, Wardell Moore. The kid said "I don't want to play him now; I will play him tomorrow." But it was too late now; too many scrubs had assembled to watch. With 70 to 75 hams waiting to prove their point, there might have been a riot.
A hurried conference called by "Champ" Moore and "Pecan" Thompson (who started this whole mess in the first place) produced this result -- a flat statement by "Pecan" -- "The kid will beat the fool out of "Ohio."
The match was on. Making unnecessary gestures and distracting statements, "Ohio" strong-armed the first game and scrubs everywhere went wild with glee. The score was 1-0, "Ohio." Game 2 - "Ohio" made a fool's mistake and the kid decked him. The score, 1-1. Game 3 - the kid baited "Ohio" with a "piece." He bit and the kid drop-kicked him. The score now 2-1, the kid. Game 4 - the kid baited "Ohio" with still another piece but from a different angle and "Ohio" grabbed at it like a hungry bull. The kid spun him around and ja-raked him.
The score now 3-1, the kid. Game 5 - was beautifully executed as "Ohio" thought he had a win and began to talk, but the kid pitched him two pieces and then locked three men for his draw. At this point, wily old "Detroit" Boyd who was sitting just to the right of his master, whispered to an onlooker "The kid is good." Who was he telling? Where had he been?
It was getting late now, and this writer was preparing to go as the kid saved the best for the last. The "backup king shot," the most beautiful of all checker plays, was the thing that did it. It brought "the Great Mule" to his knees. It was masterfully concealed, and the most knowledgeable of checker players were unaware of it.
Then it was unleashed with all its fury and the great "Ohio" hit the floor like a wounded bore hog. It was finally over and the score was Elton Williams 4 and "Ohio the Great Mule" 1. The skeptics came, they saw, and they were conquered.
For the record, Mr. Williams who was perhaps our youngest Top Master ever; has either won or shared the APCA Championship on, at least four occasions. He has had numerous 2nd and 3rd place finishes, and I don't think he has, finished out of the Top Ten any year he has played-since entering the Top Masters in 1974. For longevity, his record is probably more impressive than any other player with the possible exception of "Buster's."
Finally, over the years, I have played Elton many times; If I have any wins, they have been few or far in-between. By the same token, I can recall several of his wins, because he would say things like, "You know that's 'out,' don't you Mr. "Pecan"? (meaning he had the winning position). In just the last tournament of 2004 in Memphis, he won a game from me and then gently said "You know, Mr. "Pecan," you lost this same game to Mr. George Sykes in Detroit in 1971." What's amazing is, after all these years, I think, Elton still believes my name is Mr. "Pecan" rather than Mr. Thompson. But that is Elton!
And so, at # 8, I will select the name of Elton Williams.
#8. Elton "Little David" Williams - Flint, Michigan
#9. George "Lil George" Ramsey - Detroit, Michigan
#10. Freddie "The Hawk" Owens - Baltimore, Maryland
#11. Andrew Frazier - Nassau, Bahamas
#12. William "Bill" Langley - Detroit, Michigan
#13. Ollie "Shot Gun" Howard - Bronx, New York
#14. Victor "Vic" Krafft - Chicago, Illinois
#15. Charlie Brown - Baltimore, Maryland
#16. Moses "Headchopper" Lightfoot - Macon, Georgia
#17. Charles "Little Charles" McDuffie - St. Louis, Missouri
#18. Tony Rivers - Bronx, New York
#19. George Robinson - Toledo, Ohio
#20. Clyde "King Row" Black - New York, New York