August 1 , 2004

Pecan’s -
20 Greatest American Pool Checkers Players
Of All Times
(Written by Charles ‘Pecan’ Thompson)

The Elite Ten

The next 10 players selected will be dubbed the Elite Ten; for they represent as fine a group of American Pool Checkers players as could be found anywhere. So for the 10th spot, I will select

#10 - Freddie "The Hawk" Owens

Mr. Owens, of whom I have talked about earlier, was considered to be the finest Pool Checkers player in America at one time. His two legendary matches with Carl "Buster" Smith, (which he won) and George "Lil George" Ramsey, (which he lost) are still talked about-even today-some 25 years later. Additionally, his four consecutive years of finishing second in APCA tournaments with almost perfect records were feats to behold.

But, in the ensuing years, time has not been kind to Mr. Owens. His prolonged absence from tournament play and professional matches have dimmed the memories of many who knew him in the early years. Additionally, the emergence of new and more skilled players who are studying the latest computer programs in addition to books, the advent of the Russian Grandmasters, the Internet, and even the improvement of older players, along with other factors have had the effect of pushing him further back in the ‘pecking order.’

Perhaps, we will never know just how good Mr. Owens could have been because he withdrew, seemingly in his prime. With this extended absence from competitive play, (I can only find reference to his last year of APCA play in 1980, his stock has fallen somewhat. But, still the fine play he exhibited when he was playing competitively has earned him an honored niche in my selections.

As a player, I knew him to be very deliberate, very cautious, and very precise in his play. There were never any attempts at shots or exciting play. If you played the ‘draw,’ he would never try to force it and would readily accept it when you called for it-if it was there. But one had to be prepared to play the perfect game if he was to get that draw.

And so, for the player whose potential we might never know, I am selecting as number 10
Mr. Freddie Owens

The Elite Ten

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#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