20 Greatest American Pool Checkers Players
Of All Times
(Written by Charles 'Pecan' Thompson)
Mr. Robinson, of Toledo, Ohio is my pick for the 19th spot. In the years from 1988 - 1997, Mr. Robinson finished in the Top Ten at the APCA Tournaments 10 consecutive years. He, perhaps, finished in that select group more than any other player with the possible exception of Carl "Buster" Smith. All total he had 17 Top Ten finishes from 1971 through 1997.
While Mr. Robinson's performance in APCA Tournaments are impressive, some of his outside personal matches would also bring a measure of awe. As I recall, he had two memorable matches with three-times APCA champion, Elton Williams of Flint, Michigan. And there were splits in these two hard-fought matches.
I have had the opportunity to play Mr. Robinson on many occasions and I have always found his game to be very thought-provoking and interesting. What I found most striking was that never can I recall us playing the same game twice. Each time I would play him he had a new or different opening or reply. You must always be alert, least there would be a loss placed on your score card.
Additionally, just as impressive to me was the story told to me by the "Great" Gilliam of Chicago. Who, you might ask, is the "Great" Gilliam of Chicago? My answer to that would be - long before there was a "Buster," there was the "Great" Gilliam. In fact, old timers, even today, have sworn that at one time Mr. Gilliam was a better player than "Buster," and is, they claim, "the only Chicago area player to beat him in match. Only after "Buster" started reading those 'Russian Books' did he get better than Mr. Gilliam." -was the charge.
Mr. Gilliam told me about one of their trips to Toledo, Ohio, perhaps in the 60s to play Mr. Robinson and some of the other Toledo players. According to Mr. Gilliams, George Robinson was 'killing' (beating him badly), one of our top players - we called him "Professor" Junior. "I had to 'rescue' "Professor" from the clutches of George Robinson," recalled Mr. Gilliam. But when I talked to Mr. Robinson about the encounters, he recalled he had beaten both of them. Consequently, we will have to call the encounter between the two a standoff, since both camps are claming victory. The point is made; Mr. Robinson has been a top Pool Checker Player for a very long time.
And, from this camp, I am placing the name of George Robinson on my selection tree at #19.
#19. George Robinson - Toledo, Ohio
#20. Clyde "King Row" Black - New York, New York