Learning the basics of pool at an early age from his father in his hometown of Owensboro, Kentucky, NICK VARNER displayed his great overall talents in 14.1, Nine Ball, One Pocket and Bank Pool by claiming the 1969 and 1970 national ACU-I collegiate titles, the World 14.1 Championship in 1980 and 1986 and the BCA National Eight Ball Championship in 1980. Accumulating over 20 major titles in his career, he became only the second man to earn over $100,000 in prize winnings in the memorable 1989 season in which he won eight of the 16 major Nine Ball events. Winner of the Player of the Year in 1980 and 1989, and the first honoree of the MPBA Sportsperson of the Year in 1991, Nick has always been an exemplary role model and has enriched the sport of pocket billiards through his many years of dedication to excellence and sportsmanship.
Michael Phelan 1817 - 1871 Inducted 1993
MICHAEL PHELAN is considered by many to be the Father of American Billiards as a player, inventor, manufacturer and tireless popularizer of billiards. He played in and won the first billiard stakes match in 1859, and holds many patents for table designs and cushions. He is credited as being the first to put diamonds on tables. He authored "Billiards Without A Master" (1850), the first American book on billiards, and set trend for lavish billiard rooms through his New York room on Broadway.
Eddie Taylor 1918 - 2005 Inducted 1993
EDDIE TAYLOR is a two-time world all-around tournament champion. He defeated Hall-of-Famer Luther Lassiter in all-around finals in Johnston City, Ill., in 1964. He also defeated Danny Jones and Mike Eufemia at '67 Stardust Open finals in Las Vegas. He lost to Lassiter in '63 Johnston City all-around finals, and finished 7th in '67 World 14.1 championship in New York. A Tennessee native, the "Knoxville Bear" was inducted into the Knoxville Sports Hall of Fame in 1987. He is an active promoter of billiards in Boys Clubs of America, and is regarded as one of the greatest one-pocket and bank pool players of all time.
Ray Martin 1936 - Present Inducted 1994
RAY MARTIN: Born in 1936, his world titles in straight pool in 1971, 1974 and 1978 make Ray Martin one of only seven players in this century to win three or more world 14.1 titles. He has many nine-ball tournament wins to his credit as well, including the 1980 Caesars Tahoe Invitational, the 1981 ESPN King of the Hill, and the 1983 Music City Open. While concentrating today more on teaching than playing, Martin is still a threat in straight pool tournaments, finishing fourth and fifth in the 1992 and 1993 BCA U.S. Opens. In collaboration with Rosser Reeves, Martin wrote "The 99 Critical Shots in Pool" (1977).
Jimmy Moore 1911 - 1999 Inducted 1994
JIMMY MOORE (born 1911): Although Moore never won a world title, he claimed the National Pocket Billiards Championship in a 3,000-point match win over Luther Lassiter in 1958. At the National Invitational Pocket Billiards Championship in New York City in 1965, he easily outdistanced a straight-pool field which included the strongest players of the period such as Joe Balsis, Ed Kelly, Lou Butera, Luther Lassiter and Eddie Taylor. He is a five-time runner-up in world 14.1 championship play. He posted high finishes in many other major events in the '50s and '60s.
Cisero Murphy 1937 - 1996 Inducted 1995
CISERO MURPHY: Born to a Brooklyn, New York family in 1937, James Cisero Murphy was the first and only African-American ever to win a world or U.S. national billiard title. He started by taking the New York City championship at age 16. While in his 20's he won the Eastern States 14.1 Championship six straight times against top competition, but because of his race was not invited to compete in world title events until 1965, when he won the Burbank World Invitational 14.1 tournament, beating Joe Balsis, Jimmy Moore and Luther Lassiter. Murphy is only one of two players to win a World Title on his first attempt. (Ray Martin is the other.) He continued to place near the top in straight pool events during the 1960s and, two decades later, had a winning record in the 1983 BCA U.S. Open 14.1 Championship. Murphy has posted several competitive high runs of over 250 balls.
Dallas West 1941 - Present Inducted 1996
DALLAS WEST, the only player to appear in every BCA U.S. Open straight pool championship, was born in 1941 in Rockford, Illinois. By age 13, he had run 97 balls at straight pool. The holder of several state pool titles, West was the U.S. Open champion in 1975 and 1983. An expert 9-ball player, he earned second place in the 1995 WPA World Championship. He also plays top-level three cushions. West has shared his extensive knowledge of straight pool on videotapes, explaining in detail how long runs are made. He has been winning tournaments for over 20 years and has earned the respect of the best players in the game for his positive attitude, gentlemanly behavior, and competitive spirit.