Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Answer to Yesterday's Trivia Question

Looks like we have a winner! Reader Doug Riley of Columbia, Missouri responds to yesterday's trivia question by noting that Willie Mosconi was six or seven years old during his first match-up with Ralph Greenleaf, and that the score in that match-up was 46-50. Yesterday's trivia question asked: "How old was Mosconi during his very first documented match-up against Greenleaf?" Note the emphasis on the word "documented." The poster above, taken from the Archives Center of the National Museum of American History, provides the documentation. The poster touts the performance of Mosconi, who is described as an "11 year old boy wonder." But if you read the fine print (you'll probably need to click on the poster to see it better), you'll see in the upper left hand corner a testimonial from Greenleaf. In it, the great champion states "Having defeated seven year old Willie Mosconi 50-46 I have no hesitancy in saying he will be the future World's Champion." Doug puts Willie's age at 6 or 7 and correctly stated the final score.

Mosconi's incredible performance at such an incredibly young age calls to mind another amazing child prodigy, Jean Balukas. You can see footage of her appearance on a 1960s game show here. Like Mosconi, Balukas went on to great fame. And honestly, it scares me to see little children playing so well.

For his insightful answers, Doug receives a free BCA Rule Book. He can email his street address by clicking on my name, below, and I'll get a book out to him this weekend.

-- R.A. Dyer

1 comment:

Roy Zornow said...

There was an interesting obituary in the NY Times today about Patricia Travers, a child prodigy violinist who stopped performing publicly at age 23, never to return ( http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/07/arts/music/07travers.html?hpw ) The article mentions that it was common for prodigies at that time - Travers was born in 1927 - to be billed as younger than they actually were, so it's interesting that in this case Mosconi was billed as older.