Sunday, October 10, 2010
1918: Alfredo De Oro Returns to Cuba
Billiard champ greeted as conquering hero
After a decades-long absence, Alfredo de Oro, the great Cuban pool and billiards champion, returned in 1918 to his homeland. The Cuban government had just granted De Oro a lifelong pension in recognition of the acclaim he had brought his native land. De Oro, then living in New York City, returned the goodwill by agreeing to play a world championship in Havana. The challenger was Charles Otis, then one of the top U.S. players.
I recently found a reference to De Oro's return to Cuba in a news article that appeared in The New York Times. Through a little more sleuthing (at the Latin American Studies Library at the University of Texas) I turned up plenty more about De Oro's return, including extensive coverage from Cuba's El Mundo and Havana Post newspapers.
I'll write about my findings in an upcoming Untold Stories column for Billiards Digest. In the meantime, check out this Jan. 18, 1918 copy of El Mundo. Coverage of De Oro's match against Charles Otis is stripped across the front page. (You'll have to click on it to view it better.)
Some quick background: According to his short bio in the BCA's Official Rules and Record Book, De Oro first gained the pocket billiards crown in 1887 and then went on to win it 31 more times. De Oro also held the three-cushion title ten times between 1908 and 1919. He was born in Manzanilla, Cuba on April 28, 1863. He died in 1948.