Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Pool Historian William Hendricks Dies

Here’s a bit of sad news for pool history fans: William Hendricks, author of the very good but somewhat obscure Official Standard History of Pool, Billiards and Snooker, has died.

The World War II veteran was 90 years old. He passed away on May 15th in an Illinois nursing home.
The Official Standard History of Pool, Billiards & Snooker is a hard-to-find gem, one that includes fascinating tidbits about the early history of billiards equipment and the game. A timeline in the book goes all the way back to 1164, and cites the earliest documented use of the word “bille” to refer to certain medieval ball games. 
According to an online obituary, Hendricks was born on Sept. 16, 1923 in Alton, Illinois. He served in Europe during World War II and later became a professor at Southwestern Illinois University-Edwardsville and Belleville Area College. He also was an avid pool player.
Although never in wide circulation, Hendricks' book has been cited in many other works, including those by billiards historian Mike Shamos (The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Billiards) and John Grissim (Billiards). I also cite Hendricks in The Hustler & The Champ.

-- R.A. Dyer


beth ragusa said...

So sad to hear that Bill had passed away. As a pool player Bill was always a very modest person. When I first had the pleasure of watching him practice it was at the Co-Ed Club in upper Alton on College Ave. between Washington and Main St. It was owned at the time by Boyd Sever and he told me to watch Bill and learn. Butch (Boyd) and I watched how easy Bill made it look shooting balls in the hole and never getting out of line.After almost an hour and a half Bill starts to collect the balls to check out and with Butch and me keeping score Bill had run 222 balls without missing. When Butch said something about the streak of consecutive balls why was he quitting . He said he had to go someplace and he will be back the next day and he 'lol try to miss then. I used to play him some Alabama and occasionally some golf at Schaeffers pool room. You could always learn from him but you had to ask him if you wanted to know what the right shot was at that time. In the years that followed Bill had some trouble getting around and it cut down on his table time but he always found time to show up and watch the younger players shoot it out. Bill won the national collegiate championship in straight pool I believe it was in 1964. I have more than one copy of Bills book and I also had him sign it before I bought the book. Bill you will be missed and as long as your fans are alive your reputation will always be heard . Miss you buddy and hope to see you again someday. Later Mr Bill , John Ragusa

tesla83 said...

Bill was a great man, I use to go to Cue and Cushion back in the early 90's, when I was a really bad pool player. Mr. Hendricks use to let me play with him, and he taught me many things over those few years. I am now a 7 in the APA thanks to him and his lessons - a great man who will be missed.