Steve Cook (pool player)

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For other people of the same name, see Steve Cook.

Steve Cook (December 31, 1946 – October 21, 2003),[1] was an American professional player and instructor of pocket billiards (pool). He is best known for the extremely challenging game of one-pocket, which Cook described as "the pool game for strategical and creative abilities."[2] He was nicknamed "Cookie Monster", and due to his unassuming appearance hiding world-class talent, "the Clark Kent of one-pocket".[1] Cook was inducted into the One Pocket Hall of Fame in 2005.[1] Multiple world championship winner Allen Hopkins said of Cook that he "was probably the best One-Pocket player in the world from 1976 until the mid-1980's".[3]

Early life[edit]

As a child, born in Lima, Ohio, Cook suffered debilitating bone deterioration in his right hip, from ages 5 to 10, preventing him from playing running sports, and leading to a focus on hand–eye coordination games.[3] By his teens, Cook was a local champion at table tennis and golf (also winning the National Putter Tournament at 15), as well an accomplished bowler.[3] He did not begin playing pool until age 14, but soon focused all of his sporting attention on the game. By 19, Cook had attracted a pro, Danny Jones, to play him in an exhibition match, and went on to place 23rd at his first Stardust Open tournament at the titular casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.[clarification needed].[3]

He subsequently[clarification needed] managed a pool hall in Springfield, Ohio, and in 1968 moved to Tampa, Florida where he ran Dale Mabry Billiards with is friend and one-pocket mentor[1][3] "Lefty" Goff for several years.[3]

Professional career[edit]

in that era the premier one-pocket event. He was both One-pocket and All-around Champion at the 1970 Stardust event, at age 23.[3] He competed in other events throughout the 1970s, including the US Open.[3]

After many years of victories in only small events, Cook took the 1991 Legends of One Pocket Philadelphia championship (and was runner-up in that year's earlier Legends event in Las Vegas),[1][3] and later went on to win the 1993 Los Angeles Open.[1][4] The 1991 victory made him one of only two players to ever win both the Stardust and Legends one-pocket titles.

Aside from competing professionally, Cook served as the manager and house pro at Varsity Billiard Room in Tampa from the early 1970s to 1996,[3] In this capacity, Steve did as much as he could to promote the game of pocket billiards. An example was that here he was, a world champion one-pocket player, and he would give one-pocket lessons at Varsity Billiards for $10.00 per hour. Most other professional players would charge $1000.00 a session for lessons. Steve really did what he could to help anyone improve their game.

Cook was also one of a number of contributing authors to the one-pocket book Shots, Moves and Strategies: As Taught by the Game's Greatest Players (edited by Eddie Robin),[1] now a highly sought-after collector's item.[5]

Accomplishments[edit]

1970 Stardust Open: Champion (One-pocket and All-around Divisions)>[1][3] 1991 Legends of One Pocket (Philadelphia): Champion[1][3] 1991 Legends of One Pocket (Las Vegas): Runner-up (to Allen Hopkins)[1] 1993 Los Angeles Open: Champion[1][4]

Later life[edit]

In 1996, Cook returned to Lima, Ohio, to care for his mother after she suffered a stroke.[3] He continued playing in the Midwest, and occasionally in major events in Las Vegas and elsewhere.[3]

At the age of 56 he died in his sleep on October 21, 2003 in his hometown of Lima,[1] of causes that were not disclosed in his obituary.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Booth, Steve (2005). "The One Pocket Hall of Fame Is Pleased to Honor Steve Cook 'Cookie Monster' for His Outstanding Contribution to the Legacy of the Game of One Pocket". OnePocket.org. Canterbury, NH: Steve Booth. Retrieved 2009-02-06. 
  2. ^ Robin, Eddie (ed.) (1996). Shots, Moves and Strategies: As Taught by the Game's Greatest Players. Billiard World Pub. ISBN 978-0-936362-04-5. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Cook, Ken (2005). "Remembering Steve Cook". OnePocket.org. Canterbury, NH: Steve Booth. Retrieved 2009-02-06.  A revised obituary for the website.
  4. ^ a b Booth, Steve (2004). "A One Pocket Record Book: One Pocket Tournament Winners". OnePocket.org. Canterbury, NH: Steve Booth. Retrieved 2009-02-06.  The obituary source incorrectly says "1992".
  5. ^ "Books: One-Pocket Shots, Moves and Strategies: As Taught by the Game's Greatest Players (Hardcover)". Amazon.com. Seattle, WA: Amazon.com, Inc. pp. "Books" section. Retrieved 2009-02-06.  Market value at US$350 and up, as of February 2009.