New-York Historical Society's Bill Shannon Dictionary of New York Sports

Wimpy Lassiter

Wimpy Lassiter (Billiards. Born, Elizabeth City, NC, Nov. 5, 1918; died, Elizabeth City, NC, Oct. 25, 1988.) His full name was Luther Clement Lassiter but he was known universally on the billiards circuit as “Wimpy,” which name derived from his childhood habit of devouring hamburgers (as did a character, named Wimpy, in “Popeye” cartoons), not because of lack of nerve. Lassiter was considered one of the greatest nine-ball billiard players who ever competed and once earned $11,000 in a single night at his specialty. In the 1940s and 1950s, Lassiter played in tournaments throughout the world and when not engaged in tournament play, could be found in billiard parlors giving exhibitions or hustling up games. Wimpy took up the game of pool when he was 13 years old and three years later dropped out of school to pursue his hobby as a full-time profession. After service in the U.S. Coast Guard during World War II, he became a professional and first came into prominence when he won an unsanctioned tournament in 1954. When the international championships were restored in 1963, Lassiter became one of the leading challengers. Over the next dozen years, he captured six world championships. Lassiter “thrived on the game of pool,” said Willie Mosconi, a 15-time world champion. Such was Lassister’s dedication to the game that he played daily after ill health forced his retirement from the billiards circuit and when he died he was found a few feet from his table on which remained his cue stick, a cue ball and seven balls.

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The Bill Shannon Biographical Dictionary of New York Sports is an open database of sports biographies maintained by Jordan Sprechman and Marty Appel. We welcome public and scholarly contributions and suggestions.

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A prolific author, wire service sports reporter, long time Major League Baseball official scorer, football statistician, sports museum founder, theatrical agency owner and public ... read more

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