A Clue for the Cue: How a Billiards Mystery was Solved

Cover of Billiards Digest

What has been found is not always immediately understood. When Special Collections and Archives (SCA) received Walter Tevis’ original manuscript for The Hustler, we knew it was something special but we weren’t sure to what extent. The Hustler, subsequently made into a film of the same name, has been the subject of billiards scandal since its publication. One of Tevis’ characters, Minnesota Fats, was declared by the author to be completely fictitious. Rudolf “New York Fats” Wanderone disagreed. In fact, he claimed that he was the inspiration for Minnesota Fats.
 
There was no real evidence for this other than Wanderone’s word. That is, there was no real evidence until EKU police officer Derek Kirunchyk took a look at Tevis’ manuscript in SCA. Kirunchyk found, within the first few pages of the manuscript, “New York Fats” typed, and subsequently scribbled out. Tevis replaced “New York Fats” with “Minnesota Fats” in pencil.  
 
For the billiards community, this seems to be the answer to the age-old question of whether Wanderone was the inspiration for Minnesota Fats. Read the whole article by R.A. Dyer, for Billiards Digest, at http://www.billiardsdigest.com/new_current_issue/nov_19/bb_index.php.
 
Published 22 November 2019