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Hopkins, Fleming Elected to BCA Hall of Fame
Apr 14, 2008, 4:08 PM

Hopkins' first big win was at the 1977 World Open 14.1 Straight Pool championship.
Allen Hopkins, a versatile player who won major championships in several cue disciplines, and Pat Fleming, the creator of a massive video archive documenting two generations of great pool players, will be inducted into the Billiard Congress of America’s Hall of Fame in a ceremony set for June 12 at the Charlotte Convention Center in Charlotte, N.C.

Hopkins, 56, a two-time winner of the U.S. Open 9-Ball Championship as well as major events in 10-ball, straight pool, and one-pocket, will be inducted into the Hall’s Greatest Players wing. Fleming, 59, owner of Accu-Stats Video Productions, will be enshrined in the Hall’s Meritorious Service wing.

The ceremony will take place at 9 p.m., June 12, during the GenerationPool.com 9-Ball Championships at the Charlotte Convention Center.

Hopkins was born in Elizabeth, N.J., but was raised in the small suburban town of Cranford, N.J. by adoptive parents Paul and Marietta Hopkins. His father bought him a three-foot toy pool table when he was 6 years old. At the age of 8, playing on a regulation-sized table for the first time, he sank 10 balls in a row. His father reportedly said, “You’re going to be a world champion at this game.”

Hopkins played championship-level pool for three decades from the 1970s through the 1990s. He is known for his versatility as a player, earning titles in such varied events as the 1977 World Open 14.1 Straight Pool championship, the 1977 and 1981 U.S. Open 9-Ball Championships, 1990 Cleveland Open 10-Ball Classic and 1991 Legends of One-Pocket event.

“When I was 12 or 13 years old, I knew I was going to be one of the best players at this game,” Hopkins said when informed of his election. He credited his development as a pool player to growing up with and playing against top talents on the East Coast, including Hall-of-Famers Ray Martin, Steve Mizerak, and Cisero Murphy, as well as Pete Margo, Jack Colavita and Onofrio Lauri.

“When you are in an area playing with top players, if you have any talent at all, you’ll become a top player yourself and learn a lot,” Hopkins said.

Hopkins’ lengthy resume includes titles at other major events, including the 1983 Meucci Rivermont Open, 1984 Texas River City Open, 1987 Eastern States 9-Ball, 1989 Coors Valley Forge Classic, 1990 River City Invitational, 1993 International Challenge of Champions, and 1999 Denver 10-Ball Open.

Now based in Port Republic, N.J., Hopkins and his wife, Dawn, produce the annual Super Billiards Expo, a four-day consumer trade show combined with large-scale amateur and professional tournaments.

Although Fleming had a distinguished career in straight pool in the 1970s and early ’80s, his best-known contribution to cue sports is the creation and continuing development of Accu-Stats Video Productions, based in Butler, N.J. Since the mid-1980s, Accu-Stats has videotaped more than 1,000 tournament matches and preserved performances by the world’s greatest pool and billiards players.

Fleming began the enterprise as a way to document matches for statistical analysis. (An Accu-Stats Total Performance Average is now a widely recognized measure of pool performance.) Fleming began offering videotapes for sale to players and fans, and today the VHS tapes and DVDs are invaluable as entertainment and training tools, as well as the most complete video record of two generations of pool stars.

“Now that I look back, it has had more of an impact than I thought it did along the way,” Fleming said upon news of his election. “The impact has been pretty substantial, since there is nothing other than that — other than matches posted on the Internet in the last couple years — nothing historical that you can view. … I wish there had been something like that when I was growing up. I probably would have been a better pool player.”

Fleming has made other significant contributions to cue sports. He was instrumental in the development of the jump cue in the early 1980s. He has served as a tournament director, promoter and/or referee for many high-profile events. He also served as a board member or officer in several player organizations in the 1980s and ’90s.

The BCA Hall of Fame Board voted to induct Hopkins and Fleming in a general election held in early April. The Board consists of 52 members, including current Hall of Fame members, billiard industry promoters and historians, and members of the billiard media.

In the Greatest Player category, Board members were allowed to vote for any players who met the essential criteria for the Hall of Fame, and however many players they felt deserved immediate induction. Hopkins appeared on 31 of 49 ballots submitted (63 percent), the most of any candidate. Under election rules, the player receiving the most votes automatically is inducted.

If the player with the second-most votes is mentioned on at least 70 percent of the ballots, he or she also would be inducted. In this year’s election, the candidate with the second-highest vote total was Danny Diliberto, cited on 16 of the 49 ballots (33 percent) — not enough for induction.

Fleming was placed on the general election ballot after the Board’s 10-member Meritorious Service Committee named him as its official nominee. Committee members considered seven candidates, and Fleming received the most votes of that group.

Board voters then were asked in the general election to either approve or reject Fleming’s induction into the Hall of Fame. Forty-five of 49 board members voted to approve Fleming, with one abstention; a majority vote was required for induction.

Hopkins and Fleming will be the 52nd and 53rd industry figures inducted into the BCA Hall of Fame, which was established in 1966. With their inductions, there will be 41 members of the Greatest Players wing, and 12 enshrined for Meritorious Service.

The five players named on the most ballots for Greatest Player this year were Hopkins, Diliberto, Jose Parica (13 ballots), Francisco Bustamante (12 ballots), and Jack “Jersey Red” Breit (10 ballots).