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Former world champion, American Poolplayers Association co-founder and Billiard Congress of America Hall of Famer Larry “Iceman” Hubbart passed away Thursday, Aug. 22, at his home in St. Louis after a lengthy illness. Hubbart was 72.
Hubbart, born in the pool hotbed of Rochester, N.Y., which also produced Hall of Famers Irving “Deacon” Crane and Mike Sigel, was one of the game’s top players in the mid-’70s and early ’80s. He was also considered one of the fiercest road players in the country
During a time in which Hall of Fame players like Sigel, Steve Mizerak, Buddy Hall, Allen Hopkins were at the top of their games, Hubbart was always a serious threat, winning the 1975 National 9-Ball Championship, the U.S. Open 8-Ball Championship and 9-Ball Tournament of Champions in ’76, the World Open 9-Ball in 1997 and the Akron Open in 1980. His last big win was in 1983 when he captured Sid Mann’s Texas River City Open.
Ironically, Hubbart’s greatest accomplishment in pool came not in an action match or at a tournament, but as a businessman. In 1979, Hubbart and fellow player Terry Bell approached Anheuser-Busch with a proposal to launch a national amateur pool league. What began as the Busch Pool League took root, and within 10 years Hubbart and Bell’s American Poolplayers Association topped the 100,000 mark in player membership. Today the APA boasts nearly 300,000 members, nearly 300 franchise holders, and competes in more than 8,000 locations in 46 states.
In 2010, Hubbart and Bell were inducted into the Meritorious Service wing of the Billiard Congress of America Hall of Fame. It was Hubbart’s last public appearance, as he spent the final three years of his life confined to a bed.
“I still maintain that Larry Hubbart should be in the Greatest Players wing of the Hall of Fame as well,” offered Bell. “None of the players from his era who are in the Hall of Fame wanted any part of playing Larry.”
Hubbart is survived by his wife of 38 years, Nancy, and six children.
Since 1978, Billiards Digest magazine has been the pool world’s best source for news, tournament coverage, player profiles, bold editorials, and advice on how to play pool. Our instructors include superstars Nick Varner and Jeanette Lee. Every issue features the pool accessories and equipment you love — pool cues, pool tables, instruction aids and more. Columnists Mike Shamos and R.A. Dyer examine legends like Willie Mosconi and Minnesota Fats, and dig deep into the histories of pool games like 8-ball, 9-ball and straight pool.