From the Publisher
By Mike Panozzo
Mike became editor of Billiards Digest in 1980 and liked it so much that he bought the company. He has served on the Billiard Congress of America board of directors and as president of the Billiard & Bowling Institute of America.
August: Corr Values
I WAS pretty certain that changing the voting structure that determined who gets into the Billiard Congress of America Hall of Fame back in 2007 would be a good thing.
No offense to Hall of Famers who were elected prior to that. There isn't an undeserving member of the BCA Hall of Fame.
Still, the 15 or so years that players' fates were left in the hands of BCA "Voting Members" (manufacturers and distributors who paid $1,000 memberships for the right to exhibit at the annual trade show) were frustrating. Deserving players were being overlooked in favor of the, shall we say, highly exposed.
Placing the votes in the hands of the industry's working media members, historians and longtime promoters, as well as living Hall of Fame members, at least ensured eligible players a fair shake. Playing resumes would be favored over press clippings.
Deserving players who surely would have been passed over, like three-cushion champion Sang Chun Lee, found their way into the Hall.
The 2012 Hall of Fame inductee, Karen Corr, hardly fits into that "likely to get overlooked" category, at least not to those who've paid even cursory attention to professional pool over the past dozen years.
Still, Corr's election on a ballot that included the sport's most recognizable star, Jeanette Lee, and men's champion Oliver Ortmann, made me nod my head in appreciation of the electorate.
Don't get me wrong. Lee's day will come and probably sooner rather than later. She is deserving of a spot in the Hall of Fame.
But let's face it. In the old system, Lee would have lapped the field, and Corr would still be waiting.
The point? Karen Corr is probably the second-best woman player of the last 20 years. She is Joe Frazier to Allison Fisher's Muhammad Ali. After Fisher left her seven world snooker titles and came to America to play 9-ball, Corr promptly won the next four snooker crowns in her absence. When the Irish-born Corr came to the U.S. in 1998, Fisher was already entrenched in a run of dominance that would make Mosconi blush.
For nearly a decade, Corr was the only true threat to Fisher's reign. And during Fisher's peak years, Corr still managed to be a dominant force in her own right.
Starting in 1998, either Corr or Fisher appeared in the title match of 47 consecutive events! Think about that. At one point, one or the other was crowned champion in 29 of 31 tournaments.
Corr garnered 15 WPBA Classic Tour titles, four BCA U.S. Open crowns and three WPBA National Championship titles. She won five of six tour events in 2001, earning Player of the Year honors from both Billiards Digest and Pool & Billiard Magazine.
Oh, and along the way Corr won the hyper-competitive Joss Tour in the Northeast, a tour open to both men and women national-class players.
A resume like that deserves enshrinement with little delay once eligibility is reached.
Corr is 41, meaning she was eligible in 2011. Germany's Ralf Souquet was elected last year, and you'll get no quarrel from me that "the Kaiser" was the best player on the ballot.
My only regret is that the announcement of Corr's election didn't come a month or two sooner. She had left the tour a year ago and returned to England to be with her ailing mother. Unfortunately, Diane Corr passed away a mere three weeks before Karen could tell her that she'd been elected into the BCA Hall of Fame.