“Knoxville Bear” Eddie Taylor, 1918 – 2005

Colorado Springs, Colorado: The Billiard Congress of America [BCA] received word of the loss of one of its 1993 Hall of Fame inductees - Eddie Taylor "The Knoxville Bear," at the age of 86. Recently diagnosed with an advanced stage of cancer, Mr. Taylor had been hospitalized briefly and released, then passed away on Monday, September 5, at his home in Bossier City, outside Shreveport, Louisiana. [ obituary ]

Funeral arrangements are being handled by Rose-Neath Funeral Homes (318) 746-2543, 2201 Airline Drive, Bossier City, LA 71111. Services are scheduled for 10:00 am on Thursday, followed by internment on Friday at 4:00 pm at Cox Cemetery in Clinton, Tennessee. Donations to the American Cancer Society in Mr. Taylor's name are invited in lieu of flowers. Condolences to: Mrs. Eddie Taylor, 1920 Alfred Lane, Lot 144, Bossier City, LA 71112.

Of Taylor's early years, Thomas Shaw wrote: Taylor was born in the mountains of Anderson County, about six miles from Oak Ridge and twenty miles from Knoxville, October 1, 1918. "When I was about eight years old my Daddy bought me a little toy table," Taylor said, "and later on we lived near the amusement park where the fella who owned the batting cage bought a 2 1/2 x 5 foot table and I got to playing on that. Then we moved downtown near the YMCA and I played on the table there. It just seemed that everything came natural. This boy and I used to go across the street from the school and the guy would let us play one game of rotation for a nickel. Then I started laying out from school and playing. My mother finally caught me and threatened to blow up the poolroom but I just found another place until she caught me again." [ full article ]

The December 2003 issue of Billiards Digest ran a piece entitled "25 Questions with Eddie Taylor" which shed more light on a colorful career. "In my early days, my best game was actually snooker. I finally got to where I could beat anybody in town playing snooker, but there was no money to be made in snooker. And all over the South, all the big money games were all bank pool. That's Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia. So naturally, I started playing banks because that was the big money game. Of course, the big money back then was like $5 a game." [ full article ]

From the BCA's 1993 Hall of Fame profile, Eddie Taylor is described as a two-time world all-around tournament champion, who defeated Hall-of-Famer Luther Lassiter in all-around finals in Johnston City, Ill., in 1964. He also defeated Danny Jones and Mike Eufemia at '67 Stardust Open finals in Las Vegas. He lost to Lassiter in the '63 Johnston City all-around finals, and finished 7th in the '67 World 14.1 championship in New York. A Tennessee native, the "Knoxville Bear" was inducted into the Knoxville Sports Hall of Fame in 1987. He was an active promoter of billiards in the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, and is regarded as one of the greatest one-pocket and bank pool players of all time.

Just last year, Mr. Taylor was inducted into the One Pocket Hall of Fame in the company of an impressive group of 11 inductees in 2004. Resident at the OnePocket.org website is a series of recent photos from that ceremony, along with a two-part feature article about the life and times of an extraordinary man.

For more about his lifetime achievements and links to related material, go to: www.theknoxvillebear.com