Good Morning Obots!
Today’s baller-shot caller is the legendary Leonard “Bugs” Rucker.
Leonard Rucker – Born Aug. 18, 1938; Died Nov.11, 2007 – but everybody called him Bugs — hailed from Chicago, IL, where he developed into a very strong Bank Pool player as a teenager. Like fellow Hall of Famer Eddie Taylor, Bugs took advantage of his tremendous banking skills to go on to develop a very strong One Pocket game.
As a tournament player, Bugs only played in a handful of tournaments — mostly well after his prime years. Like other black players, Bugs was barred from tournament play until the color barrier was finally lifted in 1967. By then he was already established as a top after hours player, and he showed little interest in what he called the “sociable” tournaments, except as an opportunity to challenge the gathered players in head-to-head match ups. His highest tournament finishes in One Pocket were:
- Won the 1994 McDermott All-Stars One Pocket
- 2nd place, 1992 Lexington All-Stars One Pocket
As an After Hours player however, Bugs matched up with virtually all of the greatest One Pocket and Banks players of his time, and in that elite company he is held in the very highest esteem. He was known to show up at tournaments — even Johnston City — and offer to play the winner, in some cases even offering a little handicap!
Despite his intimidating size (over six feet tall), he has always had an easy going manner around the table, with never a complaint about the equipment. At the table however, his unmatched killer instinct and ability to “get out from nowhere”, no matter how high the stakes, made him one of the most intimidating One Pocket and Banks players ever.
Although not known as a teacher as such, Bugs has certainly inspired many, many players with his very strong play, his aggressive banking style, and his poise and character as a player and a person.