Steve Mizerak pool player, business man, and all around good guy.
Pool player Steve Mizerak, known as one of the greatest players to ever shoot billiards, was born October 12, 1944. He learned to play billiards at age 4 in his father's pool hall, where he had to use milk crates to reach the table. Nicknamed "The Miz" he went Pro at 13, but really dominated the scene during the 1970s and early 1980s in the game of 14.1 continuous billiards. Before becoming famous for his billiard skills, Steve Mizerak was a history teacher in the public school system in Perth Amboy, New Jersey for thirteen years. He says that this was partly because "pool didn't pay very well in those days."
He graduated from Athens College in Athens, Alabama in 1968, and according to Gary Poole, a Billiards Forum member and classmate of Mizerak's, Willie Mosconi attended Steve's graduation (see comment near bottom of page).
Steve Mizerak - "The Miz"
Steve Mizerak, also known as "The Miz" was named 6th in Billiards Digest's 50 Greatest Players of the Century. He claims that public image was important to him, and that he felt his inclusion in the list to be a great honor. Stephen Ducoff, executive director of the Billiard Congress of America says of Steve Mizerak; "He falls in there with Minnesota Fats and (Willie) Mosconi and some of the more popular players. He's a recognizable household name."
Miller Lite, a beer company that used sports celebrities to sell its product in the 1970s and 1980s, shot a commercial that showcased Mizerak. In the commercial, Mizerak made a difficult trick shot making the commercial famous. During the funny advertisement, Steve says that you can "really work up a thirst even when you're just showing off." When he was asked how many takes did it took for him to get all 3 of those shots to work like they did, Mizerak responded:
You can't really say it in that way. Sometimes there were other things that happened besides the shots going. The shots would go but the film wasn't in focus. Someone in the background would sneeze. You know, somebody did something else. We actually did it 181 times in 8 1/2 hours. We did it from about 9:30 in the morning to 5:00 in the afternoon. It was a long day, but it was a very successful day and it was a day that would change my career and my life. I owe a lot to Miller Lite and I also owe a lot to my wife Karen."
He produced billiard training books and videos, showcasing some billiard basics such as breaks and bank shots, as well as some more advanced billiard techniques for trick shots. In fact, Steve Mizerak has been credited with bringing billiard training content to the masses. Steve Mizerak earned celebrity status by producing an extremely popular instructional pool video entitled Pool, The Master's Way. He was the president and designer for a company he formed to make pool cues called Steve Mizerak, Inc. The company was acquired by Escalade Sports in 2002. Escalade's acquisition of Steve Mizerak Inc. includes an exclusive line of billiard equipment along with the registered trademarks of "Steve Mizerak", "Mizerak", "The Miz", and "The Miz Collection".
Steve Mizerak has several big screen jobs to list on his resume as well. In 1980, he was an actor in The Baltimore Bullet, and was later a star in the 1986 film "The Color of Money," playing an opponent of Paul Newman's character, Fast Eddie Felson.
Later in life, Mizerak founded the Seniors Masters Tour in 1996 for players over 50, which held around 5 or 6 tournaments a year, and offered guaranteed prize money to the tune of $25,000 to $50,000 USD. The tour's home was at a billiard hall he opened in Lake Park called Steve Mizerak's Billiards. He held tournaments there every Sunday at 7:30 p.m. where he offered training for amateurs, and provided critique on player's break shots! The senior's tour even had televised games, including one event at the Grand Casino in Biloxi.
Mizerak suffered a stroke in 2001 which left him with physical challenges that prevented him from playing pool competitively. Steve Mizerak died in 2006 in Palm Beach County at the age of 61. His passing resulted from complications stemming from gall bladder surgery, which had him in the hospital since January. He maintained an active member in the billiard community, even after suffering a stroke in 2001, said his wife. He is survived by his wife Karen Mizerak, two sons, and two grandchildren.
Steve Mizerak will truly be missed by all in the billiard community.
World Pocket Billiards Champion (PPPA World Open) - Roosevelt Hotel, New York (held for 3 consecutive years; 1982-1984)
Eastern States Straight Pool Tour - 1st Place - New London, CT
CBS Sports Spectacular - Legends vs Legends-to-Be - Atlantic City
CBS Sports Spectacular - Team Championship - Atlantic City
Florida Open 9-Ball Tour Championship - 1st Place - Melbourne, FL
M.C. of Miller Lite $200,000 World Series of Tavern Pool Tour
World Pocket Billiards Champion (PPPA World Open) - Roosevelt Hotel, New York
Billiard Shootout Champion on "That's Incredible"
CBS Sports Spectacular - World Pocket Billiard Champion - 7-ball, 8-ball, 9-ball - Atlantic City - World straight pool champion Steve Mizerak beat World 9-ball champions in 7-ball and 9-ball competition, and wont the 8-ball competition again, earning him the title of Undisputed Pocket Billiard World Champion.
CBS Sports Spectacular - Legends vs Legends-to-Be - Atlantic City - Legends-to-Be beat the Legends (Willie Mosconi, Minnesota Fats) at 7-Ball and 9-Ball.
Q-Masters Billiards 9-Ball Championship - Norfolk, VA
B.B.I.A. 1983 "Man of the Year" (Billiard and Bowling International Association) - St. Petersburg, FL
9-Ball Open Championship - 1st Place - Houston, Texas
CBS Sports Spectacular - Trick Shot Competition Winner - Mizerak vs Willie Mosconi and Minnesota Fats - Atlantic City
CBS Sports Spectacular - World Pocket Billiard Champion - 8-ball, 9-ball - Atlantic City
Grand Marshall, York, PA St. Patrick's Day Parade
Miller Lite Beer Alumni Golf Commercial
Cue Garden 9-Ball Open - 1st Place - West Palm Beach, FL
Actor in motion picture "The Color of Money"
Fiat Snooker-Pool Challenge - Steve Mizerak (US) vs. Steve Davis (UK) - 1st Place in 9-ball and straight pool (Davis took 1st in snooker) - St. Moritz, Switzerland
Major Contributor to Father Dales Sky Ranch for Boys - South Dakota
Scarlott Oaks Celebrity Golf Classic - 1st Place - West Virginia, VA
Honorary Founding Member - Bear Lakes Club - West Palm Beach, FL
George Plimpton Celebrity Classic Harness Race - 1st Place (beating out George Steinbrenner, Geroge Plimpton Kenny Stabler, Paul Maguire, and Oleg Cassini) - Lexington, KY
US Open Straight Pool Tournament - 1st Place - Cleveland, OH
8 Ball Pool Challenge - Steve Mizerak (US) vs. Jimmy White (UK) - 1st Place in 8-ball and straight pool (White took 1st in snooker) - France
Hilton Head Island Celebrity Golf Tournament - 1st Place
9-Ball Tournament - 1st Place - Boca Raton, FL
9-Ball Tournament - 1st Place - Dowington, PA
Snooker-Pool Shootout - Steve Mizerak (US) vs. Joe Johnson (UK) - 1st Place in 8-ball and straight pool (Johnson took 1st in snooker) - Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Introduced Steve Mizerak line of Cues in Kmart Stores Nationwide
9-Ball Tournament - 1st Place - Daytona Beach, FL
Stephen Hendry (UK) vs. Steve Mizerak (US) - 1st Place in 8-ball and straight pool (Hendry took 1st in snooker) - England
9-Ball Tournament Champion - Shriner's Tour - 1st Place - South Carolina
9-Ball Tournament Champion - Hard Times Billiards - California
9-Ball Tournament Champion - Cue Room - Lake Worth, FL