John F. Patrick

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  • December 19, 2023
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Johnny Patrick is really amazing. He started competing in sports at age 16, and 70 years later is still competing…and winning.

If it requires hand-eye co-ordination, and it involves a ball, my bet is that Johnny Patrick will beat you at it. Baseball, golf, pocket billiards or bowling…he played the best in the region and the country, and much more often than not, ended up winning.

Two years after he took up billiards, a mere 18-year old, he was matched up with a known money shooter named Stan Madalis and beat him for $440.00, a fortune in those days. Three years later, his reputation was made in a highly publicized money match with John Campbell, who until then was considered the best money shooter around.

Pocket billiards was a big thing in those days. But for a sport to capture people’s imagination a rivalry must exist. Wilt vs. Bill Russell. Palmer vs. Nicklaus. Hogan vs. Snead. In those days, it was Patrick vs. Kotch. Patrick and Kotch played 1000-point matches in 8 different places. And their rivalry was so big that a match between those two superstars in the Mount Carmel High Gym raised $11,000. for a war bond drive. By the late 40’s a billiards league was such big stuff that its results dominated the local sports headlines. And Patrick’s team won when he defeated his old rival, Kotch, in the deciding match by a score of 100-73.

He played against three World Champions and did well each time. He still plays competitively, and last year, playing for the Sunbury Moose, he played 90 games and won 73 times. He only ran 126 balls in a competitive match.

In 1960, he discovered bowling and became a champion. He once bowled 289 in competition, missing the perfect game when he left a pin standing on his next to last ball.

In 1968, the golf craze swept the Coal Regions. He was a natural. He won his division at the tough Bucknell University Golf Course. Last year he shot his age, 86, at White Deer Golf Course.

He also Competed in a statewide basis in golf, bowling and billiards. Since 1983, he won 19 medals in those events at the Seniors Championships held each summer at Shippensburg.

Categories: 1993 Hall of Fame