Frederick Mali Honored with Billiard Congress of America 2009 President’s Award
Each year the Billiard Congress of America (BCA) recognizes an outstanding individual who has made significant contributions to the billiard industry with the presentation of the BCA President’s Award. This year the BCA has chosen to recognize Frederick Mali. Mali, who passed away at the age of 76 in 2007, was the president and CEO of The Henry W.T. Mali & Co., Inc. (Mali Cloth), the oldest continuously family-run company in New York City, founded in 1826.
“Fred Mali was a great ambassador for the game of billiards, as well as the most gentlemanly individual with whom I have ever done business,” said BCA President Ivan Lee. “I feel it is important to recognize a man who never had an enemy, made an indelible mark on his company and this industry, and always found time for anyone needing his assistance or support. Fred provided direction and assistance to many people in the billiard industry selflessly and willingly. The loss of Fred Mali to the billiard industry is difficult to accurately determine, but his eternal optimism and civilized manner would have been a guiding light in the troubled economic times that our industry faces today. I only regret that this recognition comes to him posthumously.”
Born in 1930 in New York City, Mali was educated at Buckley, Groton, Yale, and earned an MBA from Harvard Business School. Mali also served his country in the U.S. Army, where he was stationed in Paris, between World War I and II. He married Lucretia Obolensky Mali in 1979.
“Fred lived by the simple belief that a man’s word is his honor,” said his wife, Lucretia, who is also the current president of The Henry W.T. Mali & Co., Inc. “He believed deeply that the only thing you have in life is your reputation, and so he rolled up his sleeves and worked non-stop to ensure Mali’s status as one of the leading companies in the billiards industry. They don’t make them like Fred anymore.”
Mali’s true love was using his engineering mind to improve systems and procedures at Mali and in the billiard industry overall. He personally developed many of the automated manufacturing equipment used to make the Mali Cue line of cues. He also was an expert craftsman with inlays for pool cues. Mali was also involved in the early days of organizing the Billiard Congress of America and the Billiard and Bowling Institute of America. Outside of billiards, Mali devoted time to arts and theater, helping design sets for numerous New York City theaters.
“I am eternally grateful to Fred Mali for the support he provided me during our 20 year friendship,” said Victor Stein, author of the Billiard Encyclopedia. “He opened many doors for me in the billiard industry—in the U.S. and throughout the world. And, as far as his reputation, Fred was a respected elder statesman in the billiard business.”