The Best Racquetball Players you've never heard of:
(Inspired by conversations on meetandplay.com, musings by Marty Hogan, etc)
This is a list of players who usually demonstrated the ability to compete with the top players of their day, but who never decided to tour full time (or who only toured for limited amounts of time).
Old Schoolers: players from the hey-day of racquetball in the 70s and early 80s (most of text pulled from Hogan 9/16/08 posting)
Larry Myers: a very accomplished junior who had some sucess and big wins during the toughest days on tour. He owned Mike Yellen.
Dave Fleetwood: beat Brumfield, Yellen, Peck, Bledsoe and everyone on tour besides Old Smoky
Mike Levine: big serve and big forehand. He was always a threat
Jim Cascio: great reach and power. A dangerous floater. Amateur from Pennsylvania, only played pro tour full time for one season (85-86).
Mike Griffith: beat me, and other top players. Was on his way to the top before his life ended way to early.
Steve Mondry: one of the most fit players in history. The best leftside doubles player, I ever played with.
Bruce Christenson: huge serve beat Brumfield at the nationals
Kenny Wong: battled and beat me, Hilecher, Serot, Koltun and other better known players in St. Louis during 70's
Scott Oliver: a guy capable of beating everyone and he did. I played him in three finals and he was a contender at every event.
Freddy Calabrese: New Yorker with a serve you couldn't read, beat Hogan, Swain, Ruben, Ray and others in cash events off tour.
Others mentioned: Bill Land, Bo Champagne, Stan Wright, Kelvin VanTrease
Modern players : Players from the 90s and today
Eric Muller: Boston/NYC based player who chose Harvard Law over racquetball. Frequent playing partner of Swain, seems to make runs in every pro tournament he enters.
Mike Locker: Gained fame with a fabulous run to the US Open semis in 2000 and made a final in 98-99 season. Then quit the pro tour altogether by mid 2002.
Brian Hawkes, Clubber Lane and some of the other outdoor guys: Hawkes played various events in the mid 80s, then decided to play full time in 91-92. He had a tour win, made a final, then mysteriously never played an IRT event again. Lane's power is legendary. The outdoor scene in Southern California has rebounded nicely in the past few years with the appointment of Marcus, the creation of a tour and the attention of top IRT players.
Bill Sell, Greg Solis, Adam Karp, Steve Lerner, Tony Jelso, Michael Bronfeld and other California pros in the mid 90s: The mid 90s experienced a glut of players pouring onto the tour and competing on a regular basis. California Open draws resembled IRT satellite events because of all the touring pros from the state.
Sherman Greenfield: Longtime Canadian champion, never really committed to the IRT tour.
Jeff Bell: great amateur player in Arizona.
Jeff Conine: Legendary power player in his college days, unsurprisingly chose a pro baseball career and multi-million dollar contracts over the IRT tour. Married to former touring womens pro and former IRT champ Tim Doyle's sister Cindy, with whom he made a surprise appearance at National Doubles while playing for the Baltimore Orioles.
Tim Sweeney: Chicago based-player in the late 80s/early 90s who definitely had top 10 capabilities, who had a major win that helped decide the 95-96 pro season with a round of 32 upset of Cliff Swain.
Jimmy Lowe: US Army player has dozens of amateur national championships but has *never* entered a pro tournament. Despite this, he cruised to the 2008 Classic Pro Racquetball championship in Memphis, beating all comers and former touring pros.
Josh Tucker: former junior phenom who played the pro tour fulltime for three seasons, achieving decent success before returning to local pro status.
Young players that just havn't had time to graduate and give things a shot: John Goth, Charlie Pratt, Jose Rojas, Patric Moscorro, Mauricio Zelada
Others mentioned: Allan Engle, Eric Storey, Mike Orr, Shane Wood, Ryan Staten, Chris Wright, Joel Bonnett,