Thursday, January 7, 2010

Racquetball Player vs. Handball Player: Who Wins?

As we wait in eager anticipation of this weekend's International Racquetball Tour (IRT) event - the Coast to Coast California Open - consider the question of who would win in a battle between a racquetball player and a handball player. Some people in the early 70s did more than consider that question. They put it to the test.

In the early 1970s, Bud Muehleisen was one of, if not the, premier racquetball player. At that time, he called up Paul Haber, who was then the premier handball player. Muehleisen asked about the possibility of them playing each other - racquet vs. hand, and what Haber thought the outcome would be.

"You would lose badly," was Haber's reply.

Thus, the challenge was on.

They played at least twice. An interview Haber about the event and some footage of them playing is available on line. They used a handball - not a racquetball, which was still being tinkered with, so they did not have the consistent playability that we enjoy today.

In their first match played in Memphis, Tennessee, Muehleisen won the first game, Haber the second, and then Haber won a close tie-breaker. Their second match was played in September of '72 in Long Beach, California. That time they also split the first two games with Muehleisen winning the first and Haber the second.

But the second tie-breaker when to Muehleisen, who won the second match 21-9, 18-21, 21-8.

They planned to play a third match, but we're unsure whether that happened.

Note: We found the video link above on Bud Muehleisen wikipedia page.

Follow the bouncing ball....

1 comment:

Pepper Martin said... and have a 72 minute audio recording of Dr.Bud and Paul Haber.It contains in depth interviews about the matches in Memphis,Long Beach and other negotiations.Search Paul Haber"The Greatest Jewish Athlete In The World"