Footnote Athletes


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Re: Footnote Athletes

Postby gh » Wed May 01, 2013 10:58 am

the best tennis match I've ever seen in person.... oh, wait! there's one for the bucket list. I don't think I've ever had occasion to watch a tennis match in person.
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Re: Footnote Athletes

Postby TN1965 » Wed May 01, 2013 11:05 am

bambam wrote:Nobody has even asked about 2 I had on the list that are somewhat obscure - Eddie Pearce (golf) and Billy Martin (tennis)


So what happened to this Martin guy after his early success?
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Re: Footnote Athletes

Postby bambam » Wed May 01, 2013 1:32 pm

TN1965 wrote:
bambam wrote:Nobody has even asked about 2 I had on the list that are somewhat obscure - Eddie Pearce (golf) and Billy Martin (tennis)


So what happened to this Martin guy after his early success?


Drugs apparently. He was supposed to be the next great American player after Connors/McEnroe and he was virtually undefeated as a junior, but never panned out in the pros for that reason.

Sidenote: when I was an orthopaedic resident there was a resident a couple years ahead of me named Chip Davis who had been a top junior player and played tennis at Duke. He played Martin in a match in Florida once and beat him in the first set. Some reporter came up to him and told him something like "You know, he hasn't lost a match or a set now in 3 years". Chip quickly got his clock cleaned in the last 2 sets.
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Re: Footnote Athletes

Postby bambam » Wed May 01, 2013 1:37 pm

TN1965 wrote:
bambam wrote:Nobody has even asked about 2 I had on the list that are somewhat obscure - Eddie Pearce (golf) and Billy Martin (tennis)


So what happened to this Martin guy after his early success?


Pearce, by the by, was considered the greatest junior golfer of the 20th century, until Tiger Woods came along. He was considered a sure bet to become one of the great ones, and was called the next Nicklaus multiple times.

Eddie was a freshman at Wake Forest when I was a sophomore at Duke and we played together multiple times. He is the only golfer I ever played with who made me feel inadequate playing with him. He simply played a different game than I did. By the time I got on the PGA Tour I had improved enough that even when I played with the top players, I felt competitive with them. They usually beat me, but it was competitive. Not against Pearce. I felt overwhelmed by his ball-striking ability and his length off the tee. It didn't seem fair.

Pearce came up against two problems. He could not putt that well and that caught up with him. And he was a partier - and drank a lot for a few years. But I've never seen anybody hit a golf ball like he did.

Strange sidenote - when we played, I beat him more often than he beat me. But it was almost unfair. I always seemed to chip and putt great against him and it drove him nuts, and he would miss putt after putt against me. But take it from me - there was no comparison in our abilities from tee-to-green.

Greatest junior golfers of all-time, in order:

1) Young Tom Morris
2) Tiger Woods
3) Eddie Pearce
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Re: Footnote Athletes

Postby Per Andersen » Wed May 01, 2013 4:19 pm

bambam, about Ellsworth Vines. How good a golfer was he really? I have heard various things. I think Bud Collins rated him as the best golfer of tennis players.
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Re: Footnote Athletes

Postby Per Andersen » Wed May 01, 2013 4:24 pm

KDFINE wrote:Bambam. The best tennis match I ever saw in person was a fourth round 5 setter that Whitney Reed lost to Rafael Osuna at Forest Hills in 1961.

Quick trivia question: Name Rafe Osuna's doubles partner? They won at Forest Hills in '62
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Re: Footnote Athletes

Postby bambam » Wed May 01, 2013 4:24 pm

Per Andersen wrote:bambam, about Ellsworth Vines. How good a golfer was he really? I have heard various things. I think Bud Collins rated him as the best golfer of tennis players.


He was pretty good but not great at the tour level. He did play in the Masters once or twice. The best golf/tennis player was either him or a guy I played with/against in the 1970s named Frank Conner. Frank was a pro tennis player - played at Wimbledon once or twice and then turned to golf. He was a journeyman pro tour player - about the same level as me. Vines was a far better tennis player.

One anecdote re Conner - at a tournament in the 1970s John Brodie, former 49er Q-back, was in the locker room - he was a pretty good golfer who played briefly on the senior tour. Obviously a great athlete, he was telling some of us that he was also quite good at tennis and considered himself the best golfer/tennis player in the world. Conner was at his locker around the corner and heard that boast and came around and challenged him. Brodie did not take up that challenge. Conner would have beat him at both sports.
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Re: Footnote Athletes

Postby bambam » Wed May 01, 2013 4:26 pm

Per Andersen wrote:
KDFINE wrote:Bambam. The best tennis match I ever saw in person was a fourth round 5 setter that Whitney Reed lost to Rafael Osuna at Forest Hills in 1961.

Quick trivia question: Name Rafe Osuna's doubles partner? They won at Forest Hills in '62


Too easy - Antonio Palafox

I first got interested in tennis in the early 60s watching the US Doubles at Longwood Cricket Club in Boston (I grew up in a suburb). It was on the PBS channel back then and the announcer was Bud Collins - its how he got his start in broadcasting. I well remember Osuna/Palafox playing Chuck McKinley and Dennis Ralston - they were the two best doubles teams in that era on the amateur circuit.
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Re: Footnote Athletes

Postby bambam » Wed May 01, 2013 4:28 pm

gh wrote:the best tennis match I've ever seen in person.... oh, wait! there's one for the bucket list. I don't think I've ever had occasion to watch a tennis match in person.


One nice thing about pro golf tour is you always get tickets to other sporting events in town at the same time - MLB, NFL, NBA, etc. I got to see Martina play Chrissie in Los Angeles in the 70s (before Martina got buffed), and got to see Borg play Connors in Dallas in 1978 at the World Championship of Tennis (WCT) finals.
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Re: Footnote Athletes

Postby KDFINE » Wed May 01, 2013 4:31 pm

Does anyone remember who Osuna's doubles partner in college was? I guess I'll have to look it up but I think he also played with Ralston (or did Ralston go to Yale?)
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Re: Footnote Athletes

Postby KDFINE » Wed May 01, 2013 4:36 pm

I was right. Osuna's doubles partner in college was Ralson at U.S.C. They also won Wimbleton together. Palafox is the "easy" answer because they teamed together in the Davis Cup. I was enough of a fan back then not to classify him as a footnote athlete and only brought him up because Whitney Reed was mentioned. Reed was rated highly enough that I really don't consider him to be a footnote athlete either.
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Re: Footnote Athletes

Postby KDFINE » Wed May 01, 2013 4:40 pm

When Peruvian Alex Olmedo helped win the Davis Cup for the USA (Peru didn't have a team and he was a collegian here so the rules were massaged), who were his three teammates for the Davis Cup final? One actually played while the other two did not. (I know the answer.)
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Re: Footnote Athletes

Postby 26mi235 » Wed May 01, 2013 8:25 pm

bambam, you and several (!) others make this thread a real pleasure to read.
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Re: Footnote Athletes

Postby Per Andersen » Wed May 01, 2013 10:04 pm

KDFINE wrote:When Peruvian Alex Olmedo helped win the Davis Cup for the USA (Peru didn't have a team and he was a collegian here so the rules were massaged), who were his three teammates for the Davis Cup final? One actually played while the other two did not. (I know the answer.)

Certainly Barry McKay and Ham Richardson. The Aussies still had Ashley Cooper (turned pro that year) and Neale Fraser who won Wimbledon in '60.
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Re: Footnote Athletes

Postby cullman » Wed May 01, 2013 10:59 pm

KDFINE wrote:When Peruvian Alex Olmedo helped win the Davis Cup for the USA (Peru didn't have a team and he was a collegian here so the rules were massaged), who were his three teammates for the Davis Cup final? One actually played while the other two did not. (I know the answer.)

Barry MacKay, Hamilton Richardson, Sammy Giammalva and I think Butch Buchholz or Dick Savitt. Whitney Reed was the player dropped early in favor of Olmedo. Reed later played doubles with Jon Douglas who coincidently was backup QB to John Brodie at Stanford.

Billy Martin got beat up pretty good his first year as a pro because he didn't have a weapon and his first and second serves weren't strong enough for the pro game. Another junior champion that didn't pan out was Wimbledon finalist Chris Lewis of New Zealand.

Jake Warde is my footnote tennis player. Warde was a legendary phenom that quit tennis abruptly at age 16.
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Re: Footnote Athletes

Postby Per Andersen » Thu May 02, 2013 9:09 am

bambam. Thanks for the info regarding Vines. Appreciated.
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Re: Footnote Athletes

Postby TN1965 » Thu May 02, 2013 11:18 am

cullman wrote:Another junior champion that didn't pan out was Wimbledon finalist Chris Lewis of New Zealand.


At least he made a Wimbledon final!

Daniel Elsner won three of the four Grand Slam titles as a junior, and won one match at Grand Slams (to five losses) as a pro.
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Re: Footnote Athletes

Postby KDFINE » Thu May 02, 2013 11:26 am

Cullman. Richardson and Buchholtz were two but you still don't have the third (for the final).
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Re: Footnote Athletes

Postby cullman » Thu May 02, 2013 5:21 pm

Ooops...I forgot lefty Tut Bartzen who was brought in to replicate Aussie Neale Fraser's game during practice.
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Re: Footnote Athletes

Postby KDFINE » Thu May 02, 2013 5:28 pm

Cullman. You're still missing the tall "towhead."
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Re: Footnote Athletes

Postby cullman » Thu May 02, 2013 6:25 pm

Don Kierbow...probably the most unlikely US Davis Cupper ever.
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Re: Footnote Athletes

Postby KDFINE » Fri May 03, 2013 6:22 am

Gee Cullman, I never heard of Don Kierbow. Are you designating him as a footnote athlete or are you offering him up as the fourth member of the Olmedo - Richardson - Buchholtz winning Davis Cup team, which was someone else?
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Re: Footnote Athletes

Postby cullman » Fri May 03, 2013 11:43 am

"No mas...no mas", I'm conceding defeat! :lol: Who is the tall towhead?? I gotsta know!

BTW, Don Kierbow was the "secret weapon" that Pancho and Kramer brought with them to join the team for the Davis Cup Challenge Round.
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Re: Footnote Athletes

Postby KDFINE » Fri May 03, 2013 1:08 pm

Chris Crawford. He acquired many notable scalps including Pietrangeli at Wimbleton, but never did break through to the top.
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Re: Footnote Athletes

Postby Jim Rorick » Fri May 03, 2013 4:28 pm

Would Sergei Bubka Jr. qualify as a footnote athlete. He was one of the top-ranked Jr. tennis players in the world but has done nothing as a pro. And, since he was recently seriously injured in a fall from a second-story balcony, he may never play again.
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Re: Footnote Athletes

Postby jhc68 » Fri May 03, 2013 6:50 pm

Back to the original post, in my view Joe Don Looney epitomizes the footnote athlete... someone with unique talents who under or over achieve for some reason or another and whose life takes unexpected turns.
I'd add a couple more for consideration:
Colin Ridgeway and Terry Albritton - both dynamic, multi-talented athletes who came to untimely, bizarre ends.
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Re: Footnote Athletes

Postby bambam » Sat May 04, 2013 4:13 am

jhc68 wrote:Back to the original post, in my view Joe Don Looney epitomizes the footnote athlete... someone with unique talents who under or over achieve for some reason or another and whose life takes unexpected turns.
I'd add a couple more for consideration:
Colin Ridgeway and Terry Albritton - both dynamic, multi-talented athletes who came to untimely, bizarre ends.


Agree with jhc68 on JDL - don't agree with Albritton or Ridgeway. I was thinking of people whose talents were so great that they would have been considered at the very top of the sport except for ... something. OK, maybe Albritton, but not Ridgeway
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Re: Footnote Athletes

Postby TN1965 » Sat May 04, 2013 2:03 pm

How about Al Parker?

He won a record 25 USTA junior titles against Sampras, Agassi, Courier, Chang, Martin, Washington and Wheaton among others. Then he hurt his back in his freshman year at college, and was never the same player after that.
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Re: Footnote Athletes

Postby bambam » Sat May 04, 2013 4:58 pm

TN1965 wrote:How about Al Parker?

He won a record 25 USTA junior titles against Sampras, Agassi, Courier, Chang, Martin, Washington and Wheaton among others. Then he hurt his back in his freshman year at college, and was never the same player after that.


Could be - must admit I had never heard of him
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