Out of their League! –1-wall champions can not hang with champions of the '60s – was Steve Sandler pushed and challenged at the championship match more than any other 1-wall champion? - You be the Judge!
Top Photo -T. Bastidas returns a ball with his left - Gloves by OWEN.
One -wall players of the '60s are the only 1-wall generation that self-proclaims being the best players ever and the only players in the 1-wall community to brag about having the most dominant player in the Association – Steve Sandler.
For nearly fifty years Dan Flickstein and Howie Eisenberg, two handball players of the '60s, had spent an inordinate amount of time trying to convince everyone through their writings that the best 1-wall players in the USHA come from the '60s “Their handball articles have always been about promoting the 1-wall game and themselves” said Mike Armstrong a handball follower from Ft. Hamilton Park in Brooklyn.
“They've gone to great lengths to shove down our throats their opinions and personal beliefs”
Handball fans must realize by the end of the day that as opinionated as Dan Flickstein and Howie Eisenberg are, they need to separate Flickstein's and Eisenberg's opinions from facts and stats that had shaped the championship matches of the most dominant players in the association. Fortunately, here in Tyree's camp and with the help of some of our readers we've gathered more than enough information to present this topic from a new angle for our readers to better understand and comprehend what really happened in the final match of the most dominant players of the 1-wall game.
Player from the '60s may want to believe their generation of 1-wall players was the best one and they have every right to believe so “People tend to believe the decade in which they played produced the best players, because it's what they witnessed and experienced “wrote Dan Flickstein in one of his many handball articles. But are players from the '60s really in a league of their own?
When Marcel Goldfarb, a teenager who had just won the citywide high school 1-wall singles title in 1970, took Sandler out in the quarter finals of the USHA national 1-wall men's open singles competition in 1972, Dan Flickstein immediately took out half a page of the USHA magazine to refute a handball story that someone wrote on Marcel Goldfarb's upset victory over Steve Sandler “Again, I do not wish to slight Marcel. He is a fine fellow and a fine handball player. But presently he is not in the Sandler's class.” wrote Dan Flickstein.
More recently Dan Flickstein wrote “I can not imagine anyone in Sandler's class, and I have been highly impressed by Durso, Jagnandan and Bastidas”
“Despite the skills and talents of each of these competitors, none was or is as accomplished as the men Sandler defeated during the 1960s.”
Disgraced former 1-wall Commissioner, Howie Eisenberg, has always been known in the handball community for making wild and bold claims and has gotten away with it because he's made them as USHA 1-wall Commissioner “Players' of the '60s are in a class of their own” Eisenberg has always boasted. But are they really?
When Joe Durso, the most dominant singles player of the '80s, captured more USHA singles titles (9) than Sandler (8), his record was immediately challenged and dismissed by players of the '60s as a record without merit because they claimed Durso had not been challenged enough in the finals and was mostly challenged only by one player: Albert Apuzzi.
When Tyree Bastidas started to dominate the 1-wall open championships at a faster pace than Steve Sandler, his winning record was also dismissed by players of the '60s as one without merit because they felt that the field was not deep enough, according to them.
But after looking into Steve Sandler's record when he first started to dominate we discovered that his record is not that much different from Joe Durso's, Satish Jagnandan's or Tyree Bastidas'. In fact, his record seems to have less merit than the other aforementioned-players. But that's for our readers to decide.
We never saw Sandler or Durso play during their period of dominance, therefore we can't elaborate too much on their championship finals. Here in Tyree's camp we only go by numbers and facts.
Satish Jagnandan – faced three opponents
If a game was to be won by serving your opponent out, Satish would be the man to take that credit. His devastating serve was his most effective weapon brought on the court right after the turn of the century when Mr. Jagnandan dispatched his opponents as if he was in a rush to get off the court.
Jagnandan had to deal with three different USHA champions during his five championship matches. Make no mistake, all of his opponents have potential to be inducted into the Hall in the future.
Satish Jagnandan was also tested by a wide variety of weapons used by his rivals, but managed to remain on top of the competition by the end of the day. His ambidextrous approach to the game helped him overcome most of his rivals.
Tyree Bastidas – faced five opponents.
Ever since Bastidas won his first 1-wall nationals in 2010 he had faced five different opponents in the finals and all of them have been tough opponents hungry for the title. It's easy to say they are all playing for second place, but we believe they are all worthy candidates to the title. In fact, they all have national titles either at home or abroad and have potential to be considered to the Hall.
Is this a sign that current handball players are hungrier for titles than players of the '60s?
Not necessarily. But it does add to the fact that Tyree's dominance has been challenged the most by more players who had more opportunities to beat him with different playing styles, shots and strategies that every player brought to the final game.
Tyree did manage to survive the barrage of shots coming from all sort of weapons his rivals brought to the final game, which at one point even cost him to miss a championship match.
Joe Durso – faced three opponents.
Without a doubt Joe Durso dominated the singles open division against a strong field of players composed mostly of HOF players, with the exception of Eric Klarman, who some consider him a future HOF player. Yes, players from the '60s may want to discredit and belittle Joe's record, but no matter which way his record gets twisted, the facts will remain the same.
Joe's field of opponents included players hungry for the title just like Tyree's field, and most of his opponents have already been inducted into the Hall, validating Joe's field as one of the strongest field of opposition among all singles champions mentioned-above.
Steve Sandler – faced three opponents.
Without taking any credit away from the first generation of USHA 1-wall champions we did notice the most dominant player of the '60s, Steve Sandler, had to contend in the finals mostly against the same player he had repeatedly beaten in previous years; H. Eisenberg. Thus, he wasn't faced with significant new challenges, strategies or new player's styles “Beating the same guy over and over for three years in a row was probably too boring to watch” said Luca Dajovic, a young handball player from Marine Park.
“These five titles chases were probably some of the most boring to watch as the outcome of the season was never in doubt.
Well!. Here in Tyree's camp we wouldn't say boring, but the dominant player, Steve Sandler, did not seem to be challenged as much as Durso, Jagnandan and Bastidas were. But then again, that's for our readers to decide.
Furthermore, Sandler's two other opponents: Kenny Gamble and Mike Dikman have never been discussed as top 1-wall players and have never been considered for USHA HOF status by their own peers: Howie Eisenberg and Dan Flickstein (1-wall HOF Committee Board Members) - narrowing Sandlers' field of opponents to only one player: Howie Eisenberg “I just wanted to prove that even a bum like me can make it to the finals if he works hard enough.” said Ken Gamble after his final match against Sandler in 1966.
The following charts show the dominant players and their opponents in the championship match when they first started to win and dominate.
Satish Jagnandan – most dominant singles player in 1st decade of 21st Century.
2004 – Satish Jagnandan vs John Wright
2005 – Satish Jagnandan vs Yuber Castro
2006 – Satish Jagnandan vs Cesar Sala
2007 – Satish Jagnandan vs Cesar Sala
2008 – Cesar Sala vs Satish Jagnandan.
Tyree Bastidas – most dominant singles player in 2nd decade of 21st Century.
2010 - Tyree Bastidas vs William Polanco
2011 - Yuber Castro vs Tyree Bastidas
2013 – Tyree Bastidas vs Joe Kaplan
2014 – Tyree Bastidas vs Jurell Bastidas
2015 - Tyree Bastidas vs Cesar Sala
Joe Durso – most dominant singles player in the '80s
1987 – Joe Durso vs Albert Apuzzi
1988 – Joe Durso vs Al Torres
1989 – Joe Durso vs Albert Apuzzi
1990 – Joe Durso vs Eric Klarman
1991 - Joe Durso vs Albert Apuzzi
Steve Sandler – most dominant singles player in the '60s
1966 – Steve Sandler vs Kenny Gamble
1967 – Steve Sandler vs Howie Eisenberg
1968 – Steve Sandler vs Howie Eisenberg
1969 – Steve Sandler vs Howie Eisenberg
1970 – Steve Sandler vs Mike Dikman
Finally, we want to remind our readers once again that here in Tyree's camp we only go by the player's record and other details surrounding the facts to help our readers decide by themselves whether the following two statements made by players of the '60s are true or false under our Label – You be the Judge!
1.- Other 1-wall champions can’t hang with champions of the '60s.
2.- The most dominant champion of the '60s, Steve Sandler, was challenged in the championship match more than any other champion from any other decade.
Top and Bottom Photos by Keith Thode
In what it was suppose to be another victory for Bastidas at Friedley, Minnesota, it turned out to be at defeat for the one-wall champion at the hands of Abraham Montijo. The game was so intense that Bastidas had to change his shirt during the first game.
Bastidas who has a winning record against Montijo since his junior years, fell to the most improved player from Arizona in two games - denying handball fans a rare opportunity to watch Paul Brady and Tyree Bastidas play on a collision course the following round - Brady and Bastidas are the current 4- and 1-wall national champions respectively.
The last time these two champions met each other was at the Canadian four-wall championship match in Montreal a few years ago where P. Brady prevailed.
Congratulations to Mr. Montijo
Partially reposted from 1976 USHA handball magazine -by D. Flickstein.
Myth – One-Wall is Dying!
Fact - One-wall is alive and well.
King of the Ring – old and young players vie for the “Ring”
This year the 4th Annual King of the Ring handball tournament took place at the famous Coney Island handball courts during the same day as the popular Puerto Rico Day Parade and other local events. But that didn't stop handball fans from attending the event and players from participating at one of the most fun and competitive events organized by HOF player, Albert Apuzzi.
Although the weather threatened to cancel the event it went on as scheduled with the top players fighting along young handball stars trying to break through the rankings.