Tyree Bastidas already belongs to the most prestigious handball Club in the world, just like his accomplished New York predecessors (see list below).
We don't know if people can really appreciate how much of a life-changing event it really is, between winning and losing a national title in all three handball versions. The chasm between winning or losing all three titles is among the widest of any championship in any sport. Winners are exalted, losers are forgotten. The winner is forever linked to the Hall. The loser is usually dammed because he did not attain the prize.
Sure, the association has competitors who's played great handball matches in all three handball versions at the national level, but couldn't win all three versions required to attain greatness. Right or wrong that is the fate that many players faced and is the main reason why the most exclusive club in the USHA is so small. There are only seven players in this world to have attained greatness, that's it. It's a small club. It's a very exclusive club, it's a fraternity we would all love to be in.
Looking into this short list we did notice that most players competed in more than one association to complete the cycle (1-, 3 & 4-wall) and their legacy was born in NY. We also noticed that most of the players earned entry into this club while in their twenties.
Since USHA men's open competition started in the 50's the association has only produced seven club members for all seven decades to date. Who would be the next phenom to enter this club?
The following players are listed starting with the youngest players to win all three handball versions.
Tyree Bastidas – born in 1990
2010 USHA 1-wall singles – 19 years old
2013 USHA 3-wall singles – 22 years old
2013 USHA 4-wall doubles – 22 years old
Average age to win all three titles: 21
Lou Russo – Born in 1943
1969 USHA 1-wall doubles – 25 years old
1963 USHA 3-wall doubles – 19 years old
1969 USHA 4-wall doubles – 24 years old
Average age to win all three titles: 22.66
Marty Dacatur: Born in1939
1968 – AAU 1-wall singles – 29-years-old
1962 – USHA 3-wall doubles – 23 years-old
1962 – USHA 4-wall doubles – 23 years-old
Average age to win all three titles: 25
Ruby Obert - born in 1934
1954 AAU 1-wall singles – 19 years old
1957 USHA 3-wall doubles – 22 years old
1970 USHA 4-wall doubles – 35 years old
Average age to win all three titles: 25.33
Vic Hershkowitz – born in October 5,1918. Died June 23, 2008.
1942 AAU 1-wall doubles – 23 years old
1950 USHA 3-wall singles – 31 years old
1949 AAU 4-wall singles - 31 years old
Average age to win all three titles: 28.33
Oscar Obert – born in 1930. Died June 24, 2016
1955 AAU 1-wall doubles – 25 years old
1962 USHA 3-wall singles – 32 years old
1962 USHA 4-wall singles – 31 years-old
Average age to win all three titles: 29.33
Carl Obert – born in 1932
1957 AAU 1-wall doubles – 25 years old
1965 USHA 3-wall singles – 33 years old
1970 USHA 4-wall doubles – 38 years old
Average age to win all three titles: 32
Photo (center) - O'Donnell watches his partner, Scheneider, return a ball with the left hand.
One of the oldest teams playing in the men's open in the 21st century, hails from Queens, New York. Team O'Donnell/Scheneider jumped into the spotlight at the 1- and 3-wall nationals ten years ago. Both players still compete as a team during the 3-wall nationals (see photos above), but had to split at the 1-wall nationals to adjust to a more demanding game. Eventually, each player teamed up with new partners to become national doubles champions.
Team O'Donnell/Scheneider has never been taken lightly at the 3-wall nationals and is one of the reasons for them not to have made it to the finals in spite their great effort. Whether the odds were against them or a combination of bad luck and being on the wrong side of the draws, they have performed beyond expectations and have entertained the crowds with amazing play during the hot afternoons of Labor Day Weekend.
Congratulations to team O'Donnell/Scheneider.
Sometimes the only thing better than a handball celebrity is one who looks exactly like him or her. We're not talking about Tyree (top photo) where he sees himself in the mirror during a break at the 4-wall nationals in Minneapolis.
These real-life handball players have us seeing double in the best possible way. In the photo above we have someone (back) resembling 4-wall handball star Daniel Cordova while another player (front) resembles Tyree Bastidas during his teen wild years.