The United States Racquetball Museum
This online Racquetball Museum was created in 2010 by Randy Stafford to showcase the history of our sport of Racquetball. The US Racquetball Museum is quite extensive as it shows the history from the very beginning of the sport continuing throughout the exponential growth years of the 70’s and 80’s. Racquetball grew from around 30,000 players in 1968 to over 10 million at the close of the 70’s. It developed a “cult like” following among its players during these growth years.
What will you find in the museum?
As the rules were being massaged, the equipment developed for the game was fascinating as it mimicked the flames of growth seen in the sport. Early racquets of the game that we all grew up with included, Ektelon, Leach, Vittert, and Head. Prior to these larger names, the “woodies” or wooden racquets were developed by the inventor of our sport, Joe Sobek. Early balls names included Seamco, Wilson, Voit, Penn, Vittert, Penn Pinkie, Sobek and Trenway. There were many other suppliers of each areas of equipment that added their own history to Racquetball.
Also included in this online museum is information about the history of racquetball using actual early documents showing how the sport developed. Clothing including warmups, tournament shirts, and shorts that were developed and totally unique to our sport as it grew really showcases our sport in a visual way. Entire companies were built around their cultures, which drove their sales, which in turn carved out our history of Racquetball in special ways.
We plan on continuing to update and expand this museum site to develop even more areas of history of Racquetball. Racquetball was responsible for the early development of modern health clubs as we know them today. More information and pictures of this area of development will be included soon. Clothing was a huge part of early Racquetball. We will be including more US Team warmups and early equipment clothing which has always been a treasure to see them used even today on the court. There were even shoes developed and marketed just for Racquetball, which included Beta and Ektelon shoes. From early eyeguards to warmups, balls and racquets, you will find them here on this site and lots more.
Now that this museum site is using newer, more user-friendly software, we are able to modify and add to the site quite easily. We would like to make it much more extensive to include the entire history of Racquetball. We can not do this alone, so help from other racquetball history buffs is welcome! If there is an area of expertise and interest that you have and we do not, please contact us and help us build onto this repository of Racquetball memorabilia. I am looking for partners that share the same passion for the history of Racquetball. If you have a collection or have interesting stories about our history, please share them us and we can add them to this site and we will be happy to include you to our growing partnership list. If we don’t do this now, once we are gone, our history of Racquetball as we knew it will be lost forever. Your expertise could be in the area of the women’s or men’s pros or the governing associations, or maybe early publications of our sport. it could be you have a special collection of balls, or racquets that I do show, or maybe tournament t-shirts that you think other people may want to reminisce about. Art collections are always appreciated and old advertisements are fun to see. Pictures of the early days are great along with early pros, clothes, pictures of clubs, glass courts with stadiums, videos of vintage matches and on and on.
We want to hear from you!
This site is dedicated to preserving the history of Racquetball. We would like you to be a part of the museum by sending us your pictures, videos, and stories. Share your comments on our Facebook page where you will find all of the pictures from the museum or e-mail Randy directly.