“Beyond comparison of any other area of our sport, the racquet has epitomized the history of our sport like none other. From the very beginning, the ‘woodies’ started the march of our great sport leading to the oversize racquets of today. They showed the persona of both the development of the sport and the people building the racquets. Manufacturers and players always tried to bring the latest technology to racquet design while staying within the rules of our game.
It is interesting to me that once you start really looking at the racquets, you see the personalities of the players/racquet designers that created the racquets.
In the beginning, for instance Leach, located in San Diego, was formed and run by a group of designers and players who were more into the California beach scene, surfboards, and parties. This resulted in racquet names like Swinger and Outlaw.
Started about the same time, Ektelon was a more conservative group who made less flashy racquets with names like XL, Magnum, and 250 G.
Omega was created by a great group of guys that named the company and racquets from personal names: Alpha, Omega, Spoiler, and Boomer. I cannot remember exactly, but I think the name Boomer was either a dog’s or son’s name.
Other companies were named after the owner. These included Vittert, Starmaster, and likely the ‘Burt’ racquets. There was even a company named, Boss.
Interesting enough, there were also a number of ‘one and only’ racquets that were created by companies that tried the racquetball market with an idea, only to fail with just one effort. You will find some of these under Unusual Racquets. Included are two racquets with curved grips, one called the Anatomic Plus. The other called the American Sport Racquet which had a completely different design that actually played pretty well once you got used to the grip.
I hope you find it fascinating to see the evolution of the racquetball racquets during the past 60 years. From wood to exotic composites, we have them all in our sport and feature them here in our museum site.”-Randy Stafford