New Reports at Pro Racquetball Stats (part 3)

Part 3 of 3 posts going over the content we’ve added recently.

– Big news: we’ve started to add Amateur National Qualifiers to the Amateur database! We had to modify some queries and add others. We also have put in a number of additional Categories for searching. We’re still back-filling in lots of Canadian Qualifiers, but as of this writing…
o all USA doubles qualifiers from 2016-2020 are in
o All Canadian qualifiers from Nov 2017-present
o A bunch more Canadian qualifier events are in the staging xls, but not yet loaded.

Some new example queries:
– http://rball.pro/1BEF9F is Q/S/F for USA National Doubles qualifiers from 2016-2020.

– http://rball.pro/0AAA0E is the finals of the last few Canadian Men’s Open qualifier events, the last 6 of which was won by Samuel Murray

I have a ton more to go; two qualifiers a year in Canada going back more than a decade is a lot of events to transcribe. I’ll probably send out a different email upon final data catch-up.

– I’ve also been adding other country data besides the “big 3” of USA, Canada, Mexico in an attempt to widen the scope of the data. This spring we’ve captured Qualifiers and/or Nationals results from Bolivia, Ecuador and India. I’m having some issues getting the full results for these events (India used R2 Sports App but the other countries did not), but the goal is to start loading in more data. I’ve also reached out recently to countries like Chile and Mexico with the hope of building out historical results.

A call to the community: ANYONE with links to national organizations in other countries who may be able to provide data is welcomed. There’s a dozen other countries out there that run national events that I’d love to have in the database.

– I’ve started to work on a change_nationality() function that properly shows all countries of origin properly for players who have switched allegiances in their career. The most recent example is of course Alex Landa switching from Mexico to USA, so the function should properly show Landa being “from” the USA in tourneys after Nov 2019 and being “from” Mexico before that. There’s now many players who have switched and as we see reports that need more coding we fix them.

– fixed bug in player_history_alltours() to get Event links to properly render based on alternate tour variable. This is a common issue in the code actually, since we over load lots of variables to support all sorts of different use cases in the code.

– fixed a bug in the Draw Size queries that was improperly counting draw sizes for events that depended on round robins. I was counting total matches, not distinct losers. I also was mis-couting events that have 3rd place games.

– the most recent addition: A Year-End Rankings Matrix tracking the current pro players and their year over year season ending ranking in one place. http://rball.pro/8D2F5F

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Other general improvements
– I’ve begun adding direct links in some places to specific tournaments, so that if you’ve run (for example) All Finals for a season you can click on the tournament name to get immediately to the “All Matches per Event” report.

– We’ve added some additional fields to the Tale of the Tape reports for players as we can find it; we’re always looking for more and better data.

– We’ve added “As of Date” date logic printing to every report; we list the day the report was run as well as the date of the latest tournament in the database. We did this to help support the IRT’s broadcast team so that they know when the data they’re looking at (if its been printed) is as of for context.

– We have created a number of reports to help the Reaching Your Dream Foundation organization report on its sponsored players; these are only available via private links shared only with RYDF staff, but also are something we can support for other tours or other organizations as needed. I’ve also created custom jump pages for the IRT broadcasters for example, and can do other one-offs as needed.

– We’ve modified the code to handle the LPRT’s conversion to best-of-3 scoring in Aug 2019.

– Thanks to an observation from Jon Rafkind, we had some redirect and coding bugs preventing the website from using SSL properly. So now you should see all pages on the site loading via https:// … if not, you may have the non secure link cached in your browser.

– Fixed some code typos as noticed by Tj Baumbaugh where my footer links on the home page/choose_tour.pl page were going to the wrong link for the LPRT.

– We’ve added a third Player Pull-down for all players who have appeared in the current season to help navigate players more easily. Some people have asked how the “Historical tour player” is populated; its driven by 50 tour wins. Well, there’s players in the current top 10 who don’t have that many wins, so they’re not in the “Historical” or “Frequent tour players” list … instead of changing that number, i just added a third pull-down.

– Photo Attribution: I modified the player_profile table to hold Photographer credits for all player profile pictures used, and then modified the code to read in a JS library (label.css) to put in a photo caption and give photographer credit where its due. I’ve also started cleaning out photo usage to try to migrate all photo usage to use materials from photographers that I’ve got “agreements” with. Many of the photos in there right now are from Kevin Savory or Ken Fife, who have been doing a lot of the photography at local pro events the last couple of seasons. But I hope to incorporate more photos from other photographers later on.

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Tags

International Racquetball Tour
LPRT
International Racquetball Federation – IRF
USA Racquetball
Racquetball Canada
Federación Mexicana de Raquetbol
Federación Boliviana De Raquetbol – Febora
Federación Boliviana de Racquetball
Federación Chilena Racquetball
Racquetball Rancagua, Chile
Ferac Racquet
Federación Ecuatoriana de Racquetball – FERAC
India racquetball

New reports at ProRacquetballStats.com! (Part 2)

Here’s some more reports we’ve added lately. There will be a part 3 of this post: we’ve added a lotta a stuff in the last year or so.

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– I added a couple of specific IRF queries around the time of the Pan Am games in Aug 2019 that i’ll cover in a separate post, probably revisiting the next time we actually have an IRF event (they have cancelled the Pan American Racquetball Confederation – PARC championships for 2020 thanks to Covid-19). But if you’re bored you can fire up the IRF section and run all sorts of new reports.

– In support of the UnitedHealthcare US OPEN Racquetball Championships last October, we created two new US Open specific reports:
o Player W/L Record just at US Opens: this was suggested by Dean DeAngelo Baer to help highlight just US Open performance and it has shown some amazing stats. Here’s Kane Waselenchuk’s US Open W/L record report: http://rball.pro/ABF04B (he’s 90-3 lifetime at the sport’s biggest event)
o Player Match History just at US Opens: a full list of all US Open matches per player. Here’s Conrrado kevin Moscoso Ortiz Racquetball‘s match history: http://rball.pro/2F8B8C

– Player Lefty-Righty W/L Splits: great suggestion from Brian Pineda (who still owes me $10 from a bet made during a match last fall), who surmised that some players are better than others against lefties. Well, now you can query that. Here’s Alex Landa ‘s splits L vs R: http://rball.pro/28335A

– Head to Head Summary report: interesting suggestion by Timothy Baghurst to emulate a graphic we saw posted on a Squash broadcast: if you fire up the “Tale of the Tape” report, you can now select this H2H Match Summary report, which breaks down the h2h wins/losses, plus gives details on 3-game wins, 4-game wins and 5-game wins in both the best-of-3 and best-of-5 format. Here’s an example of this data for matches between Kane Waselenchuk and Rocky Carson: http://rball.pro/49B9BA

– Slight improvement to the Player Summary report as suggested by Evan Pritchard (aka Kramer X, aka the guy who writes The Racquetball Blog) to add in # of tournaments played along side # missed and total per player, per year. This does make the report more readable definitely. Here’s an example of a player summary for Paola Longoria showing the new column: http://rball.pro/7F61BB

– Addition of Player Home pages as suggested by JT R Ball. We don’t know too many stand alone pages for players, so I’ve added in some known “Facebook home pages” that some players are using in lieu of an external page. This data is now seen on the Player Profile reports. I’ll continue to add home pages as I encounter them. JT also just sent me some youtube playlist links that I may use instead of home pages for some players.

– Added functionality to the “Oldest to…” and “Youngest to…” reports after a conversation where Keerti Kumar asked whether Lalo Portillo99 was the youngest player ever to break into the top 10. I’ve modified the “Youngest to..” and “Oldest to…” queries to also list the Youngest and Oldest players to ever finish a season ranked in the top 10 on tour.

Here’s the report
http://rball.pro/1DE1E5

The answer to the question, “was Lalo the youngest ever to break into the top 10?” requires a bit of a history lesson.

Short Answer: No.

Longer Answer: Prior to 1982 there wasn’t a points system on tour used to determine the year end winner; the year end Nationals tournament determined the winner. They did have a ranking system, but it was just used to seed events properly. In the early days of racquetball, the tour was dominated by very young players succeeding at an early age. Marty Hogan (racquetball) for example finished as runner up in the Nationals in 1976 and 1977 at the ages of 18 and 19 respectively. Brett Harnett amazingly played most of the 1980-1 season at the age of 16, then made the semis of Nationals just after turning 17. Newly elected Hall of Famer Gregg Peck was just a few months younger than Harnett and played alongside of him, making the quarters of the 1981 nationals also at the age of 17.

Harnett then finished ranked 4th on tour the first year there was a ranking system in 1982. Other teenagers to finish in the top 10 once there was a ranking system include Gregg Peck, Gerry Price in 1983, Cliff Swain in 1985, Jack Huczek in 2002 and most recently Daniel De La Rosa in 2013.

– Added a section to the “Oldest to..” report to have a “non Ruben Gonzalez version of the “Oldest players to make the round of 16” on the Men’s tour. Ruben held 19 of the top 20 spots; now you can see who else is getting close.

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We’ll do part 3 next week to spread out the rball content!

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tags:

International Racquetball Tour
LPRT
International Racquetball Federation – IRF
USA Racquetball
Racquetball Canada
Federación Mexicana de Raquetbol

New reports at ProRacquetballStats.com! (Part 1)

Since we don’t have any tourneys to talk about … and may not for some time, I thought i’d fill the time describing some of the additions we’ve made over the past few months. I’ll do this post in a few parts, since we’ve added a ton of stuff in the year since I last did one of these posts.

We’re always trying to add new stuff to the Pro Racquetball Website; if you ever have a suggestion, please don’t hesitate to contact us and we’ll see about putting it in!

Here’s some of the new reports and functionality that we’ve added;

– Career Best Ranking and Career Best Seeding: we previously had a Career Best Showing report for players: now we added two more to show the highest tournament seed a player has achieved along with their highest career ending ranking. See these two examples for Andree Parrillahttp://rball.pro/B43B09 and http://rball.pro/8A65E8 .

– Individual Player Profiles: basically the same data we show in the Tale of the Tape reports … just for a specified player. Here’s Cliff Swain‘s Player Profile report: http://rball.pro/603ED7

– Misc Match Stats: with the conversion to best-of-3 format in both pro tours, we have done some work on the Misc tour Stats reports to highlight some of the information there. In this report you can find out, for example, the percentage of 3 game matches won by the player who lost the first game, or how many 5-game matches we have on record.

Here’s the report for the LPRT: http://rball.pro/B28CD6 . We know this report needs a bunch more work to really be a statistically relevant post suitable for research; the logic is a bit tricky and needs time.

– Most Matches, Most Wins, Most Losses: put in several additional counting reports to show some interesting stats. Here’s the link to “Most Matches” on tour: http://rball.pro/D74465 . Not Surprisingly, Swain leads the way by a significant margin for the Men’s pros historically.

– Added more Junior categories for some countries (like Canada) for more reporting options. So now you can run reports like, “Show me all the Canadian Junior Girls 18U finals” and get breakdowns like that (that report btw is here: http://rball.pro/3EEA3E)

– Adding WOR categories to singles reporting so you can get just One-Wall results, or just Huntington Beach outdoor National Female champs for all of history, etc.

– Plus, Thanks to a ton of research by Brett Elkins we have a lot more detail on the Men’s outdoor champs. Here’s all Men’s outdoor national champs plus in many cases the semifinalists and finalists to 1974: http://rball.pro/3C386C . We also now have, for the first time, Women’s champs as well.

– Created Player Profiles per Season report: this lists all the player profile data for all players who appear in a particular season. Here it is for the IRT for last season: http://rball.pro/B47A74

You can now run player profiles at multiple grains of data:
– Per individual
– Per event
– Per Season
– For all regular players on tour
– For all players in the database (nearly 1,800 players now!)

– Created a “Worst player W/L record” report … i won’t put in the link to protect the innocent, but its an enlightening report 🙂 .

– We created “All Matches per Season” so that you can see, as it sounds, a list of all the hundreds of matches that occur in a particular season. I ended up commenting it out b/c it was just too much data to present nicely. But if someone really wants it I can make it available.

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We’ll do another post with some more updates next week to help pass the time and create some racquetball content

tags

International Racquetball Tour
LPRT
International Racquetball Federation – IRF
USA Racquetball
Racquetball Canada
Federación Mexicana de Raquetbol
WOR – World Outdoor Racquetball

Pro Racquetball Stats/Top 5 predictions for the rest of the 2019-20 IRT season.

Can Landa hold off Carson for the #2 spot on tour? Photo US Open 2019, Photographer Kevin Savory

Note: this was published with some slightly modified text updates on 1/13/20 here:
https://www.irttour.com/pro-racquetball-stats-top-5-predictions-for-the-remainder-of-the-2019-20-season/?fbclid=IwAR1_n9O2dL0EYcGelNDNqjd3_2gVB1-iE9jZwDP3bkVvoG2JpmJ7gCu70ak

Welcome to the 2nd half of the 2019-20 IRT season, racquetball fans! We’ve already seen six Tier 1/Grand Slams in the books this season, and we have at least another six Tier 1/Grand Slams on the slate for the spring, perhaps more to be announced. Here’s five predictions on what will happen the rest of the way out this season:

(Reminder: these are in the opinion of Todd Boss, not the IRT. This is for entertainment purposes only).


Prediction #1. Kane will win his 14th title … but will lose a match between now and the end of the season.

The first prediction probably isn’t that ground breaking, considering that Kane Waselenchuk has yet to be beaten on the court this year. But he’s going to have to work a bit to get the title; he has about the same amount of points to defend in the spring as Rocky Carson, but he’s slightly behind Alejandro Landa in YTD points right now.

But I’m predicting that Kane drops another match on the court at some point this year. Its hard to stay 100% healthy deep into your 30s, and I’m guessing that somewhere along the line Kane runs into a nagging injury that costs him a match. The schedule in Jan-Feb is tough: three straight weeks of Tier 1s, including the Tier 1 “plus” Lewis Drug Pro-Am in Sioux Falls that generally gets the best and biggest draws outside of the US Open. I wonder if we’ll see “load management” out of some of the IRT’s veterans to get through this section of the season. I hope not; the Sioux Falls event is great, and the Lou Bradley Memorial deserves a great showing since its a Tier 1 for the first time. But if it does, more opportunities for upsets and surprise runs from younger players.


Prediction #2: Landa will pip Carson for #2 at year end…. but Carson holds off Parrilla for #3

Carson dropped out of the top 2 on tour at the end of the Portland ToC event for the first time (save a brief period in 2016) in nearly a decade. After making the semis or better in all nine tournaments last season, he’s been upset in the quarters or earlier in 3 of the first 6 events this season. This has enabled Landa to take over #2 this season at the half way point. But the news doesn’t get much better for Rocky the rest of the way: Rocky has 400 more points to defend from the 2nd half of last season as compared to Landa, and Landa already has 300 more earned points this season.

A better question might be this: can Andree Parrilla overtake Rocky for #3 by season’s end? Rocky has a sizeable current lead in the rolling-12 month points standings over Parrilla for #3 … but like Landa has significantly more points to defend in the season’s second half. Rocky earned roughly 1,770 points from Jan 2019-season’s end, as compared to ~1,365 for Landa and ~1305 for Parrilla. Parrilla’s big problem now is his #4 ranking; he’s set every tourney for a tough 4/5 quarter, then feeds into Kane in the semis … making it really hard for him to make a final (or win the event) unless there’s a significant upset or Kane skips an event. Parrilla may need a tourney win to eclipse Carson for #3 this season.

Nonetheless, some interesting battles to watch for at the top.


Prediction #3: Eduardo Portillo will finish top 10 … but not top 8.

One of the big risers this season has been the young Mexican Portillo, who won Junior Worlds 18U in 2018 and is making a full time push on the pro tour. Playing half time last season, he finished 17th on tour, making the main draws in all five events he entered. He’s continued that streak of making main draw in ever event he enters this season, throwing in a couple of solid wins over top players to make the Semis in Arizona.

Portillo currently sits 10th in the rankings, 9th in season-to-date. But he’s gone one-and-done in the last two pro events at the hands of his direct competitors for the last top 10 spots (Franco and Montoya respectively) and needs to gain success in these matches to take the next step.


Prediction #4: Moscoso will make the Bolivian Open final again

The Bolivian Grand slam is set to occur in mid May 2020, a month and a half later than it was held in 2019. Right now Moscoso sits 7th in the rolling 12-month rankings and 7th in season-to-date rankings, but he’ll lose a significant chunk of his ranking points in early April when the points from his 2019 Bolivian GS event expire. This will send his ranking down significantly, probably into the 13-14 range, but it shouldn’t stop him from making a similar run to the final.

Who will he play there? Will we see Kane make the trip this year? I certainly hope so: I think the Bolivian crowd would love to see a rematch of the US Open Final between Kane and Conrrado. But, coming from a 13-14 range seed will make it that much tougher for Moscoso to advance through.


Prediction #5: The end of the season will see a number of “Retirements” of long-time touring players

I can’t read minds, and I won’t name names, but fans of the sport can already see a number of long-time touring players taking significant steps back already this season. In some cases sponsorship changes have forced players to make hard choices about the costs of touring. In other cases the realities of the current state of the game have exposed their true talent levels and they find themselves dropped well out of even a top 16 seed.


Bonus prediction: 2nd half should see more Mexican players playing Tier 1s.

The locations of the 6 tourneys on the schedule for the spring of 2020 are: Austin, Sioux Falls, Sun Prairie WI, Chicago, Bolivia and Denver. We also had a couple of additional stops on the schedule (New York and Chihuahua). The nice part about these stops? A lot of them are in easy airline hubs or close to/in Mexico, making it a lot easier from a cost perspective for the up and coming Mexican contingent of players to attend.

So here’s hoping that guys like Mar, Estrada, Natera, Martell, Cardona, Garay, Ochoa, Alonso, Longoria and the like play more this spring.


Happy New Year and here’s to an exciting 2nd half of racquetball!

Wayne Toyne 8/7/41 – 1/7/20

My thoughts tonight are with the Toyne family. We found out today that long-time scion of the DC-area racquetball family has passed. Anyone who played tournaments on the east coast, or who knew the old “Team Ed” group, and a good chunk of the global racquetball community knew Wayne Toyne and knew what a special person he was.

For me personally, I probably first met Wayne upon moving to Arlington in 1998. We worked together for years helping run tournaments in the DC area; the older picture in this post is circa 2001, from one of the long nights we used to put in at Ed Willis’ house to organize draws ahead of big tournament weekends. Wayne’s primary role on these late nights was mostly moral support and helping to eat the chinese food we ordered (hence the picture of him eating a piece of crab rangoon). In reality he was a long time organizer, promoter, and volunteer for the sport far and wide.

The more recent picture was from the International Racquetball Tour stop in Laurel, MD in September. Wayne looked the same to me in 2019 that he did in 2001; I never gave any thought that I’d experience the day when he left us.

It was a pleasure knowing you Wayne, and I’ll miss you.

Davey Bledsoe 3/7/51 – 12/29/19

Hall of Famer Bledsoe was 68. Photo via USRA Hall of Fame

The Racquetball world got sad news over the holiday weekend; former Men’s pro champ and Hall of Famer Davey Bledsoe has passed away.

Bledsoe was born in 1951 in Kingsport, TN. He was one of the earliest racquetball pros in the sport, playing half the events in the first pro season on record (1974-5), then was a full time touring pro until the 1980-1 season.

Here’s a link to Bledsoe’s Player Profile at ProracquetballStats.com, summarizing his pro singles career:
http://rball.pro/7E09C5

Bledsoe’s best pro season was the 1976-77 season, where he made the semis or better in 6 of the season’s 12 sanctioned events and finished the season ranked #2 on tour. More importantly, he won the 1977 DP/Leach National Championships over #1 Marty Hogan​, giving Hogan his sole loss on the season in a 21-20, 21-19 match. Pundits from the era called the match either the greatest match in history, the biggest upset in history … or both. See https://www.proracquetballstats.com/irt/greatest_upsets.html for a fun list of some of the biggest upsets in pro tour history. This win gave Bledsoe the year-end Pro title and he is in a rather exclusive club; only 15 men have ever won a pro title in the sport’s history and he’s one of them.

The PRS match report for this 1977 Nationals tourney is here http://rball.pro/9EC830 . And, If you want to see a fun recap of that 1977 Nationals event … surf to this youtube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aaI-NgBK5Q4&t=4s . Feel free to mute the 70s disco music :-).

As you can see from the video, Bledsoe was tall and lanky, lots of court coverage and lots of emotion in his play. He survived a furious comeback in game two to take the National title over Hogan, who went on to win the next four National titles.

In his prime, Bledsoe also competed in the Outdoor Championships in California, taking the singles title in 1978 (also over Hogan in the final) and making the semis or finals in several other years in the 70s and early 80s.

Bledsoe was part of an interesting group in racquetball lore: the “Memphis Mafia,” a group of top players in the Memphis area who played with Elvis Presley at his Graceland home. In case you didn’t know … Presley was an avid racquetball enthusiast and had two courts constructed on the grounds of his home, where he played along with some of the top players in the game at the time. Bo Keeley wrote about the group well here: http://www.dailyspeculations.com/wordpress/?p=8674 . Its a fun side-note in American history.

Bledsoe retired from the pro tour after the 1980-81 season. He continued to play Amateur tournaments for years and claims 13 National amateur titles. He was inducted into the USAR Hall of Fame in 2010.

After his playing career ended, he began a career in Network Operations, working for major Telecom firms and for some Defense contractors in the DC area before retiring in Atlanta.

Jason Mannino Career Retrospective

Mannino up for the Hall. Photo via Geoff Thompsen/Double Donut Studios

Hey racquetball fans. Long-time touring pro and former IRT commissioner Jason Mannino is up for the USAR Hall of Fame this year. Like we published with fellow HoF candidate Gregg Peck earlier this fall, here’s a career retrospective of Jason with some stats and lists of accomplishments:

Mannino overcame a near-fatal car accident at the age of 18 to become one of the most accomplished players in the sport’s history. Read on for a career summary.
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Junior Career

Mannino hails from Staten Island, NY, the same area as Hall of Famer Sudsy Monchik, and being just 3 months apart in age frequently competed throughout their junior and professional careers. Often times these two dominant players would meet in the finals of state, regional and national competitions and would trade off as title holders.

Mannino and Monchik also frequently teamed up as doubles partners and won multiple junior national titles throughout their junior career.

Junior Career Accomplishments:
– 3-time USA Junior National champ
o 14U National Champ in 1990
o 16U National Champ in 1991 (as a 15-yr old)
o 18U National Champ in 1992 (as a 16-yr old

-5-time USA Junior Doubles national champ with Monchik
o 18U in 1993
o 16U in 1990
o 10U, 12U and 14U titles previous to that for a full sweep with Sudsy

– 18U World Junior Singles champion in 1994

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Professional Career

Mannino turned pro soon after the end of his junior career, when he was offered a contract with Spalding upon winning the 1994 Junior 18U world title. His first pro main event qualification was at the Jan 1995 Atlanta tourney. In his first full season on tour as a 20-yr old, he finished in the top ten on tour. He improved even more in the 1996-7 season, finishing 4th and kicking off more than a decade of being ranked in the top 5 on tour.

He competed across two distinct “eras” in the sport, and faced off against legends like Cliff Swain and Sudsy Monchik in the first part of his career, then Rocky Carson / Jack Huczek / Kane Waselenchuk in the second part of his career. Despite frequently competing in the back ends of tournaments against multiple year-end tour winners, he won 22 titles in his career and made the finals of another 18.

Mannino competed at the top of the tour for an astounding 16 seasons, competing at a high level well into his 30s and becoming one of the most long-serving pros in the history of the game. His playing career only ended at 35 so that he could take the opportunity of running the pro tour; he finished his final touring season ranked 4th.

Professional Career Accomplishments:
– IRT Pro tour champion: 2002-3 season
– 16 years on tour; 15 top-10 finishes, 14 top-5 finishes
– 22 career titles, 7th all time
– 40 career finals made, 9th of all time.
– 195 career appearances, 5th of all time
– 70.0% career W/L percentage (402-172), 11th all time
– 2-time US Open champion, 1999 and 2006
– Las Vegas Pro Nationals Champion 2001
– 1996: IRT Rookie of the Year
– 1998: IRT Most Improved player of the year

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Innovative Playing Style

Mannino’s playing style was revolutionary in our sport for two primary reasons: his tactical serving approach and his amazing retrieval capabilities.

Coming into play at an age in our sport dominated by power servers (Swain, Monchik, John Ellis, Doyle, Drew Kachtik, Andy Roberts, etc.), Mannino developed a unique serving style that was not really seen prior; the “Junk serve.” Not a lob serve, but not a drive serve, he pioneered a serving style that involved deception, placement and guile to de-emphasize the power of his opponents and often times force loose service returns for easy points.

In the meantime, Mannino’s “getting” ability on the court was perhaps the best ever seen on tour. Mannino could retrieve balls that no other player in his time could get, diving all over the court to extend points and rallies. Mannino could anticipate where kill shots were going and would literally begin diving before a shot was executed, and could return kill shots from mid-air. He set the athletic standard for generations of diving players to come.

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Professional Tour Leadership

Mannino retired in April 2010 to take over the professional tour as owner and commissioner. He succeeded Dave Negrete and became the 8th pro tour commissioner in men’s pro tour history. Mannino took over the tour at a critical time; economic downturns in the 2010 time-frame forced major sponsors out of the game and cancelled marquee events. Mannino was able to resurrect the Ektelon Nationals in California for a time, and stabilized the number of tier 1 events for the better part of the 2010s.

However, Mannino’s lasting impact on the tour may be the rule changes he implemented immediately upon taking over as commissioner. The IRT returned to two serves for the first time since Aug 1990 in an attempt to improve the excitement of the serve. Additionally, in response to complaints from fans and sponsors, Mannino implemented anti-arguing rules and pace-of-play statutes in an attempt to improve the quality of the product as the sport moved more fully into a streaming/broadcast focused mode.

Mannino sold the IRT tour in June 2017, ending more than 20 years of direct involvement (as a player or in management) of the men’s professional racquetball tour.

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Coaching and Mentoring Career

Mannino has partnered with Fran Davis for more than two decades to teach Racquetball Camps all across the country and internationally. Davis and Mannino are the primary instructors of the most popular annual Racquetball camp series in the nation and have taught hundreds of players over the years.

Mannino is a co-author with Davis of Championship Racquetball, published in 2011.

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Personal

He hails from Staten Island, NY and studied at St. John’s University before turning pro. He currently resides in San Diego, CA. He transitioned to a career in Real Estate upon leaving IRT management. He continues to work with Fran Davis Racquetball as a coach and mentor. He is married with two sons who have continued his athletic pedigree by excelling in youth baseball.

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Conclusion

Mannino’s pro record speaks for itself; he’s one of the most accomplished pro players to ever play the game. He continued to have an impact on the sport after his playing career ended, and continues to this day. He more than belongs in the Hall of Fame.

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International Racquetball Tour
USA Racquetball

Visual Depiction of Women’s Top 10 over time.

Well, everyone loved the IRT bar chart we did earlier this week, so here’s the same thing for the women.

Some interesting observations in this chart:
– 97 women have appeared in a top 10 since 1975. This is a bit more than the men; we see a lot of players who reached the top 10 for short periods of time, then dropped off quickly.
– The depth of the tour early on was very thin; the early parts of the graphic may look odd as it shows the early legends of the sport like Peggy Stedding and Jean Saucer lingering at the bottom of the bar chart before the tour begins to fill out.
– I think its amazing how many players debuted at #2 or #1 on tour; Heather McKay finished #1 in her first pro season, won four titles in five years, then basically disappeared. Lynn Adams debuted at #2 her first full season touring, as did Michelle Gould. Marci Drexler, who may be the most underrated player in the tour’s history, debuted at #3 in 1986 … then retired at #3 13 years later.
– Also interesting how so many players retired at or near the top. Gould ran off seven straight #1 titles … then never played again. Shannon Wright played seven events in 1983-84 season, made the semis in all of them … then quit and never played another pro event. In this graphic you’ll see these players’ bar charts just plummet off the screen, showing their ranking diving from a top 4 level to non-existent.

Enjoy! LPRT

ps: again, thanks to Jessica Swartz Amezcua for the great idea.

Visual depiction of Men’s top 10 rankings historically

Fun stuff; Visual depiction of Men’s top 10 rankings historically

Have any of you seen those cool “Racing Bar Charts” that show stuff like population growth over time per country?

Well, thanks to a great suggestion from Jessica Swartz Amezcua, I found a site that lets you create these visualizations for free and created some one-off data spreadsheets and came up with this cool graphic:

Take a look, it shows the ebb and flow of all players ranked in the top 10 over time. It starts in the 1974-5 season, the first official “pro” tour season, and leverages results at the DP/Leach Nationals for the first few seasons to determine the top 10. In 1981-82, we had a points race for the top 10 for the first time, and have had it ever since.

Here’s a fun fact: in the entire history of the pro tour, now covering more than 45 years … there’s only been a grand total of 79 distinct players who have finished in the top 10 in a given season on tour.

Anyway, take a look at the visualization; its pretty cool. I’ll do something similar for the Ladies next.

International Racquetball Tour

Happy Thanksgiving 2019!

On this holiday, I thought i’d print out what i’m thankful for in our Racquetball community, and recognize those who help me do what I do for the Pro Racquetball Stats site.

– International Racquetball Tour commish Mike Grisz for moving the tour forward and already having an impactful change.
– LPRT commish Tj Baumbaugh for keeping tour moving forward and ever expanding the schedule and reach.

– Both tours for all the efforts you make with streaming matches so that we nerds can watch from home. Jerry J Josey Jr.osey Jr. and Pablo Fajre n particular.

– Speaking of broadcasts, special thanks to the lead broadcasters on the pro tours Timothy Baghurst and Dean DeAngelo Baer. Also thanks to those who help out on broadcasts JP Edwards, Favio Saravia and many others who help out and make the streaming entertaining for those of us at home.

– thanks to the amateur orgs out there: International Racquetball Federation – IRF and USA Racquetball and Federación Mexicana de Raquetbol and Racquetball Canada for all the events you put on.

– Thanks to the IRF and USAR lead broadcast voices Gary Mazaroff and Leo Ray Vasquez for all you do for the major USA and international events.

– Thanks to IRT staffers like Andy Kulback and Mark Gibbs for ongoing discussions on various issues related to the integration and use of the data.

– Thanks to Reaching Your Dream Foundation and Michael Lippitt for your sponsorship and assistance provided to younger players to keep them playing.

– thanks to Ryan and Tish Rodgers for R2 Sports App; where would we be without that system and its prevalent use to provide real-time tracking of tournaments. IRF: take note! can we please move to r2sports and move away from PDFs stored in dropbox?

– Thanks to Kramer X for everything you do with The Racquetball Blog, the only person out there really writing about the sport in a blog-format.

– Thanks to all the skilled photographers out there associated with the various organizations; keep up your great work. I’m talking Ken FifeKevin Savory, Mike Augustin, Freddy Ramirez, Roby Partovich, Geoff Thomsen, Mike Boatman, and others who I may have forgotten.

– thanks for the 20 years now of the UnitedHealthcare US OPEN Racquetball Championships and Doug Ganim’s stewardship. I hope we can find someone to continue this great tradition; the one event per year that draws basically everyone in the sport.

– Thanks to all the tournament directors who put up their own time, money and effort to put on tournaments, both professional and amateur. With out you, we have no sport.

– And thanks to anyone who I may have forgotten.

Happy Thanksgiving! Eat some turkey, then hit the courts!