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Got any Pancho stories?

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Got any Pancho stories?

Postby Richard on Mon Jun 20, 2005 7:56 pm

..."The Lone Wolf..."
Gonzales died, nearly broke and almost friendless, in a tiny house near the Las Vegas airport.



RICHARD "PANCHO" GONZALES was born on this day in (May 9,--) 1928. A self-taught tennis player who rarely trained, he was a world champion singles player many times over.


Gonzales, Pancho (Richard Alonzo Gonzales), 1928–95, American tennis player, b. Los Angeles, of Mexican parentage. After two straight wins in both the U.S. lawn and clay court singles championships (1948, 1949), he gained an international reputation in 1949 as a member of the U.S. team that won the Davis Cup competition against Australia. Gonzales, noted for his powerful service and strong court play, turned professional in 1949. After an unsuccessful national tour he went into semiretirement. Making a spectacular comeback in 1954, he remained the professional champion (except for 1960) until he retired in 1963. Returning again to competition, he reached the U.S. professional finals in 1964 and remained an active competitor throughout the 1960s.

See his autobiography, Man with a Racket (1959).


He played competitively until he was 44, far past the age when most professionals have retired, regularly beating players 15 to 20 years younger. Gonzales was noted for his serve, once clocked at 112 miles an hour. He began playing at the age of 12, with a racket that cost 50 cents.



...link to the International Tennis Hall of Fame entry for Richard Alonso Gonzales



Image






Lastly, my reasons: I met him, he's been on my mind...I'd like to start a tennis center with his name on it, in East Los Angeles...

Do you realize, the longest match ever played at Wimbledon: Pancho and his protege (Charlie Pasarell)--spent five hours twelve minutes, one hundred and twelve games!!...in the pre-tiebreak era...
............link to the longest Wimbledon match..............

.....link to Pancho's remarkable tennis life.....
"Stop right where you are. You know the score pal. If you're not cop, you're little people." - Blade Runner 1981
Bryant, to Deckard....

The movie quote of our time.
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Postby Richard on Tue Jun 21, 2005 3:57 pm

Okaaay,--I'll start you off.:

...A friend had once described Gonzalez as "even-tempered--he's always mad."
--from Bud Collins' TENNIS encyclopedia*--1997 ed.


*--edited by Bud Collins & Zander Hollander in both editions (1994 & 1997)
"Stop right where you are. You know the score pal. If you're not cop, you're little people." - Blade Runner 1981
Bryant, to Deckard....

The movie quote of our time.
Richard
 
Posts: 528
Joined: Fri Jan 14, 2005 9:22 pm
Location: Tucson, Ariz...

Re: Got any Pancho stories?

Postby Noemi on Tue Jun 21, 2005 7:57 pm

Richard wrote:...

Lastly, my reasons: I met him, he's been on my mind...I'd like to start a tennis center with his name on it, in East Los Angeles...

Do you realize, the longest match ever played at Wimbledon: Pancho and his protege (Charlie Pasarell)--spent five hours twelve minutes, one hundred and twelve games!!...in the pre-tiebreak era...
............link to the longest Wimbledon match..............

.....link to Pancho's remarkable tennis life.....


I could help you with the center if you want... Don't know how, But it's a great idea for a great man.
My Nikolay Davydenko site:
Http://www.nikolay-davydenko.net
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Postby Richard on Thu Jun 23, 2005 7:04 pm

Image
.......yet another tribute page link................
Gonzales had a lot at stake as he prepared to defend his US title. First, he had to prove that he was not the 'cheese' champion* that some unkind pundits had named him, and secondly, if he successfully defended his title then a lucrative professional contract would almost certainly be his. Despite the fact he was defending champion Gonzales was seeded 2 behind Ted Schroeder, who was making his first appearance in the event since he won the title in 1942.


*---This peculiar label, has to do with a claimed preference for a Gorgonzola cheese**, ...hence the nickname "Gorgo***" ...also "Gordo"--his weight, and "Pancho"--[typically an hispanic nickname for Franciso...not--Ricardo or Richard.]


**--Bud Collins' TENNIS encyclopedia, both in the 1994 & 1997 eds. (pp. 114 & 130, respectively.

***---found out that "Gorgo" is a nickname in Spanish for "gorilla." :)

......David Hernandez' page of encomiums to Gordo...or "Gorgo"..........
Last edited by Richard on Sun Sep 03, 2006 2:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Richard on Fri Jun 24, 2005 4:16 pm

Today's entry (in his own words...):
question: If you had your life to live over again would you make any changes?
answer: Only one: I'd never learn to play poker.

question: Name your favorite tennis book.
answer: The one you're reading.

question: What should the beginner learn first?
answer: Ground strokes.

question: Who were the best lobbers you ever watched?
answer: Budge Patty, Ken Rosewall, Tony Trabert, Art Larsen, Maureen Connolly, and Bobby Riggs. Riggs was the best of the lot.
..and it goes on....from Chapter 20 of Man with a Racket, Pancho's autobiography...

I'd sooner be what I am than President.
...at the end of Chapter 19: Not for Beginners

and from the"Favorite Stories" Chapter ........(21)
A good tennis tale always intrigues me, especially an off-beat one that manages to escape from the stereotyped, "I was down 5-0, and match point... " kind. There's a scarcity of interesting stories dealing with the sport. The few going the rounds are doled out like half-rations. Players themselves are poor narrators, preferring deeds of the racket to the raconteur. A notable exception is George Lyttelton Rogers, perhaps the tallest big-time competitor in the history of the game.

Rogers, former Irish Amateur Champion, turned pro when he moved to the United States. He still retains his Irish citizenship which gives him the privilege of slight embellishments. This is not intended as a slur on the Irish, and before they swarm down from their green hills demanding a retraction, let me hastily add that I love them.

Returning to George Lyttelton Rogers, the man is a powerful spinner of yarns. He needs no leprechauns, banshees, or werewolves. His characters are tennis players and in the following story, related to me in London where we faced each other in a professional tournament, George plays the principal role. For reading convenience it has been transposed into the third person.

.........................................A CHARACTER FROM IRELAND.......................................
When an athlete owns two diverse and outstanding talents, one must be subjugated. Top-flight success comes only to the specialist. Such an athlete was George Lyttelton Rogers.

In 1930, Rogers, a gigantic combination of knife-and-forker and tennis player arrived in the United States to concentrate on legally lifting some tournament trophies. Had the tour been confined to restaurants, the depression might have been ended a few years earlier because the visitor could point with pride to the following records:

----------------------------------Liquid Department----------------------------------
Drank a magnum of champagne in three minutes flat.

Downed seventeen steins of German beer in thirty minutes.

Tossed off twenty-one straight glasses of water in Paris, where a single glass of the stuff is considered unusual.

----------------------------------Food Department------------------------------------
Breakfast consisting of five soup bowls of oatmeal, six eggs, eight slices of bacon, six pieces of toast, washed down with a full quart of orange juice, topped by three cups of coffee.

Afternoon tea: twenty-one cakes and one cup of tea.

Had the largest single dinner tab in the history of Simpson's
**, famous London roast beef house.

Rogers differed physically from contemporary epicures. While nourishment bulged the latter's stomachs, the starches, fats, and carbohydrates he consumed ran to length. He was six feet, seven inches tall, thin and wiry.

George Rogers did not come to the United States for the purpose of eating, although it was a habit picked up since he was a baby and one which could not easily be broken. He came here for tennis. While his native Ireland is thought to be the greenest country in the world, he found the United States even greener, the chlorophyll difference fashioned by the coffers of the United States Lawn Tennis Association, where expense accounts, even then, were important issues.

Newspapers immediately tagged the visitor from Erin as the "Irish Giant," and tennis writers with unfailing regularity inserted into their copy "tallest player in the world." He was.

He played a solid all-court game. His towering figure at the net presented lobbing problems. Opponents had to hit, almost high enough skyward to bring precipitation, in order to get over his outstretched arm.

His record was little short of terrific. Naturally, he was the Irish champion, a title he could have won by substituting a shillelagh for a racket. He had swept over the continent like a vacuum cleaner, winning eighteen international tournaments in successive weeks. Henri Cochet, the remarkable little Frenchman, one of the Four Musketeers, and Jack Crawford, the dependable Australian, were among his victims.

Receiving an entry blank from Perry T. Jones, Rogers journeyed to Los Angeles for competition in the Pacific Southwest Tournament at the Los Angeles Tennis Club. This tournament was treated like the Forest Hills of the West Coast. The difference lay in the fact that few, if any, foot faults were called and that during a sensational rally the appearance of a female movie star took spectator's eyes from the flight of the ball to the curves of the torso.

Jones allowed Rogers eighty dollars for round trip food expense from New York to Los Angeles. The train ride was tedious, and there was little to do but wait for the porter's announcement, "The dining car is now open." When Rogers' ears picked up this bit of interesting information, he would disappear down the aisle in a flying welter of arms and legs, hell-bent for the diner.

Upon reaching Los Angeles, the first thing the young Irishman did was call on Perry Jones. The conversation went something like this:

"Mr. Jones, my name is George Rogers. Eighty dollars round trip is insufficient expense money for my food."

Mr. Jones was unaccustomed to the direct approach on monetary matters from his players. Usually his well-framed question such as "How are you hitting them?" would derail complaints from money thoughts. Slightly stunned he countered with, "Why not? The average man could eat handsomely on that amount."

"To that I agree," returned Rogers, adding, "but I am not the average man."

"Hmmm," Jones pondered, running his eyes over the elongated Irishman.

While Jones was in such a speculative state of mind, Rogers asked him, "How tall is Bitsy Grant?"

The Atlantan was the smallest of American players ranked in the first ten. Jones knew his tennis statistics. "Five-one" he said.

"Correct," Rogers nodded, and fired another question. "Now how much food money would Bitsy Grant get if he came to this tournament by train?"

"Eighty dollars, same as you," Jones answered without hesitation.

Rogers nodded again and pulled a slip of paper containing neatly inscribed figures from his hip pocket. Consulting it he read slowly, "Grant is five-one...I am six-seven. Subtracting Grant from me, this leaves a discrepancy of 18 inches."

"But-but...." began Jones.

"So you see," interrupted Rogers, scanning the paper before him, "if little Grant would receive $80 and he's 18 inches shorter than I am, the breakdown is simple. He receives approximately $1.16 per inch. At the additional height advantage I have, or..." he paused and glanced sternly at Jones, "don't seem to have in this case, the differential in inches is equal to $20.88

"Therefore, Mr. Jones, you owe me $20.88."

Jones sighed, helpless against such irrefutable logic and reached for his checkbook. While his fingers wrote, his mind planned to invite Bitsy Grant to the next tournament and use the same figures and logic, but in reverse, on the Georgian.

Rogers drew Lester Stoefen in the first round. Stoefen, a promising junior in those days, was later to become part of a near-perfection doubles duo with George Lott.

The match, played on an outside court, drew hundreds of spectators who were not interested in the fact that the youthful Californian extended Rogers 8-6, 8-6. What attracted them were the shorts worn by the Irishman. Introduced that season by Bunny Austin, the English star, they had failed to capture the fancy of the players after all the years of traditional long white flannels. George Rogers was a progressive. He took to them immediately. They gave him running room. His extraordinarily lengthy limbs resembled hairy undulating poles as they scurried around the court.

At the conclusion of the match Rogers was summoned to Jones' office. The Western tennis major-domo was known as a stickler for conventional court dress.

"Mr. Rogers," he said, "tomorrow you meet Ellsworth Vines in a center court attraction."

"Yes, sir," said Rogers, waiting.

"I want no shorts on center court,' voiced Jones.

Rogers launched a vigorous protest, ending with "I brought only shorts."

Jones had a solution. "Hop into a taxi, buy a pair of flannels and charge them to me." Mentioning the name of the haberdasher he handed over taxi fare.

Rogers was unhappy.

As if to placate him, Jones led him outside where he pointed to the top of the stadium. Here the flags from countries of various competing foreign players blew in the breeze.

"I could locate no Irish flag," Jones said. "But in your honor, when you play tomorrow, there will be one. You have trousers made, I have a flag made. We compromised," he chuckled.

When Rogers arrived at the stadium for his match, he saw, floating from its moorings, a large green flag bearing on the surface a white harp and shamrock. The official Irish flag was blue with a golden harp in the center. He made no comment.

In the locker room, Rogers painstakingly, and not without some torture and the help of a ball boy, managed to work into his new trousers. They bound him severely in the crotch, pressed into his stomach, clutched at his bony knees. He made a test run around the dressing room, listening for ripping sounds. Hearing none, he felt reasonably safe as he went to the court.

In sports parlance when an athlete takes it easy he's "playing under wraps." Well, Rogers didn't take it easy and he was playing under trousers---choking, binding, non-resilient trousers. He was a man with two left feet in two bear traps. An exceptionally long-strider, he found it difficult to reach balls normally within reach. There was nothing he could loosen. Not even a zipper in those days.

Thirty-seven minutes later he was blasted out of the tourney, 6-1, 6-2.

Before leaving the court he stood for a long moment peering at the supposed flag of his country, a gesture translated by the crowd as patriotic and perhaps seeking forgiveness for his poor showing.

Actually, he was figuring the easiest way up the pole.

Sitting in his office the next day, speculating on the size of the gate, Perry Jones was disturbed from his reveries by an assistant who burst through the door gesticulating wildly and muttering gibberish. Jones followed him to investigate.

He saw, substituted for the Irish flag, a pair of soiled white flannels, the long legs flapping in the stiff wind.

----from Man with a Racket, Pancho Gonzales, as told to Cy Rice, c1959.

**---Curious about English dining, or lonesome for roast beef, I googled this image:Image
Last edited by Richard on Fri Sep 23, 2005 1:18 am, edited 2 times in total.
"Stop right where you are. You know the score pal. If you're not cop, you're little people." - Blade Runner 1981
Bryant, to Deckard....

The movie quote of our time.
Richard
 
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Location: Tucson, Ariz...

Postby Richard on Sat Jun 25, 2005 7:31 pm

This pair of paragraphs, from the International Tennis Hall of Fame entry on Richard A. Gonzales--"Pancho," makes me think ....wait....
Very much his own man, a loner and an acerbic competitor, Ricardo Alonso "Pancho" Gonzalez was probably as good as anyone who ever played the game, if not better. Most of his great tennis was played beyond wide public attention, on the nearly secret pro tour amid a small band of gypsies of whom he was the ticket-selling mainstay.

His rages against opponents, officials, photographers, newsmen and even spectators frequently spectacular--but they only served to intensify his own play, and didn't disturb his concentration, as fits of temper do most others. Pancho got mad and played better. "We hoped he wouldn't get upset; it just made him tougher," said Rod Laver. "Later when he got older he would get into arguments to stall for time and rest, and we had to be careful that it didn't put us off our games."


...was Mr. McEnroe inspired by Pancho? :D
"Stop right where you are. You know the score pal. If you're not cop, you're little people." - Blade Runner 1981
Bryant, to Deckard....

The movie quote of our time.
Richard
 
Posts: 528
Joined: Fri Jan 14, 2005 9:22 pm
Location: Tucson, Ariz...

Postby Richard on Sun Jun 26, 2005 2:10 pm

Today, at Wimbledon, (at least at the time of redaction...although perhaps not by the time logged as of posting--) it is quiet. Not so with the tales of Tennis a la Pancho. Not fitting to speak ill of the dead at any time, nonetheless David Hernandez' page says (fourth posting in the series--my third post:)
When asked the same question, as to whom he thought the greatest tennis player of all time was, Hoad, who became one of Gonzalez’s friends on the tour, said humorously, with no ethnic slur intended, "That Mex-y-can prick Gonzalez."
"Stop right where you are. You know the score pal. If you're not cop, you're little people." - Blade Runner 1981
Bryant, to Deckard....

The movie quote of our time.
Richard
 
Posts: 528
Joined: Fri Jan 14, 2005 9:22 pm
Location: Tucson, Ariz...

Postby Richard on Sun Jun 26, 2005 8:44 pm

Surfing Pancho Gonzales books, I came across The Tennis Bookshop's page.......(link).... , and the following conveniently confirmatory quote:
RICHARD ALONZO 'PANCHO' GONZALEZ (born 09 May 1928, died 03 July 1995) Pancho was one of the best three male players never to win the Wimbledon title. Will you agree with me I wonder? I know Joe will, if he knows what's best for him! Rosewall and Lendl are the two others in that exclusive club, at least as far as 1946 onwards is concerned. Gonzalez changed the spelling of his surname to Gonzales later in life. The five times married** Gonzales will be fondly remembered for the many exhibition matches he played in the USA and the UK, but probably most of all for the amazing 5-set first round Wimbledon match in 1969 against Charlie Pasarell. 'Pancho' won 22-24, 1-6, 16-14, 6-3, 11-9 in 5 hrs 12 mins to applause I can still hear.
114: "Man With a Racket: The Autobiography of Pancho Gonzales" as told to Cy Rice; 1st UK edition of 1959; 238 pp; HB in DW 8vo. This is the official story but only upto 1959. £15
115: "The Return of a Champion: Pancho Gonzalez' Golden Year 1964" by Dave Anderson; 1st USA edition 1973; 123 pp in dw small 8vo. Whilst this biography focuses on 1964, it is also an interesting account of his earlier life; the Wimbledon marathon with Pasarell is covered. £40
116: "Richard Pancho Gonzalez: Tennis Champion" by Doreen Gonzales; 1st USA edition of 1998; 128 pp in Pic Bds (8vo). This is my first copy of this rather engaging biography. £30

**--six times, allegedly, twice to actressMadelyn Darrow.
"Stop right where you are. You know the score pal. If you're not cop, you're little people." - Blade Runner 1981
Bryant, to Deckard....

The movie quote of our time.
Richard
 
Posts: 528
Joined: Fri Jan 14, 2005 9:22 pm
Location: Tucson, Ariz...

Postby Richard on Mon Jun 27, 2005 8:16 pm

In Catholicism, (the denomination Pancho might have been presumed to have been raised in...) the date of a Saint's celebration is the date of their deliverance from this earth...this travail.

When I met him, he hadn't yet married Rita (Agassi.) She was the last of his wives and the last to deliver him a son: Skylar. (Named after the cartoon character in "Shoe."--(link to today's cartoon.) (Although the McNeilly cartoon character is spelled 'Skyler.')

From his autobiography:
I am not going to elaborate on individual matches. But don't think I can't. I can separate each one in my mind and almost tell you the scores in any certain city. I can recall the highlights of each. The end of the American tour came at the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club. Tony won the final match, 1-6, 6-2, 11-9.

I won the tour, 75 to 27.

Given a chance, I'd like to have shellacked him 102 to 0. Each one of the twenty-seven losses cut into me deeply. After suffering defeat, I'd either go to a bar and slowly sip a vodka or sit alone at a movie. I have a hell of a time taking defeat lightly. Some guys can brush it off like a fly. I can't.
---Talking about the year on the Pro Tour, 1995 year, with Tony Trabert the individual mentioned.^^^

Lastly, although IMDB.com's page lists him with five marriages and seven children, the following essay (see link)...mentions eight children and six marriages. I suspect from prior research that Dan Gonzales of Littleton, Colo., a tennis coach at Littleton High School, is one of those elder children.
Last edited by Richard on Mon Sep 18, 2006 4:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Richard on Tue Jun 28, 2005 12:19 pm

A quick post today.--Although I can claim no great pull with tennis pros of any era, I'll see what I can do towards getting some of Pancho's contemporaries posting recollections.

His date of death falls on the date of the final at Wimbledon this year. (--and I understand that he died when the tournament was going on...roughly ten years ago.)
"Stop right where you are. You know the score pal. If you're not cop, you're little people." - Blade Runner 1981
Bryant, to Deckard....

The movie quote of our time.
Richard
 
Posts: 528
Joined: Fri Jan 14, 2005 9:22 pm
Location: Tucson, Ariz...

Postby Conrad on Wed Jun 29, 2005 2:40 pm

Richard, that's okay. I think I've seen enough.
Dieu et mon droit
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Postby Richard on Thu Jun 30, 2005 2:23 pm

Conrad wrote:Richard, that's okay. I think I've seen enough.

Maybe for you...then again, up 'til now, you haven't posted on this thread.

Got any Pancho stories?
"Stop right where you are. You know the score pal. If you're not cop, you're little people." - Blade Runner 1981
Bryant, to Deckard....

The movie quote of our time.
Richard
 
Posts: 528
Joined: Fri Jan 14, 2005 9:22 pm
Location: Tucson, Ariz...

Postby Conrad on Thu Jun 30, 2005 2:28 pm

[quote="Richard"]Maybe for you...then again, up 'til now, you haven't posted on this thread.

Are you kidding me? I'm the only one who has posted on this topic. It's not exactly stimulating conversation over here, ok?
Dieu et mon droit
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Postby Richard on Thu Jun 30, 2005 2:33 pm

Conrad wrote:
Richard wrote:Maybe for you...then again, up 'til now, you haven't posted on this thread.

Are you kidding me? I'm the only one who has posted on this topic. It's not exactly stimulating conversation over here, ok?

One post??...to say you've had enough?? Not much of a contribution!
"Stop right where you are. You know the score pal. If you're not cop, you're little people." - Blade Runner 1981
Bryant, to Deckard....

The movie quote of our time.
Richard
 
Posts: 528
Joined: Fri Jan 14, 2005 9:22 pm
Location: Tucson, Ariz...

Postby Conrad on Thu Jun 30, 2005 2:36 pm

Richard wrote:One post??...to say you've had enough?? Not much of a contribution!


Don't worry. I won't be back.
Dieu et mon droit
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