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Formal foot-fault rules developed

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The 1958 Men’s Championships saw the introduction of the formal Foot Fault Rules. The server shall throughout his delivery (moment of impact of paddle and ball) of his service: A. Not change his position by walking or running (1) The server shall not by the following movements of his feet be deemed "to change his position by walking or running" (a) Slight movements of the feet that do not materially affect the location originally taken by him (b) An unrestricted movement of one foot so long as the other foot maintains continuously its original contact with the ground. The moving foot cannot touch the baseline or touch inside the court. B. Maintain contact with the ground (platform) C. Keep both feet in such a manner so as not to touch the baseline nor touch inside the court. Source: Fessenden S. Blanchard, Platform Paddle Tennis, 1959

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National Championships

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Finalists in Men's Senior Nationals 1958, with Earle Gatchell and Walter Close, who officiated. Left to Right: Earle Gatchell, Jim Carlisle, Frank Pace, Jr., (former Secretary of War), Berk Johnson, Cliff Sutter and Walter Close. Carlisle and Johnson won in 1958, Pace and Sutter in 1959
Finalists in Men's Senior Nationals 1958, with Earle Gatchell and Walter Close, who officiated. Left to Right: Earle Gatchell, Jim Carlisle, Frank Pace, Jr., (former Secretary of War), Berk Johnson, Cliff Sutter and Walter Close. Carlisle and Johnson won in 1958, Pace and Sutter in 1959

APTA President Carlisle and Johnson repeated in the 45+ and Carlisle also captured the Men’s with partner Hebard when they made a great comeback after being two sets down against the previous year's winners. Elfie Carroll and Louise Ganzenmueller, the previous year's finalists, captured their third title. From 1950-1960 they won three and were finalists four times. Source: Fessenden S. Blanchard, Platform Paddle Tennis, 1959

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Walter H. Close, Jr. elected APTA President (1959-1961)

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Water H. Close
Water H. Close

Close served as APTA Tournament Chairman from 1958-1959, after which he served as association President from 1960-1961. These were busy and successful years for the game and, during his regime, the APTA membership increased from 24 to 38 membership clubs. Close received the APTA Honor Award in 1967

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Fox Meadow takes over Jambles

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Blanchard considered the Scrambles event championed by Ken Ward to be “one of the greatest steps forward in the history of platform tennis.” The Scrambles was a men’s event and was followed by Jamborees, a mixed event that Oz Moore was active in fathering. In 1959, the APTA turned over all responsibility for the Jambles to Fox Meadow, where a Scrambles event had been run very successfully for a number of years. Fox Meadow also had enough courts to handle the number of teams signing up.

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National Championships

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1959 Men’s Nationals: Jim Gordon and Bill Cooper (champions) with Jim Carlisle and Dick Hebard (1959 finalists, but champions in 1955 and 1958). Also pictured are Walter Close, tournament chair from Fox Meadow Tennis Club, and umpire Jack Whitbeck. Close was APTA President at the time
1959 Men’s Nationals: Jim Gordon and Bill Cooper (champions) with Jim Carlisle and Dick Hebard (1959 finalists, but champions in 1955 and 1958). Also pictured are Walter Close, tournament chair from Fox Meadow Tennis Club, and umpire Jack Whitbeck. Close was APTA President at the time

This was the largest Nationals since its inception. Fifty-one teams played in the mixed doubles at the Wee Burn Club in Darien, Connecticut. Thirty-one teams fought it out in the national senior men's doubles, and there were 43 teams in the women's doubles, both held at the Fox Meadow Tennis Club of Scarsdale, New York. The men's doubles draw, also at Fox Meadow, was the highlight, with 77 teams from 35 clubs from Massachusetts to Virginia entered. It was run by a committee under the able chairmanship of Walter H. Close, the APTA President. With the aid of four Manursing Island courts, 154 players were taken care of in two days. The Women’s event was won by the mother-daughter team of Madeline Beck and Susan Beck Wasch. Source: Adapted from Fessenden S. Blanchard, Platform Paddle Tennis, 1959 “In 1959, also, was played one of the best matches of men's doubles ever seen i[...]

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James P. Gordon – Men’s Champion and almost Nobel Laureate

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James Power Gordon was born in Brooklyn, NY, on March 20, 1928, and was raised in Forest Hills and Scarsdale, NY He attended Scarsdale High School and Phillips Exeter Academy (Class of 1945). In 1949 he received a bachelor’s degree from MIT and joined the physics Department of Columbia University as a graduate student. He received his Masters and PhD degrees in physics in 1951 and 1955, respectively. In the framework of his doctoral research he designed, built and demonstrated the successful operation of the first maser (microwave amplification by stimulated emission of radiation) together with H. Zeiger and with his doctoral advisor Prof. Charles H. Townes. There was considerable skepticism about whether the device would work and some of his colleagues said maser really stood for money acquisition scheme for expensive research. Gordon however was a believer and had a bet of a b[...]

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APTA grows to 34 member clubs

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At the October 7, 1958 meeting of the APTA, President Carlisle reported a membership of 34 clubs and 5 individuals. Source: Fessenden S. Blanchard, Platform Paddle Tennis, 1959

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The New York Times and Reporter Dispatch cover Nationals

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Two New Champions in Wall-to Wall Tennis. New York Times, March 1959
Two New Champions in Wall-to Wall Tennis. New York Times, March 1959

The Reporter-Dispatch of White Plains, New York, was one of the leaders among the local Scarsdale papers in giving interesting, illustrated accounts of platform tennis. The March 9th edition of “One of Saturday's features,” speaking of the Men’s Nationals , commented on the play of Earle Gatchell of Fox Meadow and Ken Ward of Manursing Island Club, who admitted to a combined age of 128 years. “They beat two younger men from Massachusetts in the first round in straight sets before bowing out. Gatchell helped construct the world's first platform tennis court three decades ago. I might add that the older team taught the youngsters something about the strategy and tactics of the game. When Earle came to report the results, he said, 'There has been a dreadful mistake. I know it wasn't supposed to happen, but we won.' Platform tennis covers a wide span of years." Source: Adapted [...]

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Death of James K. Cogswell, Jr. (1893 – 1959)

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James K. Cogswell Jr. (1893-1959)
James K. Cogswell Jr. (1893-1959)

Jimmy Cogswell was a co-founder of the game and served as President of FMTC in 1939. He was among the first group of individuals inducted into the Platform Tennis Hall of Fame in 1965. Upon retirement, Jimmy moved back to his boyhood roots in Maine and settled in Kittery, where he proceeded to build a retirement home and accompanying barn. He used the latter to pursue his hobbies that had expanded to include building a dinghy. He acquired a classic Down East open lobster boat and embarked on a retirement career as an avid amateur lobster fisherman. He died suddenly one morning in 1959 while attending to his lobster pots and was buried at the First Congregational Church in Kittery Point, ME. Blanchard’s second book on the game, Platform Paddle Tennis, which was published that year, was dedicated to his memory.

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Platform Paddle Tennis by Fessenden S. Blanchard published

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This was Blanchard's second book on the game. His first book Paddle Tennis had been published in 1944. Blanchard was a prolific writer and wrote many articles about paddle and published a number cruising guide books on his other passion, sailing.

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