Cliff Swain was the Best All-Time Racquetball Player
by Brian Matthew
When The Rules Are Changed It Signifies Who Really Is The Best Ever
Marty Hogan invented the power game of racquetball. Today it's just called racquetball. But with the furious pace and action of present day racquetball it is difficult to imagine that before Hogan slow and sly was the way the game was played. Needle pins were used to poke small holes in the ball to slow the game down.
Marty Hogan changed all of that. His game was as athletic, strenuous and cerebral as the Hilecher and Brunfield game it was just at photon speed by comparison. So Hogan as great as he was, and he won nine out of every ten professional matches he played, his time was at the transition of eras for which he was personally responsible for creating.
Cliff Swain came up in this Hogan power game. The racquetball required of Swain to dominate as he did truly stands alone. And with the weapon of a first serve that he drilled so hard and low into those corners he was scary.
Then he started using the same hard rocket on his second serve eschewing the safe lob second serve which was the rule. Aces being just as likely on either serve something had to be done. The rules were changed: only one serve. Before, if you survived his first serve due to it being a fault the chances of a sideout increased. Then Swain started going for it on each serve. Wow. What to do. Weak returns lead to Swain rollouts. Swain aces made for short games. So all top players had to follow suit to keep up. Thus, Swain and his prolific serve created the rule change in Open and up level racquetball from two serves to one for putting the ball into play.
Think about it, Wilt Chamberlain caused the NBA to ban dunks on free-throws. He also was the reason players line up along the key during free throws. Ty Cobb was why a baseball must carry past the bag fairly.
The greatest create rule changes. Cliff Swain was the greatest racquetball player ever.