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John Condon

The Olympic Club
Inducted as a Player in 2004

by Martin Judnick 1957, Edited by Geoff Capell

Last impressions are lasting impressions, but this became a disadvantage to the national runner up and multiple Pacific Coast Singles Handball Champion John Joseph Condon. John’s contributions to the sport of handball overshadowed his great playing abilities.

John was born August 28, 1884, "South of the Slot," at 733 Howard Street, San Francisco. His home was above his dad’s saloon and lunch counter, which was operated in conjunction with and adjacent to one of his father’s two handball courts. These handball courts were known as Condon’s Union Handball Court, located in the rear of the saloon.

Condon started playing handball (hardball style) when he was less than 10 years old. For the ten years he was at the Olympic Club (1905 – 1915), John was Pacific Coast Handball Singles Champion. In 1915, he played Bill "Midge" Maguire for the World Singles Championship in connection with the Panama-Pacific International Exposition at the Olympic Club. He was very reluctant to discuss the details of this crucial match, which called for four games out of seven to be won, to be played over two consecutive Sundays. The first Sunday session ended in a draw with both players winning two games. On the following Sunday, Maguire won two out of the three games played to win the World championship. Rules were not strictly observed in those days.

After losing the World’s Championships, Condon’s interest gradually dwindled until 1932 when he was appointed handball commissioner for the South End Rowing Club. John also served for twelve years as handball chairman of the Pacific Association for the AAU and vice chairman of the AAU for ten years.

Thank God for recorded history, because if John’s handball records were not recorded by legendary Hall of Fame handball contributor Martin Judnick, his accomplishments might have been forgotten forever.