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Jon Kendler

Inducted as a Player in 2014

Jonathan Kendler was born in Chicago in 1963 and started his handball career early. He was a 17 and under junior national champion and a year later lost in the finals of the 19 and under to Pancho Monreal. That was followed up by a collegiate career at Lake Forest College under Mike Dau where he won singles and doubles national titles in 1984 and 1985. 

In January of 1984, he qualified for his first pro stop. From that point on, he played in 45 pro stops over the next 10 years which included the 4 wall nationals and finished in the round of 8 twelve times the semi-finals nine times and a staggering nine finals appearances, three of which were wins. He made the finals of the 4 wall national singles in 1988, 1989 and 1990 losing to Naty twice and Pancho once. At one point from late 1988 to mid 1990, he was ranked number 1 in the country over Naty Alvarado. 

Singles was not the only part of his game that he excelled in. In 1986, he won the 4 wall national doubles title in Houston over Christian and Connors and followed it up in 1987 in Baltimore with his second 4 wall doubles title. From 1983 to 1989 he was in five 3 wall national finals in singles and doubles and in 1988 was 3 wall national champion in singles, beating the invincible Vince Munoz 21-5, 21-6 in the semis and John Bike in the finals. Later on in 1988, he won the open doubles with Pancho Monreal in Melbourne, Australia to become world champion.

Considering he ended his national and pro stop playing days in 1993 due to knee and hip problems, his 10 year run produced victims like John Bike, Vern Roberts, Fred Lewis, Dennis Hofflander, Pancho Monreal, John Sabo, Tati Silveria, Richard Lopez, Jaime Parades, and Danny Bell-- just to name a handful. And he beat the best player of that decade, Naty Alvarado, multiple times, and at one point was ranked number one in the country.