Mike de la Pena
Inducted as a Player in 2006
by Jay Capell
Mike De La Pena was a part of the history, lore, and legends of the Golden Gate Park Courts. Playing against the greats during the depression era, his game was honed by the likes of Al Banuet, Jeff Capell, Bob McGuire, and a
host of other great “park players.”
After joining the Olympic Club as a teenager, he developed into an exceptional singles and doubles player. He won numerous Olympic Club singles championships against competition of national caliber. The Olympic Club, at that time, had multiple national champions competing in their in-house events. His primary partner in doubles was Hall of Famer Dan Marble. Mike was the “road runner.” His great conditioning, speed, and shot selection complimented Marble’s rally ending shots. He also was a great calming influence when things weren’t going well. They competed in numerous nationals and won every Pacific Coast Open tournament.
Mike was a fixture on both the local and national scenes. In his later years, he competed in the masters division, and was a dominant force.
Although his later contributions as a handball instructor, ambassador, and election to the Hall of Fame as a contributor overshadowed his playing days, he is truly a Hall of Fame player. His long list of open singles and doubles titles attests to that.
Mike is only the fifth player in the Northern California Hall-of-Fame to be inducted as both a contributor and player.
Congratulations to the De La Pena family! This great honor is long overdue.