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PostPosted: 28 Dec 2017, 08:51 
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Table Tennis History 1950s

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Richard Bergmann and Norikazu Fujii, the first professionals who played before a 40;000 crowd at Madison Square Gardens New York during intervals at Harlem Globetrotters basket ball matches . They were paid £100 each about $2,500 in today’s money.

Is it true that the ITTF and the ETTA banned both players for earning a living through the sport?

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PostPosted: 28 Dec 2017, 09:20 
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I had the pleasure of meeting both men. I got to know Norikazu Fujii quite well when he lived in Miami in the early 1970’s and ran a club named after him. His nickname was “Cannonball” Fujii as he was billed as the World’s hardest hitter. Having been on the receiving end of many of his drives I can confirm that he the ball extremely hard. I played a couple of exhibitions with him. One was at the halftime of the National Amateur Jai-Alai Championship before a crowd of more than 5,000. I spent a good amount of time teaching Nori how to drive a car and he taught me footwork. I got the better end of that deal.

Coach McAfee

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PostPosted: 28 Dec 2017, 11:46 
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CoachMcAfee wrote:
I spent a good amount of time teaching Nori how to drive a car and he taught me footwork. I got the better end of that deal. Coach McAfee

Love it! Lucky you! :up:

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PostPosted: 28 Dec 2017, 12:45 
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I was fortunate to start competing in the early 1960’s when many of the greats from the 1930’s-40’s-50’s were still active. Besides having Fujii at the Miami Club I also played many hours against Lazlo Bellak and Sandor Glanz the great Hungarian Internationals who were my friends. Lazlo would arrive into our club in Miami, raise his hands above his head and proclaim, “I am the greatest, who wants to play”. Another great player from the early days was Sol Schiff who took me under his wing and in many ways was responsible for my leaving tennis to pursue table tennis full time. Sol spent a lot of time each year in Florida and when he did, he always played doubles with me in the local tournaments. I was just a kid at the time and what a thrill it was to play with a former World Doubles Champion. All, I had to do for us to win was just get one ball on the table as Sol would quickly finish the next ball with his amazing forehand kills. Because Lazlo was so famous and lived in Miami, many of the Hard Bat Champions would come to visit him. All of us benefited so much by having this living history of our sport present at our club on a regular basis. Of course, our club had several of its own great Hard Bat players such at Marv Leff and Sam Hofner. Both had been among the very top of the US Players.

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