Franklin “Bud” Held- (88) Inducted into Hall of Fame

Posted On: 03/07/2016

Franklin “Bud” Held- (88) Legendary Inventor and Famous Founder of the Sport’s Longest Running Company, Ektelon, is Inducted into the 2016 Outdoor Racquetball Hall of Fame (WORHOF)

Franklin Bud Held, 88, racquetball's most famous inventor, innovator, visionary and founder of the oldest, ongoing racquetball company in existence today was selected to the prestigious, 2016 WORHOF Outdoor Racquetball Hall of Fame (HOF). Held is widely considered one of the sport’s greatest contributors. Held was voted in unanimously due to WORHOF due to “special circumstances” by the voting members and he joins Craig “Clubber” Lane and Marty Hogan in the class of 2016.

WOR Hall Of Fame selected Bud Held for his continual innovations in racquetball, his leadership, his personal sponsorship of the sport’s elite players and large prize winning tournaments, his unique patents (both racquets and stringing technology) and the formation of the longest ongoing company in racquetball today-Ektelon. Without his efforts and that of Bud Leach and Charlie Drake from Leach Sports, racquetball would have never entered the famous “golden era” of racquetball where hundreds of players vied for up to $100,000 in tournament prizes. Bud Held is a two-time world champion in  the javelin; a member of the USA Track Hall of Fame USA Track & Field and the Stanford University Hall of Fame; he is the founder of the longest running racquetball companies, Ektelon, at the time which dominated the market for years along with Leach during the famous glory days of racquetball;  Held is credited with inventing a revolutionary stringing machine that forever changed tennis and racquetball and he is credited with creating several patented and technological firsts including  racquetball’s first oversized racquet (Schmidtke XL) and the first composite hand laid fiberglass 250-G graphite.

His racquets are some of the bestselling and most storied in racquetball history (i.e. the Bud Meuhleisen, Schmitdke XL, 250-G and CBK). And thanks to his perseverance and determination, Bud was famous for attending the sport’s biggest tournaments and marking down on a sheet of paper the fact that over 60% of all players chose his companies’ racquets during the sport’s heyday. He possibly sold more racquets during his era than anyone else in history and by a wide margin. Many of the most famous sponsored players who played for Ektelon/Held during this time are in the USAR Indoor Hall of Fame, people like Lynn Adams, Dr. Bud Meuhleisen, Charlie Brumfield, Steve “Bo” Kelley, Jerry Hilecher, Jennifer Harding, Bill Schmidtke, Dave Peck and, Mike Yellen.

Franklin Bud Held's Wikipedia page reads like a “Who’s Who”-  Without his personal development and outstanding marketing effort and player/tournament sponsorship of the sports great early stars, racquetball would to this day, probably be an amateur sport without any of the early greats making the Hall of Fame. His company’s financing of some of the biggest early tournaments and his famous stable of legendary racquetball players allowed the great early pros to have a “career” in racquetball rather than just enjoying a “hobby.” His nomination was widely supported and peppered with quotes from many legends and several founding fathers of racquetball. In fact, his eventual sale of Ektelon to Browning Rifle Company was so substantial at the time that it is possible that he earned more profit in the sport than every other person and player to play the sport…combined. The sale to a large manufacturer outside of racquetball shows his impact.

Bud Held will join legends Craig Clubber Lane and Marty Hogan Saturday afternoon on July 9, 2016 at WOR Nationals Huntington Beach for the 2016 outdoor HOF induction. A very special thanks to voting hall of Fame committee—the most winning outdoor player in history— Brian Hawkes; legends Martha/Greg McDonald; founding founders Barry Wallace and Bob Wetzel; early greats Charlie Brumfield and Dr. Bud Muehleisen; doubles 1-wall/3 wall legend's and partners Robert Sostre and Freddy Ramirez; 2016 “Powerball” HOF inductee Craig Clubber Lane and finally WOR national/executive director Hank Marcus and Greg Lewerenze and Brett Elkins who chairs the WORHOFF. Held’s historically impressive resume can be viewed here