2012 Grand Masters Honor Roll

Three new members to the U.S. SQUASH Grand Masters Honor Roll were recognized at national championships this spring: Charlie Baker, John Bennett and Tony Crociata. (Baker and Crociata were honored at the Saturday night dinner of the U.S. Century Squash Doubles Championships on February 25th in New York; Bennett was recognized at the Saturday night reception at the U.S. Masters championships on March 10th).

The honor, started in 2010, recognizes accomplishments in, and contributions to, the game of squash at the national level. Honorees have demonstrated unbounded enthusiasm, competitive spirit, and great skill throughout their long playing careers. Now in their seventies and eighties, they have exemplified the ideal qualities of sportsmanship, on-court success, and off-court leadership contributions, setting the standard for a life and lifetime in squash.

2012 Grand Master Honor Roll Inductees John H. Bennett, (L-R, below) Anthony Crociata and Charles P. Baker.
2012 Grand Master Honor Roll Inductees John H. Bennett, (L-R, below) Anthony Crociata and Charles P. Baker.

Charles P. Baker
Charlie Baker has chaired the U.S. Hardball Singles Championships for the past fifteen years, helping sustain and develop the world’s oldest squash tournament through the difficult days of America’s transition to softball. He has won several national championships himself, including two in the 80+ division of the U.S. Hardball Championships.

Aside from his contributions on and off the court, Baker, a graduate of Haverford School and West Point Military Academy, leads a very special organization. In 1980, he and his wife Louise started a company after failing to find an appropriate working environment for their epileptic, learning-disabled son. Workers for Baker Industries come from four groups of vulnerable adults: those with physical or emotional disabilities; those recovering from substance abuse; individuals on parole or probation; and the homeless. Today, two hundred employees work for the nonprofit, and Baker has received twenty-three awards over the last three decades, ranging from the American Legion’s 2007 Employer of the Year to, along with his wife, Main Line Today’s 2006 Man & Woman of the Year.

John H. Bennett
John has been an active contributor in the game for nearly half a century. As a player he has been the state champion in Utah, Colorado and California and won district association championships in the Intermountain and Pacific Coast SRAs. He won the 55+ draw at the inaugural softball nationals. Including hardball, softball, and doubles, he has played in over sixty national championships.

Screen Shot 2014-11-12 at 4.34.26 PMAs a promoter of the game, John has served as president of the Utah Squash Association. In that role, he led the effort to build an exhibition court at the Deseret Gymnasium with seating for one hundred and fifty spectators, allowing the club to bring the North American Open to Salt Lake City in 1980.

When Deseret Gymnasium closed, John started the Chancellor Racquets Club with two converted racquetball courts and operated it for nine years until 1999, when he opened Squashworks in downtown Salt Lake City. Squashworks is a squash-only facility with six softball courts that has hosted a dozen professional tournaments.

Anthony Crociata
Tony started playing squash in Detroit in his late twenties at the Downtown Athletic Club and then later at the Uptown Club where the local pro was Hashim Khan. Demonstrating his passion for squash, he later bought the DAC and worked with Hashim to bring his son Sharif Khan to the United States to become the head pro there.

Tony won the Detroit city championships six times, and was a finalist eleven other times. He won the national 55+ hard- ball singles in 1986. In Chicago he won the Illinois State Doubles Open three times and he won the Canadian 50+ national doubles in 1984. Residing in Longwood, Florida, he now plays out of RDV Sportsplex.