Jack Tuero (July 3, 1926 –October 27, 2004)
Jack Tuero was the son of Oscar and Rosa Meredith Tuero. His father was born in Havana, Cuba, and became a professional baseball player in the United States. In 1913, at the age of 14, he played for the AA Jersey City team. He made his debut in the major leagues in 1918 playing three years with the St. Louis Cardinal as a pitcher. He continued playing with a number of minor league teams until 1941, totaling a 25- year career. He was inducted into the Cuban Hall of Fame in 2004.
Jack started playing tennis at the age of 14 while attending Fortier High School in New Orleans, Louisiana. One of his earliest tennis coaches was Jimmy Bateman. Coach Bateman taught tennis to a number of local young players.
In his acceptance speech for induction into the New England Tennis Hall of Fame in 2012, Dr. Paul Young, a Baton Rouge native, said, “at age eleven, I was fortunate to have an outstanding beginner coach, Jimmy Bateman. Among many others he coached included Frank Parker, Jack Tuero, Richard Mouledon, and Ham Richardson. All these players had great backhands. My backhand has always been my best shot.”
Alan Bartlett of New Orleans was a teammate at Tulane with Tuero ( with
Billy Conery, Richard Mouledous, Leslie Longshore, Harcourt Waters, and Wade Herrin.) He recalls Bateman renting an apartment across from the New Orleans Lawn Tennis Club which was located at 4025 South Saratoga Street. He taught tennis at the club. Alan remembers him as a quiet, low-key person devoted to teaching tennis. It is believed that Bateman first saw Tuero play tennis on the public courts in Memphis.
Jack Tuero’s tennis successes began at an early age:
In 1940 he was the Boy’s 15’s Southern Champion and National 15’s and Under Runner-up.
In 1941 he was National boy’s 18 and Under Finalist .
In 1943 he was Southern Singles Champion. He would again win this same title in 1948.
At the age of 17, Jack played in the 1943 U.S. National Championship Men’s Singles. He defeated Gene Garrett (UCLA) 3-6,6-4,6-4 in the second round, losing to Jack Kramer 1-6, 2-6, 4-6 in the quarterfinals.
Other players who reached the quarters were Pancho Segura, Seymour Greenberg, Frank Parker, Joseph Hunt, Bill Talbert, and Elwood Cooke.
In 1943, at the age of 17, he was among in the Top 10 U.S. Men’s Rankings:
- Joseph Hunt, 2. Jack Kramer, 3. Francis Segura, 4. William F. Talbert, 5. Seymour Greenberg, 6. Sidney B. Wood, Jr. 7. Robert Falkenberg, 8. Frank A. Parker, 9. James Brink, 10. Jack Tuero.
He played on the U.S Junior Davis Cup team.
1943 and 1948 he was Southern Men’s Champion
In 1945 he was National men’s doubles runner-up with Bob Falkenberg at Forest Hills to Gardnar Mulloy and Bill Tilden. 12-10, 8-10, 12-10, 6-2.
He spent two years in the Navy.
Attended Tulane University under Coach Emmett Pare’. While at Tulane he won 59 of 60 SEC Conference matches and lost only two more in his college career.
In 1949 he won National Intercollegiate Championship in a dramatic 1-6,0-6,6-4,9-7,6-0 comeback against Sam Match of San Francisco State College.
He was S.E.C. Single’s #1 Champion in 1947,1949 and 1950.
He was S.E.C. Doubles #1 Champion in 1947 with Gleann Gardner; and in 1948, ’49, ’50 with Dick Mouledous #1.
Tulane was S.E.C. Team Champion in 1939, ’41,’42,’47-’49,’51-’59, ’62-’64.
The following is from the 1949 Jambalaya yearbook, text from page 157:
“The S.E.C. again was dominated by Tulane’s greenies who came through with Jack Tuero S.E.C. “A” class championship and Billy Connery S.E.C. “B” class championship. Dick Mouledous, number two on the team, joined with Tuero to win the S.E.C. doubles championship for the second straight year.
The N.C.A.A. found Tuero seeded eighth, without a chance to win but recognized as likely to reach the semi-finals. When the heat was on and the racquets were down, however, Jack Tuero became the National Intercollegiate Tennis Champion for the year 1949.”
The following is from the 1950 Jambalaya yearbook, text form page 216:
“Tennis at Coach Emmett Pare’s netmen again piled up another impressive string of victories this year, but a change in the rules for the S.E.C. meet prevented the Greenies from taking the championship. Playing brilliantly all season long was number one man Jack Tuero. He won the National Collegiate Athletic Association Championship last year on the heat-drenched courts of the University of Texas. In 1950 he won the grand total of twelve matches without a defeat. In four years of college play he has lost only three matches. In 1950 saw the curley-haired fellow take the S.E.C. singles title for the third time. Teuro and Dick Mouledous, a former national boy’s singles champion and junior
Davis Cup winner, combined forces to take the number one doubles match.”
As reported in the Times Daily on June 11, 1949 New Orleans (UP)
Smartly-angled placement shots spelled victory for Tulane’s Jack Tuero as he beat Buddy Behrens of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., in the Blue-Gray finals.
Tuero, SEC singles king, won by a score of 6-1, 3-6, 6-3. His steady play as he started yesterday proved too much for the Floridian.
The finals were transferred to New Orleans Lawn Tennis Club after rains hampered play at Montgomery, Alabama.
Tuero won the Blue Gray again in 1951. He defeated Tony Trabert in the finals 9-7, 9-7, 0-6, 5-7, 6-1.
Jack Tuero Wins Southern Tennis Championship
As reported in the The News and Courier, Charleston S.C. Monday morning June 14, 1948. Memphis, Tenn.
Top-seeded Jack Tuero, dark-haired Tulane University ace, recovered from a slow start to capture the Southern Tennis Championship, defeating Gardner Larned, of Chicago, in five hard-fought sets. Tuero won 5-7, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2.
Lerned showed championship form in taking the third set holding the lead except for one-all and two-all games. Learned was so upset when Tuero captured a love game that be banged the ball in disgust, the pellet traveling through a hole in the net, striking a woman spectator in the back.
Tuero recovered after a 10 -minute intermission to win the next two sets 6-3, 6-2, the contest bitterly fought despite the 12 to 5 game score. In these two winning sets Tuero was in top form, the best display in the six-day tourney.
Tuero previously was eliminated in the doubles event. Larned, however, with his partner Herbert (Buddy) Behrens, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Won the men’s doubles championship upsetting top-seated Bryan (Bitsy) Grant and Jack Teagle, of Atlanta, 6-3, 6-1, 6-4.
Brooklyn Eagle, Saturday July 19, 1952
Pottersville, NY July 19, 1952
Jack Tuero, Roslyn Long Island, top-seeded in the seventh annual Schroon Crest Invitational here, advanced to the semifinals yesterday defeating Richard Fine, Brooklyn 6-4, 9-7.
Fine, Department of Parks champion and ranked 24th in the East, played some of the best tennis of his career.
Tuero had not played any tennis since losing to Billy Talbert, U.S. Davis Cup Captain in the New York State Finals two weeks ago.
Ronnie Fenasci, who was inducted into the Louisiana Tennis Hall of Fame in 2003, recently shared this story with me. In 1965, Bocage Tennis Center in Baton Rouge hosted its first Seniors (35+) Tournament. Jack Tuero, who was 43 at that time, met the 35 year old Fenasci in the finals of the tournament. Ronnie recalls the final score was 6-3, 6-3, Turero.
Jack Tuero was inducted into the Louisiana Tennis Hall of Fame in 1985, along with his neice, Linda Tuero, and Coach Emmett Pare’.
Along with his many tennis accomplishments, the following is a portion of his obituary in the Times Picayune, dated 11-7-2004:
The thing that made Jack a genuine champion was his magnificent heart, his genuine joy, his laughter, sense of humor, his boundless generosity, and most of all his unfailing love. He loved and was loved and will be in our hearts forever.