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Players and Coaches

Garcia had big aspirations in the tennis industry and sponsored a few players and coaches before their financial issues and subsequent sale to Rossignol.

The most famous being Harold Solomon who achieve a career high ranking of #5 in the world. Winning 22 titles, making the final of the French Open in 1976 to Adriano Panatta.

Other players who had contracts with Garcia includes Jose Luis Clerc, Niki Pilic and John Newcombe. Garcia also sponsored the world famous coach Harry Hopman (Garcia Aluminum) and you can see pictures of Andre Agassi using the Pro 240 as a young child.

The History of Cragin - Walter Montenegro

Cragin-Simplex was established in 1914 and owned by Mr. Calhoun Cragin. The Company specialized in tennis equipment and had offices at 53 park Place, New York City.

Between 1914 and 1939, a metal press for tennis rackets in the form of an X had been contracted for, from a company by the name Simplex Mfg. Co. and by mutual agreement Calhoun Cragin added the Simplex name to Cragin and registered the Company as Cragin-Simplex. He also used the press as part of the Simplex name, so that the X at the end of Simplex name was the picture of the metal press.

Cragin-Simplex was purchased in 1937 by Mr. Frank Saladino of Saladino & Sons of Chelsea, Mass, Saladino & Sons was a company that made tennis strings out of silk and nylon and he entrusted Cragiin-Simplex to a few employees who did well at managing it at the beginning, so that Saladino did not have to shuttle back and forth from Massachusetts to New York too often. The tennis business in general was slow and Cragin-Simplex started to slide a bit to the extent that Saladino eventually chose to sell it. Walter Montenegro, had been doing business with Saladino and they became friends, he bought Cragin-Simplex on March 4, 1939.

It was no easy task to run a company that was small and literally dead, in the face of formidable, competition, such as Spalding’s, Wilson’s, McGregor’s etc. to name just three. Through a strong and persistent desire to apply a formula that Montenegro always had much faith in, Cragin-Simplex began to improve and eventually became an important member of the tennis community of tennis suppliers. The formula? Giving value, service and quality.

With the team he had including son Bob as the Vice President and loyal employees, the future of Cragin Simplex seemed assured. They were making rackets, which were fairly well accepted and made some inroads in the world of tennis and squash racquets, especially under private label with a good portion of them going to Professionals.

Cragin merges with Garcia

With the growth of Cragin-Simplex, one particular company, took notice and invited to merge our business with theirs. This was the Garcia Corporation. A very large fishing tackle company, which has made a fine reputation through its Mitchell fishing reel among other things.

With much persuasive discussion on how much Cragin-Simplex would gain together with Garcia they merged in 1972. Sadly with extensive comeptiton on the fishing side from Japanese competition not long after the Garcia Corporation filed for protection from the bankruptcy Law, from which it could not recuperate.

Racket Models & Dates of Manufacture

PRO 240 Versions

The Pro 240 was the flagship frame extending from the orginal Cragin brand all the way through to the Rossignol Strato after Garcia was sold to the French racquet manufacturer.

PRO V Frames 

A standard finish used from Cragin all the way through into the Garcia frames was the V finish. This was a common design used by a number of manufacturers at the time.

Full Face Finish Frames

Garcia made a large number of frames and although striking in design over time some of the thinner frames were prone to warping.

Continental Series 

Made in Italy these are considered one of the most beautiful wooden frames ever made with an emphasis on wood grain and high gloss finishes.

Metal and Graphite Frames 

The Pro 240 was the flagship frame extending from the orginal Cragin brand all the way through to the Rossignol Strato after Garcia was sold to the French racquet manufacturer.

Logos & Branding 

As the brand has seen many transitions, so logos have evolved and developed starting with the Cragin Calhoun to Craigin Simplex through Cragin Garcia and finally Garcia as a stand alone brand.

Press and Marketing 

With the very first issue of World Tennis Magazine came a Cragin Advert on the back cover. Since then there Cragin and then Garcia were regular full page advertisers in US tennis magazines, through the 1970s.

The Wish List 

Although nearly complete there are some frames that have elluded us to this poins\t so here are images of the frames we are still on the hunt for. Please let us know if you have any of these you would be willing to sell at mail@evolve9.com Thanks

As at Dec 1st 2021

  • Garcia Carbon (White version and Silver Version)
  • Grand Prix Niki Pilic
  • Colt
  • Lady Hallmark and Hallmark
  • Cragin C-20 and C-11
  • Cragin Pro 60 and Cragin Pro 80
  • Garcia Pro 490 and Pro 375
  • MG 2 Magnesium

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