Joseph Platak (born c. 1909) was a leading handball player in the 1930s and 1940s. He was inducted into the United States Handball Association's Hall of Fame in 1954, the first year in which players were selected.[1]

Platak was a four-wall player who dominated the sport in the 1930s, winning nine national singles championships in the period 1935–1945. In those tournaments, he beat every opponent in just two games. He was also on two doubles championships.[1]

Platak, the son of a Lithuanian immigrant, grew up in Chicago, a hotbed of handball, and started to attend Loyola University but soon left school to support his parents. During the early part of his voluntary Naval service, he was not allowed to travel to defend his national title.[2] He played for Chicago's Lake Shore Athletic Club. Not until Naty Alvarado did any other player win as many four-wall titles in national open singles play.[1]

In 1948 he placed third in Sullivan Award voting.[3]


  1. ^ a b c "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-04-03. Retrieved 2008-09-27.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ Time magazine, May 11, 1942, "Unlucky Joe" -,9171,790470,00.html
  3. ^