Born in Mutriku (3/22/46)
Married, one son, one daughter
Pro debut - Barcelona, 1960
Durango, Markina, Gernika
American debut - Miami, 1962
Miami - 1962-1968
Daytona Beach - 1967
Mexico City - 1967
Las Vegas - 1974
Tijuana - 1974
Bridgeport - 1976-86
Retired from Orlando, 1986
1976 - Bridgeport opening season - Most wins
Miami '62-'68Bridgeport '76-'80 Bridgeport '81-'86
DYR: You were only 14 when you made your pro debut in Barcelona. Were your parents OK with your debut?
"Yes, yes, they were OK with it. Those were different years ... things were different 45 years ago."
DYR: And then, barely 16, there you were ... starting in Miami. It must have been really exciting.
"It happened so fast that I wasn't even nervous when I played in Miami. I was a man in a 16-year old's body. I always performed well in front of people ... I was very confident even when I was just 16"
DYR: Isidro, in 1968 you played in Barcelona. Why?
"Because there was a strike and I didn't want to play in the USA. I played several seasons in Barcelona."
No moustache yet.
That's more like it.
(Bridgeport Jai-Alai Official Souvenir Yearbook)
DYR: In 1976, you had a terrific season where you captured the Most Wins title in Bridgeport. Isidro, do you recall that year?
"Of course, of course ... it was the biggest triumph in my jai-alai career!! Some people didn't like that so they made sure that I paid the price ... they started placing me in middle games with bad post."
DYR: Isidro, when you say "they,"
who are you referring to?
"I'm talking about the
player's manager...Lasa !!!
I told him, you are gonna
beat me in the office
but never in the cancha."
Part of the formidable
Clockwise, from left:
DYR: Who were your toughest enemies on the court?
"All of them were tough adversaries. Bridgeport possessed a great roster."
In this famous photo,
Lekube gives Egurbi some space
(no helmets yet,
could that be why?).
DYR: How was your relationship with Txurruka?
"It was good."
DYR: How was Txurruka as a player and as a person?
"He was one of the best backcourters and as a person ... well, I keep my opinions to myself."
With cesta repairman
(former WPB pro).
DYR: Did you make good money back in those years?
"Yes, I did make decent money."
DYR: Isidro, I have to ask you a personal question. If you don't want to answer, I'll respect your wishes. Is it true that you once went from the US to Spain to watch a soccer game without telling anyone and, then, the following day, returned to the States?
"That is false ... that is not true! I had two weeks off from work and I visited my family here in Mutriku. Of course, I went to see a soccer game, but that happened while I was on vacation."
DYR: Lekube, which "remate" ("shot") was your favorite?
"I liked all of them, but my favorite shot was the costado."
DYR: Do you prefer to play partidos or quinielas?
"I liked partidos, but I also enjoyed playing quinielas."
With Ibarreche, 1981
DYR: Why have you been criticized by the fans throughout your pro career?
"I don't know ... maybe because my way of playing ... I don't know ... some gamblers, when they lose money, they tend to blame us."
DYR: The fans complained that you didn't give 100% in each performance?
"Ha,ha,ha,ha,ha ... that's their opinion, I don't agree with it."
No, Isidro ... you hit the cue ball first !!!
(with Beaskoetxea, 1985)
DYR: Have you seen Goikoetxea and Irastorza play?
"Yes, both of them are great players."
DYR: If these two players had played during the "Glory Days" in Bridgeport, would they have been in the late games?
"Yes, definitely! Goiko and Irastorza are the top of shelf."
DYR: What are the best memories that you have of your time in the States?
"Without a doubt, the birth of my son. Also, being a winner of the Most Wins title at Bridgeport."
With wife Itziar and
young #38, Ekain.
Norwalk Hour, 3/22/77
DYR: And, of course, the award you got from the great Pistón.
"Yes, that was in the early 80's. It was a Game 9 singles match at Bridgeport. We knew Pistón would be giving a trophy to the winner of that game. I told Orbegozo, I am going to beat everyone ... look at Txurruka, he thinks he's gonna win the game. I was post 1, and I aced 5 straight serves ... in the second round I won the game."
Lekube receives his award from the legendary Pistón. The photo is inscribed:
"Para Isidro, con todo aprecio ..... Estanis"
DYR: What is happening with cesta punta today?
"When I played in the USA, there was only horse racing, dogs and jai-alai. Now, you have all kind of gambling going on. It's sad, but I don't see a solution."
DYR: Do you know that Milford Jai-Alai will be demolished very soon?
"Yes, I am well informed ... I keep in touch with my family members that reside in CT and I also call Egurbi and Martija once in a while."
After another hard day at the office (i.e., practice).
Left to right: Yogi, Lekube, Elu, Echaburu
DYR: What are you doing nowadays, Isidro?
"I am the owner of a trucking business. I still have a few years to go before I retire ... if I make it (laughs)!"
DYR: If you were a kid again, would you become a professional pelotari?
"Without a doubt! I'd do it all over again if I could!"
Lekube and his friend Patxi - Mutriku, 2006
Interview date: January, 2006
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