MAD MEN Update: Patxi Was Real!

Thats Paxti getting big air.
That's Paxti getting big air.

Apparently this blog doesn’t have a whole love of jai alai enthusiasts, because nobody wrote in about this one when I said that “Pachi” didn’t exist in my recent “Mad Men” post. From the AMC website:

At its peak, jai alai brought in one million dollars a day in bets, with top players like Paxti (aka Francisco Churruca) earning $20,000 a year. But since its principle draw was the option to gamble, the sport soon ceded ground to casinos and state lotteries. After Spanish players (pretty much the only ones participating) went on strike in 1988, jai alai’s fate was sealed. Today, Miami and Dania Beach in Florida remain the only cities with full-time open frontons in the United States. As for Patxi, he retired in 1983, stating afterwards that “I knew it was time to quit when my eyes were quicker than my legs.” An appropriate anecdote for a sport with a reality that never quite caught up to its hype.

So yeah, I was spelling his nickname wrong. (Um, even the excerpt spelled it two different ways.) And he was from the Basque region of Spain, not Mexico. Apologies to Patxi (wherever you are). My bad!

Here’s another article about him. And another.

Oh, jai alai.


2 thoughts on “MAD MEN Update: Patxi Was Real!

  1. I´m from the Basque country and the appearance of this jai alai player in Mad men really surpised me. I din´t know anything about Patxi and the fever that this sport produced in usa in those times. Jai alai and “pelota mano” are played here yet and it was created more than 100 years ago.

  2. Of course Patxi was a real player!
    Although, the picture of him shown in “Mad Men” wasn’t his.
    Patxi was born as Francisco Churruca in 1936 in Mutriku, Basque Country and nowadays he lives in Hatford, Conectticut.
    The assistant of Mathew Weiner called him asking for some assistance about The Jai Alai, for developing the chapters where they talk about Pelota.

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