TLW's Bowling Historyscope
By T.L. Winslow (TLW), the Historyscoper™
© Copyright by T.L. Winslow. All Rights Reserved.
Original Pub. Date: Oct. 8, 2015. Last Update: Dec. 20, 2019.
Westerners are not only known as history ignoramuses, but double dumbass history ignoramuses when it comes to Bowling history. Since I'm the one-and-only Historyscoper (tm), let me quickly bring you up to speed before you dive into my Master Historyscope.
The sport of rolling a ball towards a target takes many modern forms, incl. 10-Pin (Big Ball) Bowling, 9-Pin Bowling, 5-Pin Bowling, Bocce, Boules, Bowls, Candlepin Bowling, Carpet Bowls, Duckpin Bowling, Kegel, Petanque (Pétanque), and Skittles. This historyscope will concentrate on 10-pin bowling, which allows people of any build within reason to become stars, making it a sport enjoyed by 100M in 90+ countries (incl. 70M in the U.S.), not counting video games. The holy grail of a perfect 300 game in standard 10-pin bowling has been achieved by bowlers as young as 9 and as old as 75.
In 3200 B.C. a child's grave in Egypt contains objects used for a crude form of bowling, as discovered in 1930 by Sir William Matthew Flanders Petrie (1853-1942).
About 400 C.E. bowling begins in Germany, according to German historian William Pehle, not as a recreation but as a way to vindicate oneself from sin by trying to knock down a club (kegel) with a rock, with the kegel representing the heathen (heide), causing bowlers to be called keglers.
In 1299 the earliest known bowling green to survive to modern times is the Master's Close (now the Old Bowling Green) in Southampton, England.
In 1325 a law is passed in Berlin and Cologne, Germany limiting gambling on bowling to five shillings.
In 1366 the first official mention of bowling in England is made when English king (1327-77) Edward III (1312-77) outlaws bowling as a distraction to archery practice.
In the 15th-17th cents. lawn bowling spreads from Germany into Austria, Switzerland, and the Low Countries, with playing surfaces made of cinders or baked clay; later they are roofed-over and called kegelbahns, often attached to taverns and guest houses.
In 1455 lawn bowling lanes in London, England are first roofed-over, turning bowling into an all-weather game.
In 1463 a feast for the citizenry of Frankfurt, Germany features a venison dinner followed by lawn bowling.
In 1511 bowling-loving English king (1509-47) Henry VIII (1491-1547) bans bowling for the lower classes, and insures that only the wealthy can play by levying a £100 fee on private bowling greens; in 1541 another English law prohibits workers from bowling except on Christmas, and only in their master's home and in his presence; in 1530 he acquires Whitehall Palace (formerly York Place) in C London from ex-cardinal Thomas Wolsey, and orders it rebuilt, with a bowling green, indoor tennis court, cock fighting pit, and jousting tiltyard, spending over £30,000 by the 1540s.
In 1518 the winner of a bowling competition in Breslau, Germany (modern-day Wroclaw, Poland) is awarded an ox.
In the early 1520s Protestant Reformation founder Martin Luther (183-1546) becomes a fan of lawn bowling, setting the number of pins (heretofore 3-17) at nine, arranged in a 3x3 square, and building a bowling lane for his children beside his home, sometimes throwing the first ball.
On July 19, 1588 English vice-adm. Sir Francis Drake (1540-96) is allegedly playing bowls on Plymouth Hoe, and on hearing of the sighting of the Spanish Armada utters the immortal soundbyte: "We have time enough to finish the game and beat the Spaniards too."
In 1609 English explorer (for the Dutch East India Co.) Henry Hudson (-1611) explored the the Grand Banks of Newfoundland, Cape Cod, Chesapeake Bay, Delaware Bay, and the Hudson River before his men mutinied and cast him adrift, beginning Dutch colonization; Hudson's men bring some form of lawn bowling with them.
In 1617 English king (1603-25) James I (1566-1625) pub. The Book (Declaration) of Sports, which lists sports permitted on Sundays incl. bull-baiting, bear-baiting, and bowling, and permits archery and dancing, but only after attending an Anglican service; orders it read in all English churches to encourage healthy enjoyment of fun and games on Sunday, outraging Puritans;on Oct. 18, 1633 his successor king (1625-49) Charles I (1600-49) reissues it as "The King Majesty's Declaration to His Subjects Concerning Lawful Sports Used", adding wakes and countryside festivals (ale) to the permitted list; too bad, the rise of the Puritans causes Parliament to order the book publicly burned in 1643 before beheading Charles I in 1649 - so that's why they call Sunday football heroes jocks?
About 1670 Dutchmen like to bowl at the Old King’s Arms Tavern near modern-day 2nd and Broadway in New York City.
In 1733 the govt. of New York City authorizes the old Dutch parade ground at the S end of Broadway adjoining Ft. Amsterdam E of Battery Park to be established as a "bowling green... for the recreation and delight of the inhabitants of the city", known as Bowling Green, where ninepins (bowling) is played for the first time in New York City?; it becomes the center of the exclusive residential district and the oldest public park in New York City to survive to modern times; in 1989 it becomes host to the Charging Bull bronze sculpture by Arturo Di Modica (1960-), and is used as the starting point for ticker tape parades into the "Canyon of Heroes" (Broadway).
On June 23, 1819 New York City-born Washington Irving (1783-1859) pub. The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent., which incl. Rip Van Winkle, which contains the first mention of the game of ninepins in Am. lit.; "It's been 20 years since he went away with his gun."
In 1832 after reaching one-third of the pop. of the Am. colonies by 1750, then accelerating in 1830, there are 10K+ German immigrants in the U.S., with immigration accelerating after the failed 1848 Revs., reaching 200K by 1854, and 5M by 1900, bringing German culture with them, incl. love of beer, sauerkraut, bowling, the tuba, the Christmas tree, Santa Claus, and the Easter Bunny, along with a tradition of organized recreation on Sundays, which was forbidden by the Puritans, going on to found the first kindergarten and introduce physical and vocational education along with gymnasiums into public schools; in the late 19th cent. mass German immigration into New York City makes it the hub of bowling in the U.S.
On Jan. 1, 1840 Knickerbocker Alleys in New York City opens, becoming the first indoor bowling alley, where the first recorded 10-pin bowling match is played; the lanes are made of baked clay; meanwhile in this decade the game of Skittles (Ninepins) reaches its peak of popularity in the U.S. - beer and skittles?
In 1841 Conn. bans ninepin bowling because of betting, causing 10-pin bowling to be created to get around the law.
In 1846 Henry Chandler Bowen (1813-96) of Woodstock, Conn. builds Roseland Cottage which containing the oldest bowling lanes in the U.S. to survive to modern times; it becomes a museum in 1968.
In 1848 the Scottish Bowling Assoc. is founded in Scotland by 200 lawn bowling clubs; after it goes defunct, it is refounded in 1892.
In 1850 there are 400 bowling alleys in New York City.
In 1864 Scottish cotton merchant William Wallace Mitchell (1803-84) of Glasgow pub. Manual of Bowls Playing, which becomes a std. work for lawn bowling.
In 1875 the Nat. Bowling Assoc. (NBA) is founded in New York City by 27 local bowling clubs, with "Father of Bowling" Thomas Curtis, later (1888) mgr. of the Elephant Club in Bedford, Brooklyn writing the first bowling rules, establishing the distance between the foul line and the pins at 60 ft., regulating ball size, etc., but failing to agree on other rules; it is superseded in 1895 by the Am. Bowling Congress (ABC).
In 1880 Candlepin Bowling is invented in Worcester, Mass. by Justin White; the balls are only 4.5" in diam., weighing the same as one candlepin, with no finger holes, and the 40 cm. (15-3/4 ") tall 76 mm (3") diam. pins are not cleared between throws, making scoring more difficult; the highest official score is 245 out of 300 in 1984 by Ralph Semb.
In the 1880s billiards table manufacturer Brunswick Corp. of Chicago, Ill. (founded 1845) expands into bowling balls, pins, and wooden lanes to sell to taverns installing bowling alleys, opening a large plant in Muskegon, Mich. in 1906 to manufacture their hot new Mineralite bowling ball; it leaves the bowling business in 2014.
In Oct. 1881 the first women's lawn bowling match is held in Australia in Stawell, Victoria; the Rainsford Bowls Club, the first women's bowling club is founded on Dec. 16, 1898 in Glenferrie, Victoria; in Sept. 1907 the 6-club Victorian Ladies' Bowling Assoc. is founded in Melbourne, Victoria, becoming the world's first women's bowling assoc.
In 1889 wealthy Stettin, Prussia-born Jewish cigar manufacturer Oscar Hammerstein I (184-1919) builds his first theater, the Harlem Opera House at 211 West 125th St. in Harlem, Manhattan, N.Y., becoming the first theater in Manhattan, followed in 1890 by Columbus Theatre on 125th St., in 1893 by the Manhattan Opera House on 34th St., and on Nov. 25, 1895 by the Olympia Theatre at 1514-16 Broadway in Longacre (later Times) Square, which debuts his comic opera Santa Maria before failing, followed in 1899 by the Victoria Theatre at 42nd Street and Seventh Ave., which goes vaudeville in 1904 under the mgt. of his son William "Willie" Hammerstein (1875-1914) (father of Oscar Hammerstein II) before failing in 1915, along with the Paradise Roof Garden atop the Victoria Theatre and Theatre Republic; he follows on Sept. 27, 1900 with the Theatre Republic at 209 West 42nd Street (between 7th and 8th Aves.), which he leases in 1902 to producer David Belasco, who renames it the Belasco Theatre, then changes it in 1910 to the Republic Theater; in 1931 Bill Minsky acquires it and turns it into Minsky's Burlesque, featuring stripper Gypsy Rse Lee; in 1942 it becomes the Victory Movie Theater; in 1972 it becomes the first 42nd St. theater to show XXX porno films; in 1990 New 42nd Street Inc., owned by New York City and the state of N.Y. for redevelopment of seven aging theaters between 7th and 8th Aves. takes it over and restores it, and on Dec. 11, 1995 rename it the New Victory Theater, the area's first theater for families and children, and the oldest operating theater in New York City; he follows on Dec. 5, 1904 with the Lews Fields Theatre at 254 West 42nd Street, and in 1906 by his 2nd Manhattan Opera House at 311 West 34th Street to compete with the Metropolitan Opera, followed in 1908 by the Philadelphia Opera House in Philly.
In the early 1890s Duckpin Bowling is invented in Boston, Mass., spreading to Baltimore, Md. about 1899; in 1982 the Women's Nat. Duckpin Assoc. is founded.
On Sept. 9, 1895 the Am. Bowling Congress (ABC), led by restaurateur ("Father of 10-Pin Bowling") Joe Thum and "Father of Bowling" Thomas Curtis (originator of the tournament concept) is founded at a meeting at Beethoven Hall in New York City, superseding the Nat. Bowling Assoc. (NBA), establishing modern standardized rules for pin bowling, incl. 10 balls with max. 300 score (replacing 20 balls with max. 200 score), 12 in. between pins, and max. ball weight set at 16 lbs., helping bowling to become the #1 U.S. participant sport by the mid-20th cent.; in 1916-50 it limits membership to white males; in 1993 "male only" is removed from its constitution; in 2005 it merges with the Women's Internat. Bowling Congress (WIBC), Young Am. Bowling Alliance, and USA Bowling to become the United States Bowling Congress (USBC); super-hard lignum vitae (Lat. "wood of life") (palo santo or holy wood) (pockholz) (guyacan) (guaiacum) (bastard greenheart) (ironwood) wood from the Caribbean is initially used for bowling balls.
In 1898 former Chicago White Stockings ML baseball star Adrian Constantine "Cap" "Pop" Anson (1852-1922) opens Anson's Emporium in Chicago, Ill., complete with 10 bowling lanes and 22 billiard tables; a diehard white racist who won't even play on the same field with blacks, guess who aren't allowed?; on Feb. 23, 1904 he sponsors the ABC nat. tournament in Cleveland, Ohio, bowling 199-152-186-537, with his team totalling 2,737.
On Jan. 8-10, 1901 the first Am. Bowling Congress (ABC) Nat. Tournament in Chicago, Ill. sees 115 singles bowlers, 78 doubles teams, and 41 5-man teams from 17 cities compete for a purse of $1,592; former ML baseball player Francis Hasbrouck "Frank" Brill (Briell) (1864-1944) wins the singles and all-events titles with a score of 648; tournaments are held every year except 1943-5.
On Mar. 7, 1902 Ernest Fosberg of Rockford, Ill. becomes the first to roll a 300 game in ABC-sanctioned league play.
In 1903 the English Bowling Assoc. for lawn bowling is founded by cricketer W.G. Grace, who becomes pres. #1; on Jan. 1, 2008 it merges with the English Women's Bowling Assoc. to become Bowls England.
In 1903 E.D. Peifer of Chicago, Ill. invents a handicap method of scoring for bowling.
In 1905 the Internat. Bowling Board is founded to govern lawn bowling in Europe.
In 1905 William Wuerthele of Pittsburgh, Penn. invents Rubberband Duckpin Bowling by encircling duckpins with pieces of rubber to increase scoring; in the 1920s the Am. Duckpin Congress is founded, becoming the Am. Rubber Band Duckpin Bowling Congress in 1945; after becoming popular in Quebec, Canada, it becomes almost extinct elsewhere.
In 1905 the Ebonite, the first rubber bowling ball is created by Stowe Woodward Laboratory.
On Mar. 13, 1906 Jimmy Smith (Mellilo) (1885-1948) of Brooklyn, N.Y. defeats Johnny Voorhies in an 11-game match in Brooklyn, N.Y., claiming the world bowling championship (until 1921).
In 1906 after a power struggle between New York City, which wants to charge $1 per league, and Chicago, which wants to charge $1 per team, New York City secedes from the ABC, returning in 1920; meanwhile the ABC bars women from membership.
In 1907 the second Nat. Bowling Assoc. (NBA) is formed in Atlantic City, N.J. competing with the Am. Bowling Congress (ABC) before disbanding in 1917; in 1907 the first NBA tournament is won by John Voorheis of Brooklyn, N.Y.; on Mar. 2-14, 1908 the Second NBA Tournament is won by Larry Erdmann of Brooklyn, N.Y.; on May 24-June 5, 1909 the Third NBA Tournament has a $50K purse.
On Jan. 27, 1909 A.C. Jellison bowls 826, becoming the first ABC-sanctioned 800 series; on Mar. 11 he is defeated by Homer Sanders in an ABC gold medal competition in Pittsburgh, Penn. based on both having bowled a perfect 300 game in 1908. On Mar. 12 Jimmy Smith defeats Lou Frantz in 30 games in Brooklyn, N.Y. and Cleveland, Ohio, becoming nat. Match Game champion.
In 1909 the first 10-pin bowling lanes in Europe are installed in Sweden; too bad, the game fails to catch on in the rest of Europe until after WWII.
In 1909 Thomas F. "Tommy" Ryan (1872-1961) of Toronto, Ont., Canada invents Five-Pin Bowling, using a candlestick bowling ball; it catches on only in Canada; in 1910 the first 5-pin bowling league is formed in Toronto; in 1912 rubber rings are added to the pins; in 1921 the first women's league is formed in Toronto, and the first perfect game (450) is bowled.
On Feb. 28-Mar. 5, 1910 Thomas Haley of Detroit, Mich. wins the single competition at the ABC nat. tournament in Detroit with a score of 705, becoming the first 700 series.
On Mar. 10, 1913 William J. Knox of Philly bowls the first perfect 300 game in an ABC tournament in Toledo, Ohio, which is won by Frank Peterson with a 3-game score of 693 vs. 672 for him; Knox also rolls a record 17 straight strikes, which is not equalled until 1967.
On Nov. 8, 1913 the monthly Bowlers Journal is founded by David A. "Dave" Luby (1857-1925) of Chicago, Ill. (until ?).
In 1914 Brunswick Corp. of Chicago, Ill. introduces the $20 Mineralite bowling ball, made of a "mysterious rubber compound", sending Ball #391914 on a tour of YMCAs around the U.S., England, Germany (where it is mistaken for a bomb and sent back), France, India, and Australia before being displayed at the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition.
On Feb. 2, 1915 world champ Jimmy Smith and local bowler Henry Clauss win a 12-hour endurance bowling tournament in Elizabeth, N.J., defeating 11 other teams with a score of 2,602; Smith's high game score is 264.
On Nov. 29, 1916 after St. Louis, Mo. Washington Bowling Alleys owner Dennis J. Sweeney receives permission to hold a nat. women's tournament on the ABC Tournament lanes in 1907, and another one is held on Nov. 16 with 100 women competing, the Women's Nat. Bowling Assoc. (WNBA) is founded in St. Louis, Mo. by women reps from around the U.S. with help from Sweeney; membership is for white women only until 1951; on Oct. 26, 1917 it holds its first meeting in St. Louis, attended by 40 women from 11 cities; in spring 1917 it holds its first nat. tournament in St. Louis, which is won by Agnes Koester of Detroit, Mich. with a score of 486 for three games; on Mar. 11-12, 1918 it holds it 2nd nat. tournament in Cincinnati, Ohio; on Apr. 29, 1925 it is renamed the Women's Internat. Bowling Congress (WIBC); in 2005 it merges with the U.S. Bowling Congress after reaching 1.2M members in 67K leagues in 2.7K local assocs.
On Apr. 7, 1918 Jimmy Smith defends his Match Game bowling title, defeating Hank Marino in a 40-game match at Jefferson Alleys in Chicago, Ill.
In Jan. 1920 Prohibition begins in the U.S (until 1933), causing bowling alleys to dissociate from saloons, turning bowling into a family game and encouraging the growth of women bowlers, with the membership of the Women's Nat. Bowling Assoc. (WNBA) reaching 10K in 1927.
On Apr. 29, 1921 Jimmy Blouin (1886-1947) defeats Jimmy Smith in 30 games in Milwaukee, Wisc. after 30 games in Chicago, Ill., claiming the world bowling title (until 1926).
On Oct. 2, 1921 the first Petersen Classic Bowling Tournament AKA The Pete, founded by bowling promoter Louis P. Petersen (1892-1958) is held at Archer-35th Recreation Center in Chicago, Ill.; 64 bowlers in two squads of 32 compete in 8 games for a $1,600 purse, with a $28 entry fee, becoming the richest bowling tournament so far; it is such a big hit that in 1922 he holds one tournament in the spring and another in the fall, attracting 600 bowlers by 1926, 10K in 1958, and 36K in 1981, with the event stretching from Oct. to July; in 1958 Petersen dies, and his son-in-law Mark Philip Collor (1915-2002) takes over; in 1987 first prize earns $55K; in 1994 it moves to Hoffman Lines in Hoffman Estates, Ill.; in 1998 AMF takes over the tournament.
On Feb. 25, 1922 the first invitational World Classic Bowling Tournament is held in Chicago, Ill., with 24 bowlers bowling 115 games on four specially-built lanes in the Chicago Coliseum, with the winner having to defeat the 2nd-4th place finishers in separate 60-game matches; the winner is Jimmy Blouin, winning $1,200 prize money; Blouin goes on to defeat Phil Wolf on Sept. 22, Mort Lindsey on Nov. 11, and Jimmy Smith on Dec. 19, becoming the official World Match Game champion, defending his title aganist Joe Falcaro on Oct. 23, 1923, and against Joe Scribner on Jan. 31, 1925.
On Apr. 29-May 5, 1922 the 1922 WNBA Nat. Tournament sees Emma Jaeger (1888-1964) of Toledo, Ohio win the singles competition with a score of 603, becoming the first over 600 to win; she goes on to threepeat in 1921-3, and win the WBNA all-events title in 1918, 1921, 1928, and 1929.
In 1922 the ABC separates bowling alley owners and employees in separate membership classes; in 1929 it adds financial backers and instructors; the rule is dropped in 1948.
On June 2, 1926 after a team of bowlers from the U.S. tour Sweden in 1923 and are roundly defeated, the 2nd World Bowling Championships are held in Stockholm, Sweden, with the U.S., Germany, Netherlands, Sweden, and Finland participating; the Internat. Bowling Assoc. (IBA) is formed at the tournament; the 3rd championships are held in Sweden in 1929, followed by the 4th in New York City in 1934, and the 5th (last) in Germany in 1936.
On Feb. 13 , 1927 Charley Daw (1894-1947) defeats Frank Kartheiser in a 60-game bowling match in Milwaukee, Wisc., becoming the ABC Nat. Match Game champion, going on to defend it in Jan. 1928 against Hank Marino and on Mar. 5, 1928 against Joe Wilman before being defeated on Apr. 10, 1928 in Chicago, Ill. by Adolph Carlson (1897-1967) who becomes the new ABC Nat. Match Game champion, defending his title on Jan. 2, 1929 against Walter "Skang" Mercurio before losing it on Feb. 16, 1929 to Joe Scribner (1886-1966) in a 60-game series in Detroit and Chicago; too bad, on Dec. 22, 1929 Scribner is defeated by Joe Falcaro (1896-1951) in a 60-game series in Detroit and Manhattan, becoming the new ABC Nat. Match Game champion (until Mar. 24, 1933).
On Dec. 18, 1927 while on a national tour, former bowling world champion Jimmy Smith (her idol) is defeated by Mrs. Floretta "Doty" McCutcheon (1888-1967) (AKA Mrs. Mac) (who bowled a score of 69 in her first game in 1923) by 704-697 in an exhibition match in Denver, Colo., causing Smith to utter the soundbyte: "I have just met the world's finest bowler, and she is a woman"; she goes on to stage a 51-city exhibition tour and found the Mrs. McCutcheon School of Bowling Instruction, which is attended by 500K women; in 1938-9 she averages 206 in league play, setting a record that stands until 1952-3.
In 1928 the ABC bans gamblers from bowling alleys; the rule is dropped in 1976 as casinos are allowed to sponsor teams.
On Feb. 12, 1930 Jenny Hoverson Kelleher of Madison, Wisc. bowls the first WIBC-approved perfect 300 bowling game at The Plaza Tavern in Madison, Wisc..; on Mar. 4 Mrs. Charles Fahning bowls another 300 game in Buffalo, N.Y.
On Mar. 1-Apr. 7, 1930 the 1930 ABC Nat. Tournament sees Larry Shotwell (1904-76) of Covington, Ky. win the singles title with a record 3-game total of 774 (first over 750 to win), which stands until 1951.
Om Mar. 26 (Mar. 23?), 1931 "Boy Wonder" Leo Bentley (1912-) bowls three straight 300 games (36 straight strikes) at Cooke's Recreation in Lorain, Ohio for the first time ever; too bad, it's not officially sanctioned by the ABC; he wins 75 cents for it when his opponent Steve Bosco only bowls 784; it takes until 1997 and seven more unsanctioned perfect triplicates for a sanctioned one to be bowled.
On June 7, 1932 the Bowling Proprietors' Assoc. of Am. (BPAA) is founded in Arlington, Tex. by U.S. bowling alley owners; their motto is "United We Prosper"; in 1980 the BPAA Hall of Fame is founded.
On Mar. 24, 1933 Joe Falcaro is a no-show at an ABA Nat. Match Game championship in Buffalo, N.Y., causing Joe Miller (1900-58) of Buffalo, N.Y. to claim the title (until May 20, 1934).
In 1933 the Stroh's Bowling Team is founded in Detroit, Mich. by Stroh Brewery, led by bowling star Joe Norris (1907-2001), with other players incl. Phil Bauman, Johnny Crimmins, Cass Grygier, and Walter Reppenhagen, winning the ABC nat. tournament in 1934, five Nat. Match Game titles in 1934-45, and the the first five World Match Game titles; in 1936 Detroit becomes known as the City of Champions as the Detroit Tigers win the World Series, the Detroit Lions win the NFL championship, the Detroit Red Wings win the Stanley Cup, boat racer Gar Wood wins the Harmsworth Trophy, and Detroit resident Joe Louis holds the world heavyweight boxing title; in 1994 Norris becomes the oldest bowler in ABC history to roll a 300 game.
On Mar. 21, 1934 after covering the 1933 ABC Tournament in Columbus, Ohio, the Nat. Bowling Writers Assoc. (NBWA) is formed at the Hotel Jefferson in Peoria, Ill. by bowling journalists Mort Luby Sr. of Bowling Journal (grandson of the founder), Les Koelling, Glen Birchard, and Paul Walker, going on to assist in the 1941 formation of the ABC Hall of Fame; in 1936 Bobby Bensinger of Brunswick becomes their first sponsor; in 1942 the NBWA Bowler of the Year Award is established, followed in 1948 by the NBWA Woman Bowler of the Year Award; in 1947 it establishes the Bowlers Journal Championships; on Mar. 19, 1953 it becomes the Bowling Writers Assoc. of Am.; in 1956 it establishes the Rip Van Winkle Award, followed in 1961 by the Flowers for Living Award, in 1986 by the Collegiate Bowlers of the Year Award, and in 1992 by the Senior and Amateur Bowlers of the Year Awards; on Jan. 1, 2007 it merges with the Prof. Women Bowling Writers.
On Apr. 29-May 6, 1934 the WIBC Nat. Tournament in Chicago, Ill. is won by Marie Elizabeth "Babe" Clemensen (1892-1961) of Chicago, whose score of 712 is the first over 700, setting a record that stands until 1972.
On May 20, 1934 Joe Miller is defeated by Otto Stein Jr. (1893-1949) in an 80-game match in Buffalo, N.Y. and St. Louis, Mo., becoming the new ABC Nat. Match Game bowling champion (until May 20, 1935).
On Oct. 20, 1934 Felix E. Feist's Strikes and Spares: An Oddity (MGM), narrated by Pete Smith makes its debut, featuring Calabria, Italy-born prof. trick bowler Andrea "Andy" Varipapa (1891-1984), "World's Greatest Bowling Fixture", getting nominated for a best short subject (novelty) Oscar; followed by Set 'Em Up (Oct. 7, 1939).
On May 20, 1935 Palermo, Sicily-born "Italian Wonder of Bowling" Enrico Salvano "Hank" Marino (1889-1976) of Milwaukee, Wisc. defeats Otto Stein in Milwaukee, Wisc. to become the BPAA Nat. Match Game champion (until Dec. 19, 1937); in 1941 he begins marketing Hank Marino's Miniature Bowling Alley; in 1951 a nat. newspaper poll names him Bowler of the Half-Cent.
In July 1936 immediately prior to the 1936 Olympic Summer Games in Berlin, Germany, the exhibition-only Internat. Bowling Assoc. (IBA) World Championships are held at Deutchland Halle; the winner is the Milwaukee Heils led by Hank Marino, Ned Day, and Charley Daw; Marino wins the all-events title - I wish I could fly like Superman?
In 1936 Woman Bowler mag. is founded; in 1939 it becomes the official pub. of the Women's Internat. Bowling Congress (WIBC).
In ? the Bowling Pin Car is built on the chassis of a 1936 Studebaker by Mayfield Recreation Center of Ohio.
On Jan. 27, 1937 the Hermann Undertakers incl. Buzz Wilson, Ray Holmes, Bob will, Fred Taff, and Sam Garofalo shoots a record 3,797 series in an ABC bowling match at Floriss Lanes in St. Louis, Mo., setting a record that isn't broken until 1958, at the same bowling establishment; they also score a record 35 strikes in the 10th frame.
On Dec. 19, 1937 after Hank Marino refuses a challenge to retire undefeated in Jan., Edward P. "Ned" Day (1911-71) becomes the BPAA Nat. Match Game champion.
On Aug. 20, 1939 the Nat. Negro Bowling Assoc. (NNBA) is founded in Detroit, Mich., holding its first tournament this year in Cleveland, Ohio; in 1944 it becomes the Nat. Bowling Assoc., open to all races; in 2007 it reaches 30K members.
On Oct. 25, 1939 5'5" Albert "Allie" Brandt of Lockport, N.Y. rolls an 886 series (297-289-300) in an ABC-sanctioned game in Lockport, N.Y., setting a record that stands for almost 50 years.
In 1939 the ABC enacts a rule requiring annual inspection and certification of bowling lanes.
On Jan. 11, 1941 Eddie Funaro bowls a 239 game at the Jack White Classic duckpin tournament in New Haven, Conn., setting a world record (until ?).
On Dec. 7-14, 1941 the First BPAA All-Star Tournament is held at the Chicago Coliseum in Chicago, Ill, with 71 entrants playing 76 games; the winner is John "the General" Crimmins of Detroit, Mich., who loses on Dec. 10, 1942 to Ned Day, who retains the Nat. Match Game title.
In 1941 the Am. Bowling Congress (ABC) Hall of Fame is founded, becoming the 3rd oldest U.S. sports shrine after baseball (1936) and golf (1940).
In 1942-5 during WWII after 6M men go overseas, 3K+ bowling lanes are installed in U.S. military bases in Great Britain by Brunswick Corp., causing 10-pin bowling to catch on, creating 4M new bowlers; meanwhile women industrial workers take the place of men in U.S. bowling centers; too bad, their leisurely pace combined with a shortage of pinboys makes them less welcome; after the war, Brunswick encourages manufacturers to sponsor industrial bowling leagues to promote esprit de corps as well as fight tendencies of workers to go Commie; women leave industry, but are encouraged to organize ladies' leagues sponsored by their new employers; industrial leagues dominate organized bowling until the mid-1950s.
On Jan. 22, 1942 Jack Eaton's documentary film Better Bowling, narrated by Ted Husing makes its debut.
On Dec. 5-13, 1942 the 2nd BPAA All-Star Tournament at the Chicago Serviceman's Center in Chicago, Ill. with 102 entrants is won by Connie Schwoegler (1917-82) of Madison, Wisc., who becomes the Nat. Match Game champion, repeating in 1948; in 1948 he invents the Schwoegler extended fingertip grip for bowling balls.
In 1946 there are 15M 10-pin bowlers in the U.S. On Nov. 30, 1946 the 3-mo. 1946 World Series of Bowling at the 74th Regiment Armory in Buffalo, N.Y. (first since 1942) begins, aired on ABC-TV, with 35K bowlers competing for $260K in prizes; the traveling termite camera is first used to follow the ball down the alley. On Nov. 30-Dec. 8, 1946 the BPAA All-Star Tournament in Chicago, Ill. sees Andy Varipapa defeat Allie Brandt by 200+ pins in 100 games.
On Apr. 25, 1947 U.S. Pres. Harry S. Truman officially opens a pair of bowling lanes installed on the ground floor of the West Wing of the White House, given to him for his birthday; Truman doesn't like them, but lets his staff start a league; in 1955 they are moved to the Old Executive Office Bldg. to make way for a mimeograph room; in 1969 avid bowlers Pres. and Mrs. Nixon have a new 1-lane privately-financed bowling alley built in an underground workspace below the driveway leading to the North Portico.
On Nov. 13, 1947 Harry Foster's World of Sports: Bowling Kings (Columbia Pictures) and filmed in Fla., narrated by Bill Stern makes its debut, featuring hall-of-fame bowler Edward P. "Ned" Day (1911-71) and trick shot bowler Joe(y) "the Fabulous" Felcaro.
On Dec. 14, 1947 the BPAA All-Star Tournament is won by Andy Varipapa, who defeats Joe Wilman by 17 pins, 13,448-13,431, becoming a 2-peat.
In 1947 the Australian Women's Bowling Council is founded, holding the first nat. women's lawn bowling championship in Australia in 1949 in Sydney, which is won by Mrs. R. Cranley from Queensland.
On Apr. 18, 1948 the Prof. Women Bowling Writers (PWBW) is formed at the Baker Hotel in Dallas, Tex.; in 1975 male journalists are admitted; on Jan. 1, 2007 it merges with the Bowling Writers Assoc. of Am.
In 1948 Brunwick begins putting dots and arrow markers on their lanes to improve bowling accuracy.
On Dec. 3-11, 1949 the BPAA All-Star Event adds a women's tournament, with 48 women bowlers; the winner is Grand Rapids, Mich.-born Marion Ladewig (1914-2010), who goes on to win 7x more; in 1950 she is named female bowler of the year by the Bowling Writers Assoc. of Am. for the first of 9x by 1963; in 1964 she becomes the first superior performance inductee into the WIBC Hall of Fame; she retires in 1964 after winning a record eight U.S. Women's Open titles; in 1984 she becomes the first woman bowler inducted into the Women's Sports Foundation Hall of Fame; "[She] is recognized as the world's queen of her game, not only among top women and men bowlers, but to those who have chronicled the game's developments from the days when it was a backroom saloon attraction for men only." (Joe Antczak)
On Dec. 26, 1948 Bowling Headliners debuts on DuMont Network (until Apr. 9, 1950), becoming the first regularly-scheduled bowling show on U.S. network TV, airing from Rego Park Lanes in Queens, N.Y.; it is featured on the cover of the Oct. 29, 1949 TV Guide.
In 1950 the Golden Age of 10-Pin Bowling begins, where bowlers in the U.S. rival prof. sports stars in popularity and income; it ends by 1980, after which bowling alleys experience declining attendance before shutting down.
On May 12, 1950 the Am. Bowling Congress (ABC) meets in Columbus, Ohio, and opens membership to black males after pressure from Cleveland, Ohio-born Nat. Negro Bowling Assoc. (NNBA) pioneer J. Elmer Reed (1903-83), who becomes a member of the ABC board of dirs.; in 1951 the Women's Internat. Bowling Congress (WIBC) opens membership to black females; in Mar. 1978 Reed becomes the first African-Am. bowler to be inducted into the ABC Hall of Fame.
On Apr. 7-June 3, 1951 the first ABC Masters bowling tournament is held in St. Paul, Minn., with 32 bowlers invited incl. the 6-man African-Am. Allen and Sons Supermarket team from Inkster, Mich.; the winner is Lee Jouglard (1921-78); in 2000 it becomes one of the four majors.
In 1951 Dean Larsen is named the first Joe Bowler at the ABC Open Championships in his hometown of St. Paul, Minn.
On Jan. 27, 1952 the Federation (Fédération) Internationale des Quilleurs (FIQ) is founded at a meeting in Hamburg, Germany of Internat. Bowling Assoc. (IBA) officials from nine nations (Germany, Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Luxembourg, Sweden, Switzerland, and Yugoslavia) to coordinate internat. amateur competition in 10-pin and 9-pin bowling, growing to 15 nations in 1954, 17 nations in 1959, 52 in 1975, and 141 in 2010; in Mar. 1952 the IBA is dissolved; in Nov. 1952 the first FIQ Congress is held in Munich, Germany, in which the FIQ Constitution is adopted, which incl. German as the official language for meetings; in 1954 after Germany won't pay for them to be hosted at the 1952 Summer Olympics, the first FIQ World Bowling Championships are held in 1954 in Helsinki, Finland; in 1979 the Internat. Olympic Committee recognizes FIQ as the official governing body for bowling; in 2014 it is renamed World Bowling.
In 1952 Am. Machine and Foundry Co. (AMF) of Brooklyn, N.Y. (founded 1900) begins marketing the AMF Automatic Pinspotter (Pinsetter) for bowling alleys, eliminating pinboys, causing a rapid growth that makes the 1950s the Decade of the Bowler.
On Oct. 4, 1953 Graz Castellano (1917-64) rolls the first perfect 300 bowling game on live TV at Newark Recreation in Newark, N.J. during an Eastern All-Star League game.
In 1953 the Women's Internat. Bowling Congress (WIBC) Hall of Fame is founded, merging with the USBC Hall of Fame in 2005.
In 1954 the ABC Open Championships in Seattle, Wash. feature the first promenade of bowlers down center aisle carrying their balls.
In 1954 NBC-TV debuts the B&W series Championship Bowling (until 1961), filmed at Faetz-Niesen Recreation in Chicago, Ill., offering a $1K reward to anyone who can bowl a 300 game on the show, and in the first season Shoaf, Penn.-born Steve Nagy (1913-66) becomes the first to roll a 300 game on TV; the PBA later names its Nagy Sportsmanship Award after him; in 1961 Cleveland, Ohio-born Don Scott (1927-2010) becomes the first African-Am. bowler to appear on the show.
On Mar. 3-May 2, 1956 Lakewood, Tex.-born Bill Lillard Sr. (1927-) of the Falstaff Team becomes the first bowler to win four titles at one ABC nat. tournament, incl. regular all-events, regular team, team all-events, and regular doubles (w/partner Stan Gifford); repeated by Ed Lubanski in 1959 and Mike Neumann in 1990; on Mar. 19, 2012 Lillard makes his 65th consecutive USBC Open Championships appearance in Baton Rouge, La.
On Apr. 8, 1956 Nat. Bowling Champions debuts on NBC-TV (until May 1961), broadcast live from Chicago, Ill., paying the winner $1 for every pin knocked down, $10 for every pin in excess of 700 for the series, and $10K for a 300 game; it switches to ABC-TV in Sept. 1957 as "Bowling Stars", with the winner returning the next week as the King of the Hill, then switches back to NBC-TV in Oct. 1960.
On ?, 1956 St. Louis, Mo.-born "Mr. Bowling" Donald James "Don" Carter (1926-2012) becomes the first to bowl an 800 series (809) on TV at the ABC Nat. Bowling Championships; on Feb. 17, 1964 in Hopkinsville, Ky. he becomes the first athlete to sign a $1M endorsement contract, a multi-year deal with Ebonite Internat.
On Dec. 4-12, 1957 the First World's Invitational Bowling Tournament at the Chicago Coliseum in Chicago, Ill. sees 160 men and 64 women compete, becoming a rival to the BPAA All-Star Tournament; the winners are Don Carter of St. Louis, Mo. and Marion Ladewig of Grand Rapids, Mich.
In 1957 the ABC Open Championships feature the first automatic pinsetters.
On Mar. 12, 1958 the Budweiser Bowling Team of St. Louis, Mo., incl. Ray Bluth, Don Carter, Ray haefner, Tom Hennessey, Pat Patterson, and Dick Weber wins the Nat. Team Match Games at Floriss Lanes in St. Louis, Mo. for its 3rd straight year, breaking a 1937 ABC record for a 5-man team with 3,858 pins and 138 strikes, which isn't broken until 1994; it wins again in 1959 for a 4-peat.
In 1958 the Prof. Bowlers Assoc. (PBA) is founded at the ABC Tournament in Syracuse, N.Y. by Ohio-born atty. Edward G. "Eddie" Elias (1928-98) and 33 bowlers incl. Glenn Richard Allison (1930-), Basil "Buzz" Fazio (1908-93), Carmen Salvino (1933-), Richard Lee "Dick" Hoover (1929-2009), William Joseph "Billy" Welu (1932-74), Richard Anthony "Dick" Weber (1929-2005), and Donald James "Don" Carter (1926-2012), who becomes pres. #1., and wins the first PBA Nat. Championship in 1960; the 1959 (first) PBA Tour (Empire State Open, Paramus Eastern open, Dayton Open) has a prize fund of $49.5K, growing to $7M by the early 1980s, causing the era of team bowling to be replaced by the era of star bowlers; in 1975 the PBA Hall of Fame is founded; in 2002 it becomes the PBA World Championship; in 2000 the HQ is moved to Seattle, Wash.
On Jan. 9, 1959 Jackpot Bowling debuts on NBC-TV (until June 24, 1960, then Sept. 19, 1960-Mar. 13, 1961), hosted at the Hollywood Legion Lanes by Leo Durocher followed by Mel Allen, Bud Palmer, Milton Berle, and Chick Hearn; bowlers compete for "television's biggest sports jackpot", $25K to $75K; on Jan. 2, 1961 Therman Gibson of Detroit, Mich. rolls six straight strikes to win the $75K jackpot.
On May 22-24, 1959 the Empire State PBA Open at Schade's Academy in Albany, N.Y. is the first PBA tournament, won by Verona, Italy-born Lou "Wrongfoot Louie" Campi (1905-89) of Dumont, N.J., who wins $2.5K; on May 28-30 the Paramus Eastern PBA Open in Paramus, N.J. is the 2nd PBA tournament, won by Richard Anthony "Dick" Weber (1929-2005), who wins $2.5K; on Sept. 10-13 Weber wins the 3rd and last 1959 PBA tournament, the Dayton PBA Open in Dayton, Ohio ($4.1K).
On June 22, 1959 Eddie Lubanski (1929-) of Detroit, Mich. bowls two consecutive 300 televised games in Miami, Fla., going on to score 700 pins for his 5-man bowling team in the ABC all-counts; next year he scores 768, teaming with fellow Detroiter Bob Kwolek (814) to set a world record doubles total of 1,582.
In 1959 the Polyester bowling ball is introduced, providing more hooking action than rubber balls and replacing them on the PBA Tour in the 1970s.
On Feb. 24-25, 1960 the 12-team NFL-wannabe Nat. Bowling League (NBL), (5-man teams) is formed to compete with the PBA, with $6K-$24K salaries depending on TV revenue; on July 17 the first (last) NBL draft selects Billy Welu #1 (Miami) and Don Carter #2 (Fort Worth Panthers); later rounds (of 30 total) select ML baseball players Mickey Mantle and Yogi Berra, who are both bowling alley owners; on Sept. 5 Fred Joseph Riccilli (1921-2015) (winner of the 1952 Petersen Classic) becomes the first player to sign, with the Los Angeles Toros for $10K; Steve Nagy signs with the Toros for $24K: Buzz Fazio signs with the Omaha Packers for $24K plus a free luxury apt.; the Pfeiffer Beer team incl. Ed Lubanski, Billy Golembiewski, Joe Joseph, Bob Hitt, and Bob Kwolek all sign after Pfeiffer drops sponsorship; too bad, Don Carter stalls, turning down a $1K/week contract, half-interest in a goat farm, and a cut of the gate; on Oct. 12, 1961 the NBL has its first game in Dallas, Tex., and the Dallas Broncos defeat the New York Gladiators 22-2, with Carmen Salvino of Dallas, Tex. bowling the high game (259); on Dec. 13 Ed Lubanski of the Detroit Thunderbirds rolls the first 300 game in NBL play in Fresno, Calif.; on May 4-6, 1962 the First Nat. Bowling League (NBL) Championships in Allen Park, Mich. see the Detroit Thunderbirds defeat the Twin Cities Skippers 3-0, after which on July 9 the NBL folds amid rumors of an attempt to bribe PBA star Don Carter with a pig farm.
On Oct. 8, 1960 the 15-min. Sat. night TV series Make That Spare debuts on ABC-TV (until Sept. 11, 1964), hosted by Johnny Johnston from Paramus, N.J., with two bowlers vying for prizes, incl. a new Ford Mustang for making the Sweepstakes Spare; on Oct. 28, 1961 Don Carter becomes the first to convert a 6-7-8-10 spare, receiving the $19K grand prize, then doing it again four episodes later, winning $8K.
On Nov. 28, 1960 the First Annual PBA Bowling Championship in Memphis, Tenn. sees 48 bowlers compete in a 30-game preliminary round, and the top 12 compete in a 30-game final round; the winner is Don Carter; in 2002 it is renamed the PBA World Championship, presenting the Earl Anthony Trophy to winners, named after 6x winner (1973-5, 1981-3) Earl Roderick Anthony (1938-2001).
In 1960 the Prof. Women Bowler's Assoc. (PWBA) is founded, becoming the first org. for prof. women bowlers; in 1974 some players leave to form the Ladies' Prof. Bowlers Assoc. (PBA) before merging back in 1978, becoming the Women's Prof. Bowlers Assoc. (WPBA), which dissolves in 1981, becoming the Ladies Pro Bowlers Tour (LPBT), then returns to the PWBA name in 1998; it goes defunct in fall 2003.
On July 8-9, 1961 the U.S. joins the Federation Internationale des Quilleurs (FIQ) (founded 1952) in Strasbourg, France, with the U.S. Bowling Congress (USBC) forming Team USA to compete in the 1963 FIQ World Championships in Mexico.
On Jan. 27, 1962 the Sat. afternoon series Professional Bowlers Tour debuts on ABC-TV (until June 21, 1997), hosted by Bippus, Ind.-born sportscaster Chris Schenkel (1923-2005) and pro bowler William Joseph "Billy" Welu (1932-74); after Welu dies of a sudden heart attack on May 16, 1974, Saint Louis, Mo.-born PBA Hall of Famer player Nelson "Bo" Burton Jr. (1942-) (son of hall-of-fame bowler Nelson Burton Sr.) takes his place.
In 1962 J. Wilbert Sims (1921-76) of Chicago, Ill. becomes the first African-Am. bowler to appear on a PBA telecast, their first.
In spring 1962 the Am. Wheelchair Bowling Assoc. (AWBA) is founded in Louisville, Ky. by Richard F. Carlson of Huntsville, Ala.
On May 4-6, 1962 the First Nat. Bowling League (NBL) Championships in Allen Park, Mich. see the Detroit Thunderbirds defeat the Twin Cities Skippers 3-0, after which on July 9 the NBL folds amid rumors of an attempt to bribe PBA star Don Carter with a pig farm.
On May 20, 1962 the first PBA Tournament of Champions in Indianapolis, Ind. sees all 25 previous PBA tournament winners invited to compete; the winner of the $15K first prize is Joe Joseph (1918-88); in 1965 it becomes an annual event sponsored (until 1993) by Firestone Tire and held at Riviera Lanes in Fairlawn, Ohio near the Firestone World HQ in Akron, Ohio; in the 1967 tournament in Akron, Ohio on Apr. 1, 1967 Jack Biondolillo (1940-) rolls the first nationally-televised 300 game, which isn't duplicated until 2015 by Sean Rash (1982-); meanwhile Don Johnson (1970) and Mika Koivuniema (2011) score 299 games; in 2002-7 the tournament is held at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn.; in 2008-12 it is held in Las Vegas, Nev.
In 1962 the number of U.S. bowling lanes grows to 160K from 65K in 1957, while AMF and Brunswick become the hottest stocks on the NYSE; too bad, in 1963 U.S. growth hits a brick wall and tanks, but by the mid-1960s a new boom that started in Great Britain in the early 1960s spreads over Europe, while another boom starts in Japan, reaching 3,770 bowling centers with 123K lanes, changing 10-pin bowling to an internat. sport.
On Nov. 3-10, 1963 the 5th FIQ World Bowling Championships in Mexico City Mexico sees 19 nations send 132 men and 45 women (first time); the debut of Team USA, which wins seven of the eight gold medals; Harry L. Lippe (1911-95) of Chicago, Ill. wins two golds; Chicago prof. bowler Eddie Kawolics acts as coach of the men's and women's teams, becoming the first to represent the U.S. in world competition.
On Nov. 25, 1963 Sports Illustrated pub. the article A Guy Named Smith Is Striking It Rich, detailing how PBA bowlers make more money than other prof. sports stars; “This year the PBA will put on 38 tournaments and give away more than $1,050,000 in prize money. Of its 942 members, 65 are touring pros who compete in at least half of the tournaments. The minimum any one of them makes is $10,000 a year. Moreover, 15 of the bowlers are in the $30,000-a-year bracket, and there are four or five, including Don Carter, the most famous name in bowling, and Harry Smith, who earn upward of $75,000 annually", adding that Akron, Ohio-born Harry Monroe "Tiger" Smith (1930-), top bowler for 1963 (winner of the 1963 ABC Masters Championship) “does so well that he is able to support a wife and four children in style, tool around the circuit in a maroon Lincoln Continental and indulge a taste for epicurean delicacies. In short, he is the personification of the prosperity that has suddenly overtaken the world of professional bowling.”
In 1963 the 5th FIQ World Bowling Tournament in Mexico sees
On Jan. 7, 1964 Operation AstroBowl sees bowling champ Dick Weber bowl the highest altitude game ever in a Boeing 707 en route from New York to Washington, D.C.
On Dec. 10-12, 1965 the FIQ Internat. Masters Bowling Tournament is held at Stillorgan Bowl in Dublin, Ireland, with 20 bowlers from different nations competing, incl. Tom Hathaway of the U.S.; the winner is Lauri Ajanto of Finland; in 1969 it becomes the AMF World Bowling Cup; in 1972 women are allowed to compete and Irma Urrea of Ireland wins the first women's title; in 2005 it becomes the QubicaAMF World Bowling Cup.
On Jan. 27, 1967 the Japan Prof. Bowling Assoc. (JPBA) is founded in Tokyo.
On Oct. 1-17, 1968 the Japan Gold Cup in Tokyo is the first PBA tournament in Japan, with eight U.S. bowlers competing, and Prince Mikasa attending on Oct. 16; the winner is Don Johnson.
On Oct. 10, 1968 Galva, Iowa-born Beverly Ann Ortner (1938-2003) bowls the first WIBC-sanctioned 800 series, rolling 818 (267-264-287) on a 5-woman team; her record stands for 10 years.
On Mar. 31-Apr. 4, 1970 the 1970 PBA Firestone Tournament of Champions sees Don Johnson (1940-2003) roll the first two strikes in frame 10 to defeat Dick Ritger, then try for a 3rd strike to win $10K and a new Mercury Cougar, leaving a ringing 10-pin standing, causing him to lie face-down on the approach in disbelief, then rise to a thundering ovation.
On Jan. 3-9, 1971 the first U.S. Open of Bowling is held by the PBA in St. Paul, Minn.; the winner is Jersey City, N.J.-born Michael "Mike" Limongello (1945-), who also wins the 1971 PBA Nat. Championship in Paramus, N.J. on Oct. 9-16; Pete Weber wins 5x.
On Aug. 21, 1971 the new U.S. Postal Service (USPS) in Milwaukee, Wisc. issues a special 8-cent commemorative stamped envelope honoring 10-pin bowling.
On Feb. 25, 1973 Superstars debuts on ABC-TV (until 1983, then 1984-94 on NBC-TV, then 1998-2002 on ABC-TV, then 2003 on CBS-TV), filmed in Rotunda, Fla., featuring 10 athletes from different fields competing for best all-around athlete; winner is pole vaulter Bob Seagren; boxer Joe Frazier almost drowns in the 50m swimming heats, revealing that he never learned how to swim; bowler Jim Stefanich ties for 7th place.
On Oct. 27, 1975 Tacoma, Wash.-born lefty ("the Doomsday Stroking Machine") Earl Roderick "Earl the Pearl" "Square Earl" Anthony (1938-2001) wins the Buzz Fazio Open in Battle Creek, Mich., his $5K winnings making him the first PBA bowler to earn $100K in a season; he also sets a record of 15 straight televised PBA finals appearances, repeating in 1981; on Feb. 27, 1982 he wins the Toledo Trust PBA Nat. Championship, becoming the first bowler to reach $1M in lifetime earnings; in 1982 Am. expressionist artist Leroy Neiman (1921-2012) paints a famous portrait of Earl Anthony's Million Dollar Strike.
On Apr. 13-17, 1976 the 1976 PBA Tournament of Champions at Riviera Lanes in Akron, Ohio is won by mustaschioed "Medford Meteor" Marshall Holman "the Poleman" (1954-) of Medford, Ore., who becomes the youngest winner (until ?), going on to become the first PBA bowler to pass $1.5M in earnings.
On Mar. 4, 1978 Randy Lightfoot (1957-) wins his first PBA title at the Burger King Open in Miami, Fla.; after the match Chris Schenkel asks him if he will be buying any Burger King Whoppers with his $30K prize money, and he says no, pissing-off Burger King, which doesn't sponsor another PBA event (until ?).
On Dec. 16, 1979 Willie Willis wins the Brunswick Nat. Resident Pro Tournament in Charlotte, N.C., becoming the first African-Am. bowling champion in the PBA in a non-touring event; he goes on to place 13th in the 1980 Firestone Tournament of Champions, becoming the first African-Am. bowler in the tournament (until ?); in 1986 he rolls his 19th perfect 300 game in competition.
In 1979 Noel Nosseck's Dreamer debuts, starring Tim Matheson as a Rocky wannabe 10-pin bowler in Alton, Ill., with babe Karen (Susan Blakely) and mgr. Harry (Jack Warden); bowling star Dick Weber plays Johnny Watkin; musical score by Bill Conti of "Rocky" fame.
On Jan. 5, 1980 after winning a record eight PBA titles in 1978 and six in 1979, Brooklyn, N.Y.-born Mark Roth (1951-), first with the hard-throwing hooking cranking style becomes the first bowler to convert a 7-10 "bedpost" split on nat. TV at the ARC Alameda Open at Mel's Southshore Bowl in Alameda, Calif.; he goes on to become the 2nd prof. bowler to make $1M in career earnings.
In 1980 Lisa "Rocket" Wagner (1961-) of Seattle, Wash. becomes Ladies Prof. Bowlers Tour (LPBT) rookie of the year; after winning the Open Div. doubles title in 1982, the 1983 Greater Milwaukee Open, the Open Div. all-events title in 1988, and the 1988 U.S. Open, becoming the first woman to earn $100K on the tour on Nov. 2, 1988, she is named 1980s bowler of the decade by Woman Bowler and Bowling mags.; she retires after the 2001 Fall Tour.
In 1980 Urethane bowling balls are introduced by Ebonite, changing ball motion from skid-roll-hook to skid-hook-roll.
On July 25-Aug. 3, 1981 the First World Games in Santa Clara, Calif. are held for sports not contested at the Olympic Games, with 1,265 athletes from 31 nations participating in 88 events incl. tug-of-war, racquetball, baseball, softball, roller skating, roller hockey, fin swimming, karate, women's water polo, bodybuilding, flycasting, taekwondo, and men's singles, women's singles, and mixed doubles 10-pin bowling.
On Aug. 18, 1981 the first PBA Senior Tour Championship is held in Harvey (near New Orleans), La. for bowlers age 50+; William "Bill" Beach (1929-2010) of Sharon, Penn. defeats Bill Lillard 200-191.
On Sept. 22-25, 1982 the AMF Grand Prix is held in Paris, France, becoming the first Prof. Bowlers Assoc. (PBA) event in Europe; Tom Baker defeats Mike Aulby 225-191.
On Sept. 30-Oct. 9, 1982 the 1982 Commonwealth Games ("The Friendly Games") in Brisbane, Australia see 1,583 athletes from 46 nations participate in 141 events in 12 sports; the mascot is Matilda; archery and lawn bowling are first incl. in the women's events.
On Oct. 25, 1982 the Charles M. Schulz comic strip "Peanuts" sees Snoopy adopt the name Joe Sandbagger as his alter ego, with a bowling avg. of 1 and a handicap of 179.
In 1982 the Young American Bowling Alliance (YABA) is formed via the merger of the American Junior Bowling Congress, the Youth Bowling Assoc., and the ABC/WIBC collegiate divisions.
On Mar. 5, 1983 5'5" Mount Pleasant, Tex.-born Norm Duke (1964-) wins the PBA Cleveland Open in Ohio after defeating Earl Anthony, Steve Cox et al., becoming the youngest PBA champion so far at 18 years 345 days; he doesn't win another title until 1991.
On Oct. 6, 1985 JPBL player Ken Taniguchi of Osaka, Japan becomes the first Japanese bowler to win a PBA Tour event, the Japan Cup in Tokyo, Japan.
On Nov. 22, 1986 Detroit, Mich.-born bowler George Branham III (1962-) wins the Brunswick Memorial World Open in Glendale Heights, Ill., becoming the first African-Am. to win a PBA nat. tour title (until ?); he goes on to win the 1993 PBA Tournament of Champions (last sponsored by Firestone Tire) (first African-Am. until ?), and set a record of winning his first eight straight PBA Finals matches, retiring after the 2003 season after rolling 23 PBA 300 games.
In 1986 Eureka, Calif.-born Walter Ray "Deadeye" Williams Jr. (1959-) wins his first of a record seven PBA Player of the Year Awards (last 2010), becoming the first bowler in history to surprass $2M in earnings in 1997, $3M in 2003, and $4M in 2008; on Sept. 24, 2006 he passes Earl Anthony's career record of 41 PBA tour titles with a win at the DYDO Japan Cup over Pete Weber by 289-236; in the winter 2010 issue of U.S. Bowler he is named male bowler of the decade (2000-9); he also wins the world title in horseshoe throwing 9x, and in 1989 is invited to the White House to play with Pres. George H.W. Bush; too bad, he never wins the PBA Tournament of Champions (until ?).
On Apr. 18, 1987 husband-wife bowlers Kent Wagner (1958-) and Lisa "Rocket" Wagner (1961-) appear on nat. telecasts the same day, Kent at the PBA Greater Hartford Open in Windsor Locks, Conn., and Lisa at the LPBT Seagram's Coolers U.S. Open in Mentor, Ohio; Kent wins $5K, and Lisa wins $10K.
In 1987 despite winning the Tournament of Champions and leading the PBA in earnings, Peter David "Pete" Weber (1962-) (AKA PDW), son of Dick Weber (first father-son to win PBA Tour titles) is passed over for PBA Player of the Year for Marshall Holman because of alcohol and drug abuse; he goes on to win 13 PBA Tour titles by 1989, reach $1M in earnings, then make a comeback in the 2001-2 season, with his flashy style increasing TV ratings, topping $3M in career earnings.
On Jan. 23, 1988 Topeka, Kan.-born Bob Benoit (1954-) becomes the first bowler to roll a perfect 300 game in a televised PBA title match (his first TV appearance) at the Quaker State Open at the Forum Bowl in Grand Prairie, Tex., defeating Mark Roth 300-255; “He’s probably been whipped around a school yard by a bully sometime, but put a bowling ball in his hand and lookout, he’s Superman. If this doesn’t get your heart pumping, I doubt there’s much that will.” (Nelson Burton Jr.)
On Sept. 18, 1988 the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea feature 10-pin bowling as a demonstration sport, with 24 teams competing; Kwon Jong Yul of South Korea wins the gold medal.
On Mar. 2, 1991 the Ballard Gutterball Incident at the PBA Fair Lanes Open in Baltimore, Md. sees Peter Weber get three strikes in frame 10, forcing Richardson, Tex.-born Delmas Perry "Del" Ballard Jr. (1963-) (1989 PBA Tournament of Champions winner) to get two strikes and 7 pins for the win; too bad, after getting the two strikes he throws the final shot into the right gutter to hand the title to Weber.
In the 1992-3 season the Am. Bowling Congress (ABC) introduces resin bowling balls, causing perfect games to increase by 20%; in the late 1990s particle balls are introduced.
On July 31, 1993 Indianapolis, Ind.-born mustachioed Mike Aulby (1960-) defeats David Ozio 300-279 at the Wichita Open in Wichita, Kan., becoming the 2nd player to roll a 300 game in a PBA title match after Bob Benoit in 1988, with the highest-scoring televised PBA title match in history (until ?).
On Oct. 28-Nov. 1, 1995 Beaumont, Tex.-born David Ozio (1954-) (1991 Tournament of Champions winner) wins the AMF Dick Weber Classic at Arthur Ashe Center in Richmond, Va., capturing his 11th PBA title and getting inducted into the PBA Hall of Fame.
In Feb. 1995 the first Best Bowler ESPY Award is presented to 5'5" Mount Pleasant, Tex.-born Norm Duke (1964-) of the U.S., who passes $3M in earnings in the 2011-12 season (3rd after Walter Ray Williams Jr. and Pete Weber); the U.S. goes on to win every year until Jason Belmonte (1983-) of N.S.W., Australia in 2011; the first female winner is in ?; Belmonte is known for his unorthodox style of holding the ball keeping his fingers out of the holes.
In 1995 the 363K sq. ft. $47.5M 80-lane Nat. Bowling Stadium (AKA the Taj Mahal of Tenpins) in Reno, Nev. opens, featuring an 80-ft. aluminum geodesic dome resembling a bowling ball, hosting the 100th Am. Bowling Congress meeting (100K bowlers in 17,285 teams), and the 1996 film "Kingpin".
On July 4, 1996 Bobby Farrelly's and Peter Farrelly's Kingpin (MGM) debuts, filmed in Pittsburgh, Penn, starring Woody Harrelson as bowling prodigy Roy Munson, who got in trouble hustling and ended up wearing prosthetic hook and living in a seedy apt. bldg. in Scranton, Penn. before deciding to go pro at a $1M tournament in Reno, Nev. with Amish player Ishmael Boorg (Randy Quaid); Bill Murray plays Ernie "Big Ern" McCracken, and Vanessa Angel plays Claudia; features cameos by Steve Tyler, Chris Schenkel, pro bowler Nelson Burton Jr. et al.; "From the idiots what brung you Dumb and Dumber"; does $25M box office on a $27M budget.
On Feb. 2, 1997 U. of Neb. sophomore Jeremy Sonnenfeld (1976-) bowls the first sanctioned perfect triplicate (three straight 300-point bowling games) at Sun Valley Lanes in Lincoln, Neb., becoming known as "Mr. 900".
On July 10, 1997 Skaneateles, N.Y.-born Michelle Feldman (1976-) becomes the first woman to roll a 300 perfect game on nat. TV as she defeats Carolyn Dorin-Ballard 300-183 at the PWBA Southern Virginia Open in Danville, Va.
On Oct. 21, 1997 basketball superstar Michael Jordan signs a 5-year contract with AMF Bowling Worldwide to endorse their bowling centers.
On Mar. 6, 1998 Joel Coen's The Big Lebowski (Gramercy Pictures) debuts, starring Jeff Bridges as Jeff "the Dude" Lebowski, an unemployed bowling-loving Venice, Calif. slacker caught up in the kidnapping of a girl named Bunny (Tara Reid) with a missing toe, who is married to elderly wheelchair-bound miliionaire Jeffrey "Big" Lebowski (David Huddleston); Steve Buscemi and John Goodman play the Dude's bowling buddies Donny and Walter Sobchak; Julianne Moore plays his daughter; Philip Seymour Hoffman plays Big Lebowski's personal asst.; Sam Elliott plays the narrator called The Stranger; contains the word "fuck" and variants 292x, "dude" 160x, and "man" 147x; does $46.2M box office on a $15M budget, and later gains a cult following; "Nothing is fucked here, man"; "The Dude Abides"; "Ever thus to deadbeats, Lebowski!"; "This is wht happens when you fuck a stranger in the ass, Larry"; "I don't like your jerk-off name, I don't like your jerk-off face, I don't like your jerk-off behavior, and I don't like you, jerk-off"; "I don't fucking roll on Shabbos"; "She's not my girlfriend, I'm just helping her conceive, man"; "Nihilists! Fuck me. I mean, say what you like about the tenets of National Socialism, Dude, at least it's an ethos"; "Sometimes you eat the bar, and sometimes the bar eats you."
In 1998 the World Tenpin Masters tournament is founded.
In Dec. 1999 Bowlers Journal Internat. of Chicago, Ill. pub. an issue listing the 100 greatest bowlers of the 20th cent., with Don Carter as #1, and Marion Ladewig (#7) as the highest-rated woman.
In 2000 the 3-day Weber Cup, named after Dick Weber is established as the 10-pin bowling equivalent of golf's Ryder Cup; the first tournament sees Team USA defeat Team Europe 18-11.
In 2000 the Prof. Bowlers Assoc. (PBA) (founded 1958) is purchased by former Microsoft execs Chris Peters, Rob Glaser, and Mike Slade, who move the co. HQ to Seattle, Wash.
In Apr. 2001 after league bowling (which peaked in the 1980s at 80% of their business) drops, AMF Bowling Inc. of Richmond, Va., owner of 500 bowling centers with 18K employees files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, causing it to turn to Customer Relationship Mgt. (CRM) software from Applix Inc. of Westboro, Mass. to cut costs, helping them survive long enough for Code Hennessey and Simmons Capital of Chicago, Ill. to buy them in 2004 for $670M; in 2005 they merge with Italian-based Qubica Worldwide to form QubicaAMF Worldwide, selling the rights to their bowling balls in 2007 to 900 Global; too bad, in Nov. 2012 after league bowling tanks at 20%, they file for bankruptcy again, merging in 2013 with New York City-based upscale (no league bowling) co. Bowlmor (Strike Holdings LLC) (founded 1997), giving a combined 7.5K employees, 276 bowling centers, and $450M in annual revenue, attempting to revive league bowling, growing to 315 centers by 2015, with an avg. of 40 lanes per center compared to the U.S. avg. of 21 lanes.
On Mar. 31, 2004 Laguna, Calif.-born Melissa "Missy" Bellinder (1981-) (later Parkin) becomes the first woman to join the Prof. Bowlers Assoc. (PBA).
In 2004 the Brunswick Euro Challenge is founded, open to amateur and prof. 10-pin bowlers from the U.S., Europe, and Asia.
On Nov. 28, 2005 after 20 years of trying, Kent Wagner (1958-) (husband of Lisa Wagner) of Palmetto, Fla. scores a 292 game in Bradenton, Fla. after deliberately hitting two pins with his final ball to become the first bowler with sanctioned games with scores of every number from 290 to 300.
In 2005 the U.S. (United States) Bowling Congress in Greendale, Wisc. is formed from the merger of the Am. Bowling Congress (ABC), Women's Internat. Bowling Congress (WIBC), Young American Bowling Alliance (YABA), and USA Bowling, founding the USBC Hall of Fame by merging the ABC (1941) and WIBC (1953) halls of fame; in Nov. 2008 it moves to Arlington, Tex.
On Mar. 21, 2006 Christopher Browne's and Alex Browne's A League of Ordinary Gentlemen debuts, a documentary film about 10-pin bowling starring PBA stars Pete Weber, Walter Ray Williams Jr., Chris Barnes, and Wayne Webb; it debuts on PBS-TV on Apr. 25, 2006.
On July 2, 2006 Walnut Creek, Calif.-born Wendy Macpherson (1968-) becomes the first female to win the USBC Open Championships singles title with 812 (248-300-264), nine days after the death of her father.
On Jan. 24, 2010 Union Township, N.J.-born Kelly Kulick (1977-) defeats Chris Barnes 265-195 in the PBA Tournament of Champions in Las Vegas, Nev., becoming the first female winner of a nat. PBA Tour event.
On Jan. 22, 2011 Mika Juhani Koivuniemi (1967-) of Finland wins the PBA Tournament of Champions along with a record $250K prize after defeating Tom Smallwood 269-207; in the semifinal he defeats Tom Daugherty 299-100 after leaving the 10-pin on the final shot, the largest margin of victory in a PBA match, with Daugherty's score becoming the lowest in a nationally-televised PBA match; on Apr. 15 Koivuniemi defeats Sean Rash 237-224 in the PBA Tournament of Champions in Las Vegas, Nev.
On Jan. 19-27, 2013 the PBA League begins operation at Thumderbowl Lanes in Allen Park, Mich., using the Baker format with 5-player teams incl. the Dallas Strikers, Philadelphia Hitmen, L.A. X, Barbasol Motown Muscle, Geico New York City WTT Kingpins, Brooklyn Styles, Silver Lake Atom Splitters, and Pittsburgh Jack Rabbits; on Nov. 9, 2012 the First PBA League Draft in Las Vegas, Nev. saw Ryan "Rhino" Page (1983-) selected #1 overall by Dallas Strikers team head Norm Duke.
On Apr. 22, 2013 Joe Scarborough (1962-) of Charlotte, N.C. becomes the first bowler to roll a 900 series in a PBA Tour event in his first three games in the PBA50 Sun Bowl Tournament at Spanish Springs Lanes in The Villages, Fla.
On Nov. 17, 2013 9-y.-o. Hannah Diem (2004-) of Seminole, Fla. becomes the youngest bowler in USBC history to roll a 300 game, using a 12-lb. ball at Liberty Lanes in Largo, Fla.
On Aug. 1, 2014 a new rule by the USBC requires a bowling ball used by a 2-finger (no thumb) bowler to only have one balance (empty) hole.
In Nov. 2019 former JPL engineer Mark Rober and former toy designer James Bruton announce the creation of a steerable bowling ball that can always roll a strike.
|1965||William Bruce "Billy" Hardwick (1941-2013)|
|1968||Dave Davis (1942-)|
|1970||Don Johnson (1940-2003)|
|1971||John "Johnny" Petraglia (1947-)|
|1972||Michael William Durbin (1941-)|
|1974||Earl Roderick Anthony (1938-2001)|
|1975||Dave Davis (1942-)|
|1976||Marshall Holman (1954-)|
|1978||Earl Roderick Anthony (1938-2001)|
|1979||George N. Pappas (1947-)|
|1980||Wayne Webb (1957-)|
|1981||Steve Cook (1957-)|
|1982||Michael William Durbin (1941-)|
|1984||Michael William Durbin (1941-)|
|1986||Marshall Holman (1954-)|
|1987||Peter David "Pete" Weber (1962-)|
|1989||Delmas Perry "Del" Ballard Jr. (1963-)|
|1991||David Ozio (1954-)|
|1993||George Branham III (1962-)|
|1994||Norm Duke (1964-)|
|1995||Mike Aulby (1960-)|
|1997||John "the Buzzsaw" Gant|
|1998||Bryan Goebel (1961-)|
|1999||Jason Couch (1969-)|
|2000||Jason Couch (1969-)|
|2001||Not contested in 2001 because the PBA switched from a calendar year to a fall-spring seasonal format.|
|2002||Jason Couch (1969-)|
|2003||Patrick Healy Jr. (1968-)|
|2006||Chris Barnes (1970-)|
|2007||Tommy Jones (1978-)|
|2008||Michael Haugen Jr. (1966-)|
|2009||Patrick "Hoss" Allen (1970-)|
|2010||Kelly Keluck (1977-)|
|2011||Mika Juhani Koivuniemi (1967-)|
|2012||Sean Rash (1982-)|
|2013||Peter David "Pete" Weber (1962-)|
|2014||Jason Belmonte (1983-)|
|2015||Jason Belmonte (1983-)|
1965 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990