Ernie Schlegel

Year Inducted: 1997

Category: Veterans/Senior

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Schlegel joined the PBA in 1967 and gained a reputation as an animated performer and a fan favorite. He gained the nickname "The Bicentennial Kid" because of his colorful red, white and blue outfits and sunglasses he wore when he appeared on telecasts in the mid-1970's. He captured his first title in Overland Park, Kan., in 1980, and added another title later that year in Portland, Ore. He would wait four more years before winning his third title in Garden City, N.Y. and backed that up with a win the following year in North Olmsted, Ohio. His next win came in 1989 in Pinole, Calif., in a telecast that will always be remembered as the day the lights went out. Schlegel, who was fifth seeded, won his first two matches and was battling Ron Williams in the semifinal match when an electrical short caused the lights to go out. Always a steady performer on the PBA Tour, perhap's Schlegel's greatest triumph came at the 1995 Touring Players Championsip in Pittsburgh. Schlegel defeated tournament leader Randy Pedersen in one of the most exciting and memorable matches in PBA history as he delivered a fiery performance that few will forget. As if to prove that he is getting better with age, Schlegel captured the 1996 USBC Masters event. He is one of five players to win PBA titles in five different decades.
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Ernie Schlegel