PBA 60th Anniversary Most Memorable Moments
Throughout the 2018 season the PBA is celebrating its 60th Anniversary by unveiling the 60 most memorable moments in PBA history. A panel of PBA historians, veteran bowling writers and long-time PBA Tour competitors reviewed a list of more than 125 of the PBA’s most memorable victories, defeats, triumphs and disappointments, record-setting achievements and headline news stories to come up with a list of the top 60 moments.
#42 - PBA Launches Xtra Frame
The PBA launched its online streaming service, Xtra Frame, during the 2007 Lumber Liquidators Championship in Baltimore. The service promised fans live coverage of one exclusive “Match of the Week” from each event’s Round of 8 competition throughout the 2007-08 season. Today, Xtra Frame features more than 1,200 hours of live bowling from the Go Bowling! PBA Tour, PBA50 Tour, PWBA Tour, PBA Xtra Frame Tour Series and select PBA Regional Tour and special events each year. Xtra Frame was a relaunch of PBA's Strike Pass which revolutionized internet coverage of bowling beginning in 2002.
#43 - Johnson is First Woman to Qualify for TV Finals
Liz Johnson became the first woman to advance to a PBA Tour TV finals during the 2005 PBA Banquet Open at Spectrum Lanes in Wyoming, Mich. Johnson defeated Wes Malott, 235-228, in the semifinals before losing to Tommy Jones, 219-192, in the championship match. Johnson’s path to the televised finals was made possible when the PBA opened its membership to women in 2004. A year after Johnson’s TV appearance Kelly Kulick became the first woman to earn an exemption onto the Denny’s PBA Tour when she finished sixth in the 2006 Denny’s Tour Trials.
#44 - Year of the Soaker
In 1973 Don McCune used bowling balls chemically-softened to create hooking power no other player could match. McCune’s ingenuity – perfectly legal at the time – led to a six-title season, a tour-best $69,000 in earnings and PBA Player of the Year honors giving the season the unofficial title of the “Year of the Soaker”. His actions led to a plethora of new rules and regulations related to altering bowling balls, but the impact also ushered in a new era of bowling balls designed to create hooking power.
#45 - Ballard Wins Then-Record $100,000 Prize
Del Ballard Jr. made history by winning $100,000, the then-richest ever first place prize offered by the PBA, when he defeated Pete Weber, 247-209, in the 1987 Seagram’s Coolers U.S. Open at Narrows Plaza Bowl in Tacoma, Wash.
#46 - PBA Holds First Outdoor Finals
In 1999, the PBA contested its first outdoor event, The New York City PBA Experience. The event was held on a special two-lane installation in Manhattan’s Bryant Park and was won by Eric Forkel. In another first, Milwaukee’s Miller Park hosted the 2004 USBC Miller High Life Masters, marking the first time a PBA Tour event was held in a major league baseball stadium. With more than 4,300 in attendance, Danny Wiseman defeated Patrick Allen, 268-183, on the unique four-lane set-up installed on the infield between first to second base. But historic venues are nothing new to the PBA. In 1967, Madison Square Garden, known as “The World’s Most Famous Arena,” hosted the PBA National Championship (won by Dave Davis) and later hosted three consecutive BPAA U.S. Opens (1972-74). And historic Joe Louis Arena in Detroit hosted the largest crowd in PBA history when 7,212 fans watched Dave Husted beat Paul Koehler, 266-245, to claim the 1995 U.S. Open title.
#47 - Smallwood Wins 2009 World Championship
After qualifying for the PBA World Championship finals during the inaugural World Series of Bowling at Thunderbowl Lanes in early September, Tom Smallwood won the 2009 PBA World Championship in Wichita, Kan., upsetting reigning PBA Player of the Year Wes Malott, 244-228. Smallwood’s rags-to-riches story after being laid off from his job in the auto industry in Detroit became a national news story during the nation’s economic downturn. Smallwood’s win is one of many historical moments coming from the first-ever WSOB which included six standard events (Motor City Open, Cheetah Championship, Viper Championship, Chameleon Championship, Scorpion Championship, Shark Championship) and three major championships (PBA World Championship qualifying rounds, PBA Women’s World Championship and PBA Senior World Championship) all taking place in suburban Detroit over 38 days.
#48 - PBA Regional Tour Launches in 1969
In 1969, the PBA Regional Tour was launched with its inaugural event - the Regional Players Championship - held at Kingpin Lanes in Cincinnati, Ohio. Tom Hennessey beat Al Fuscarino, 216-211, to win the event over a field that included 12 regional champions and runners-up representing the PBA’s new six region program. Today, the PBA Regional Tour hosts approximately 150 events each year in seven domestic regions plus Japan. Pete Weber (47 standard and five PBA50 titles) and Dale Traber (39 standard and 13 PBA50 titles) hold record for most Regional Tour titles at 52 and in 2016, Jakob Butturff became the first player to win nine PBA Regional Tour titles in a single season.
#49 - Burton Sets Four-Game TV Total Record
PBA Hall of Famer Nelson “Bo” Burton Jr. set a then-record 1,050 four-game TV total during the televised finals the 1984 An¬gle Open at Dick Weber Lanes in Florissant, Mo. Averaging 262.5, Burton threw games of 278, 279, 257 and 236 to pick up his 17th title.
#50 - Monacelli is First Foreign-Born Player of the Year
In 1989, Venezuelan native Amleto Monacelli became the first foreign-born player to win the PBA Player of the Year award after winning four titles including the Touring Players Championship. The next season he repeated the honor setting him up to become the first foreign-born player inducted into the PBA Hall of Fame in 1997. Although a member since 1982, Monacelli was not the first foreign-born player to win a PBA Tour title. That honor belongs to Sweden’s Mats Karlsson who won the 1983 AMF Grand Prix in Crawley, England.
#51 - Jim Stefanich Bowls 3rd Ever Televised 300
Minutes before the 1974 PBA Midas Open finals began on ABC-TV, a lane breakdown forced Tournament Director Harry Golden to declare lanes from non-adjoining pairs as the official TV pair for the finals. In the second game, Jim Stefanich threw the PBA’s third televised game, and the only one ever bowled on a non-adjoining pair of lanes. Dick Ritger won the event, but Stefanich won a $10,000 300 game bonus plus a new Lincoln-Mercury Cougar.
#52 - John Handegard, Age 57, is Oldest to Win PBA Title
At age 57, John Handegard defeated Mark Williams, 278-247, to win the 1995 PBA Northwest Classic in Kennewick, Wash., becoming the oldest player to win a PBA Tour title.
#53 - Michael Haugen Jr. Overcomes Deficit, Wins TOC
Michael Haugen Jr. overcame a 53-pin deficit after six frames to win the 2008 H&R Block PBA Tournament of Champions, 215-214, over Chris Barnes at Red Rock Lanes in Las Vegas. Haugen’s five-strike rally forced Barnes to get 20 pins in the 10th to force a tie. After converting a spare, Barnes left the 4 pin on his last shot giving Haugen the win.
#54 - Don Carter Wins Four Titles in 1962
During the 1962 season, PBA founding member Don Carter won four titles, earned $49,972 in prize money and recorded an incredible 18 top-five finishes. Carter’s performance in the formative years of the PBA led to him being a part of the inaugural PBA Hall of Fame class in 1975.
#55 - Mike Durbin Wins Third Career TOC
Mike Durbin became the first bowler to win the Firestone PBA Tournament of Champions three times when he defeated Mike Aulby, 246-163, at Riviera Lanes in Fairlawn, Ohio. Durbin, who also won the event in 1972 and 1982, was inducted into the PBA Hall of Fame earlier that week.
#56 - Pete Weber's 299 Serves Notice New PBA is Born
In the semifinal match of the 2001 PBA Great Lakes Classic in Grand Rapids, Mich., Pete Weber defeated Steve Wilson, 299-242, missing his 300 when he left a 4 pin on his final shot. Weber's performance was one of the highlights of the PBA's new ownership group which relaunched the Tour in 2001. Weber went on to defeat Parker Bohn III, 235-201, for the title and tie his legendary father, Dick Weber, and PBA Hall of Famer Don Johnson for sixth on the all-time PBA Tour titles list.
#57 - Sean Rash Rolls 300 at 2015 TOC
In the 2015 PBA Tournament of Champions, Sean Rash became the first player to bowl two nationally-televised 300 games in PBA Tour competition. It was only the second 300 game ever in the TOC TV finals and the first since Jack Biondollilo bowled the first nationally-televised perfect game in PBA history in 1967. Rash's first televised 300 came in the PBA Wolf Open in Shawnee, Okla., in 2014.
#58 - Creation of PBA Lane Maintenance Program
The PBA Lane Maintenance program was created mid-way through the 1971 season. Thirty-six years later PBA oil patterns were branded with animal names, descriptions and images (Cheetah, Chameleon, Scorpion, Shark and Viper). In 2013, a blue dye was added to the oil giving viewers an inside look at how the pattern looked on the lane. Today the PBA has 16 unique patterns that offer a variety of lengths, volumes and challenges. Current patterns are available at https://www.pba.com/OilPatterns.
#59 - Chris Warren vs. Bob Vespi
At the 1992 PBA Florida Open at Cypress Lanes, sparks flew between Bob Vespi and Chris Warren as only three pins separated the two going into the final frames. Warren threw three strikes in the 10th to win his fifth PBA Tour title, 211-208.
#60 - PBA League, Dallas Strikers Bowl 300
With owner Billie Jean King in the audience, the PBA League completed its inaugural season with the NYC WTT Kingpins defeating the Motown Muscle in 2013. Three years later, the Dallas Strikers made history as they recorded the first team Baker 300 game in televised PBA League competition at Bayside Bowl in Portland, Maine.