Riviera Lanes, Akron, Ohio, Apr 26-30, 1983

Berardi Bests Four For Firestone Title

Joe Berardi toppled Henry Gonzalez, 186-179, to win professional bowling's most prestigious title, the $200,000 Firestone Tournament of Champions.

Berardi became the first champion in the 19-year history of the event to win four matches during his title quest, marching off with the $40,000 first prize from this field which is limited to 52 PBA champions.

He battled to the fourth spot during 48 games of qualifying and match play which saw several different players in the lead at one time or another, including himself, Gonzalez, and heavyweight Mark Roth.

Berardi got some lucky breaks and timely strikes to go along with his excellent bowling to win his third major title.

His first opponent was Bob Handley. To the consternation of a huge crowd at Riviera Lanes, Handley left a 3-4-6-7-9-10 split after an opening double. Three frames later he regained the lead, but Berardi, with two "Brooklyn" strikes in the 10th frame, gained a 214-196 victory.

Mike Durbin, trying to make it two Firestones in a row to go with an early triumph in 1972, opened with a three-bagger and led into the seventh frame when Berardi suffered a3-10 "baby split." Durbin lost the lead in the next frame when he missed converting a 5-7, and again, Berardi rose to the occasion, getting five game-ending strikes and a 234-224 triumph.

It was a battle of easterners in the Berardi-Roth match with Berardi gaining an early lead when Roth left the 4-6-7-10 on his opening ball. Roth rebounded and closed with four strikes, forcing Berardi into a "must mark" situation in the 10th frame, and he did, winning, 231-224.

In the championship game, Gonzalez couldn't find a line in his search for professional bowling's richest first prize. Berardi, as nervous during the match as he was earlier, wasn't all that much better, but stayed clean and won the title. He now needs a victory in the Toledo Trust PBA National Championship to make a clean sweep of professional bowling's "Triple Crown," having captured the 1979 BPAA U.S. Open.


Pos.Name, City/StateTotalAmount
1Joe Berardi, Brooklyn, N.Y.865 (4 games)$40,000
2Henry Gonzalez, Colo. Springs. Colo.179 (1 game)22,000
3Mark Roth, Spring Lake Heights, N.J.224 (1 game)15,000
4Mike Durbin, Chagrin Falls, Ohio224 (1 game)10,000
5Bob Handley, Pompano Beach. Fla.196 (1 game)7,000

PLAYOFFS RESULTS - Berardi defeated Handley, 214-196; Berardi defeated Durbin, 234-224; Berardi defeated Roth, 231-224; and in the championship game, Berardi defeated Gonzalez, 186-179.


 Name, CityPinsAvg  WLT+TotAmt
1Henry Gonzalez, Colo. Springs, Colo. 10332 215.2 14-10-0 420 10752 
2Mark Roth, Spring Lk. Hts., N.J. 10212 212.7 14-10-0 420 10632 
3Mike Durbin, Chagrin Falls, Ohio 10104 210.5 16-7-1 495 10599 
4Joe Berardi, Brooklyn, N.Y. 10140 211.2 13-10-1 405 10545 
5Bob Handley, Pompano Beach, Fla. 10124 210.9 14-10-0 420 10544 
**6Nelson Burton Jr., St. Louis 10055 209.4 14-9-1 435 10490 $5,850
7Frank Ellenburg, Mesa, Ariz. 10051 209.3 14-9-1 435 10486 5,000
8Pete Couture, Windsor Locks, Conn. 10069 209.7 13-10-1 405 10474 4,500
9Ernie Schlegel, Vancouver, U.S.A. 10061 209.6 13-10-1 405 10466 4,000
10Gary Skidmore, Albuquerque, N.M. 10043 209.2 14-10-0 420 10463 3,500
11Toby Contreras, Kansas City, Mo. 10106 210.5 10-13-1 315 10421 3,200
12George Pappas, Charlotte, N.C. 10066 209.7 11-13-0 330 10396 3,000
13Gary Dickinson, Burleson, Texas 10085 210.1 10-14-0 300 10385 2,900
14Steve Fehr, Cincinnati, Ohio 9937 207.0 14-10-0 420 10357 2,800
15Steve Martin, Kingsport, Tenn. 9920 206.6 13-ti-0 390 10310 2,700
16Norm Duke, Mt. Pleasant, Texas 9919 206.6 10-14-0 300 10219 2,600
17Paul Moser, Brockton, Mass. 9905 206.3 9-14-1 285 10190 2,500
18Darwin Skrzynecki, Chicago 9859 205.3 11-13-0 330 10189 2,400
19Mark Fahy, Chicago 9895 206.1 9-15-0 270 10165 2,300
20Art Trask, Fresno, Calif. 9781 203.7 11-13-0 330 10111 2,200
21Tom Milton, St. Petersburg, Fla. 9840 205.0 8-16-0 240 10080 2,100
22Dave Husted, Milwaukie, Ore. 9790 203.9 9-15-0 270 10060 2,000
+23Pete Weber, St. Louis 8903 207.0 8-11-0 240 10057 1,825
24Warren Nelson, Downey, Calif. 9762 203.3 9-14-1 285 10047 1,800


Pos.Name, City/StateAmount
+25Earl Anthony, Dublin, Calif.$1,800
26Bill Beach, Sharon, Pa.1,700
*27Tommy Hudson, Akron, Ohio1,750
28Randy Lightfoot, St. Charles, Mo.1,700
29Joe Hutchinson, Scranton, Pa.1,650
30Jay Robinson, Yorba Linda, Calif.1,650
31Jim Miller, Mesa, Ariz.1,650
32Hugh Miller, Seattle, Wash.1,650
33Dave Soutar, Leawood, Kan.1,600
34Alvin Lou, El Cajon, Calif.1,600
35Steve Cook, Roseville, Calif.1,600
36Carmen Salvino, Chicago1,600
37Johnny Petraglia, Manalapan, N.J.1,550
38Sam Flanagan, Parkersburg, W.Va.1,550
39Steve Westberg, Cottage Grove, Ore.1,550
40Guppy Troup, Jacksonville, Fla.1,550
41Paul Colwell, Tucson, Ariz.1,500
42Sam Zurich, Huntington, N.Y.1,500
43Tom Baker, Buffalo, N.Y.1,500
44Bill Spigner, Chicago1,500
45Mal Acosta, Hayward, Calif.1,450
46Don Genalo, N. Merrick, N.Y.1,450
47Marshall Holman, Jacksonville, Ore.1,450
48Larry Miller, Youngstown, Ohio1,450
49Joe Salvemini, Reno, Nev.1,400
50Wayne Webb, Carmel, Ind.1,400
51Mike Aulby, Indianapolis1,400
52Larry Laub, Santa Maria, Calif.1,400

* - Match play alternate. ** - TV finals alternate. 24-game qualifying leader - Pappas, 5218. 24th place Nelson, 4950. PRO-AM CASHERS - Mark Roth, Joe Berardi, Wayne Webb, Tommy Hudson, Tom Baker and Frank Ellenburg ($50 each).
+ - Pete Weber replaced Earl Anthony in match play after the 29th game. He was penalized 145 pins, the difference between their qualifying totals (70) and the bonus pins Anthony earned in match play (75). They split 23rd and 25th-place money, and Weber received an additional $25 for serving as alternate for one squad. The new alternate was Tommy Hudson, who received $50.
SQUAD PRIZES - High Block: Tom Milton, Gary Skidmore, Bob Handley, Mike Durbin and Pete Weber ($500), Steve Cook and George Pappas ($250 each). High Game: Steve Cook, Earl Anthony, Mike Durbin and Bob Handley ($250 each), Art Trask ($500). High game of tournament - Steve Cook ($500).