|Mark Roth is acknowledged
by his peers as the father of modern tenpin bowling. The hard-throwing,
hard-cranking style that won him election to the Professional Bowlers
Association (PBA) Hall of Fame in April 1987, the first year he was
eligible, has brought about significant changes in the nature of alley
From his first PBA title in 1975 (King Louie Open) to his last major
tournament victory in 1987 (Great Buffalo Open), Roth captured 34 PBA
championships. His most remarkable years were 1975 to 1979, when he captured
22 titles, including a record eight in 1978.
He has received the PBA Player of the Year honor four times—1977, 1978,
1979, and 1984—and is recipient of numerous other tenpin awards and titles.
His 215-plus average over 8,000 games (dating back to 1976) is the best
longterm pace in PBA history.
Roth won the George Young Memorial High Average Award a record five times
(three of four years between 1976 and 1979, 1981, and 1988), and his 221.6
pace during the 1979 season is a PBA one-year-average record.
In 1984, Roth's career earnings elevated him to the PBA's Millionaire's
Club, joining legendary Earl Anthony as the association's second
professional to reach that exclusive winners plateau.
Year Inducted: 1987
Induction Category: Performance
Roth, originally from Brooklyn, N.Y., attacked the Tour with a cranking,
hard-throwing style which created a generation of imitators now prevalent
throughout the sport. Never one to rest on his laurels, Roth not only
surpassed the great Earl Anthony's all-time PBA earnings record on the 1987
Fall Tour, but also added his 33rd PBA title in the Greater Buffalo Open and
won the No. 1 PBA invitational in Toronto. Great achievements are nothing
new as Roth won PBA Player of the Year honors in 1977, 1978, 1979 and 1984.
He led the Tour in average in six different seasons, including a then-record
221.699 in '79. Another of his records is the eight titles he won in 1978,
which he followed with seven titles in 1979. Finished his career with 34
Tour titles and $1,619,136 in earnings.
HomeTown: Wall Township, NJ
Bowls: Right Handed
Joined PBA: 1970
BOWLING: Mark Roth, John Petraglia elected to USBC Hall of Fame
Mark Miller - U.S. Bowling Congress (817-385-8375) January 07, 2009
Three of the most successful players in professional bowling history have been elected to the United States Bowling Congress Hall of Fame in the Superior Performance category.
Mark Roth, 57, of Fulton, N.Y.; John Petraglia, 61, of Jackson, N.J., and Wendy Macpherson, 40, of Henderson, Nev., will be inducted during the USBC Convention in Reno, Nev., on Friday, May 1.
Roth, a Brooklyn, N.Y., native, is widely credited with introducing the high-revolution power game into the sport. Roth's unorthodox style produced 34 Professional Bowlers Association titles including a remarkable 14 victories over a two-year span (1978-79). His eight titles in 1978 stand as the most victories in a single year by a PBA player.
Roth also is a two-time PBA Senior Tour champion and banked more than $1.6 million during his career. He won Bowling Writers Association of America Bowler of the Year honors in 1977, ‘78, ‘79 and ‘84 and was inducted into the PBA Hall of Fame in 1987.
"I'm surprised. I didn't think I'd ever get in," Roth said. "It's a great honor. I got the call from USBC President Jeff Bojé on New Year's Eve, so it was a great way to bring in the New Year. At least I get to go in before I die so I can enjoy it."
Petraglia, also a Brooklyn native, is a 14-time PBA champion and one of five players in PBA history to complete the Triple Crown. After winning his first PBA title at age 19, Petraglia won the Firestone Tournament of Champions in 1971, U.S. Open in 1977 and the PBA National Championship in 1980. Billy Hardwick, Pete Weber, Mike Aulby and Norm Duke are the only others in the "Triple Crown Club."
Petraglia also was part of two teams that won American Bowling Congress Classic Team titles before the Classic Division was terminated, and he owns six PBA Senior Tour titles. He is the only PBA bowler to win three consecutive televised tournament titles, one of three who have won PBA titles in five different decades, and one of 17 who have bowled nationally-televised 300 games.
"I was very, very surprised. It was a shock, but it was wonderful news," Petraglia said. "I thought it would take two or three years at least. It's pretty special to be recognized alongside guys like Andy Varipapa and Dick Weber and all the great players who are in the hall."
Petraglia and Roth were both pleased to be elected in the same year.
"Mark and I basically grew up together, even though I'm four years older," Petraglia said. "Mark and I won a Paramus league one year, and the Met Classic league another year. We were good bowlers when we were young, but you never know how things are going to turn out. Looking back, it's a big surprise to see what we've accomplished."
March 29th, 2010 |
Published in Pro
For PBA Hall of Famer Mark Roth, a visit to AMF Babylon Lanes
for last week’s GEICO Mark Roth Plastic Ball Championship provided
him with an opportunity to visit with some old friends and recount
memories of a storied career.
One of those friends was fellow bowling great Johnny Petraglia.
Both bowlers grew up in Brooklyn and would eventually become
fixtures on PBA Tour telecasts during the 1970s.
Petraglia was granted a PBA Commissioner’s Exemption to
compete in the Plastic Ball Championship, named in honor of his
long-time friend and rival, and Petraglia’s son Johnny Jr. also
competed in the event after earning a spot in the 64-player field
through the Tour Qualifying Round.
This Roth-Petraglia reunion has been different than any other,
however. That’s because Roth, who will turn 59 on April 10, is
continuing his rehabilitation after suffering a severe stroke last
May that left his left side paralyzed.
Since May he has worked hard to regain physical function,
improving to the point where he was able to make the trip to West
Babylon with his wife Denise to take in some of the action at the
tournament named in his honor.
Last year, Roth was recognized as the fifth greatest PBA Tour
player in history as part of the organization’s 50th anniversary
celebration. Petraglia, who turned 63 earlier this month, ranks
16th on that list.
The right-handed Roth, a four-time PBA Player of the Year, is
tied with Pete Weber for third in career tour titles with 34. The
left-handed Petraglia owns 14 titles, and is one of only five
players in PBA history to win the Triple Crown (U.S. Open, PBA
Tournament of Champions and PBA World Championship).
Petraglia joined the tour in 1965, five years ahead of Roth,
and for most of their careers, both bowlers competed with plastic
bowling balls. Both have witnessed the evolution of bowling
technology since then, but memories of competing against each
other in the “old days” are cherished by both.
“I like the idea of a tournament where you have to use
plastic balls,” Roth said. “I wish I could bowl in this
While the two competed against each other often on tour,
Roth’s favorite memory of bowling against Petraglia was not in a
“In the early ’70s, I bowled some action matches against
John at Rainbow Lanes in Brooklyn,” Roth said. “It was just
like a tour event — there were more than 300 people there. They
had people watching down the lanes all the way to the masking
“He was a good, tough, strong bowler,” Roth said of
Petraglia, “but I always looked forward to the challenge of
bowling against him.”
Petraglia said his most memorable moment of bowling against
Roth was in 1978 when he beat Roth in a semifinal match, 298-249,
of the Long Island Open. (Petraglia went on to beat Jeff Mattingly
in the championship match.) But Roth returned the favor the
following week, defeating Petraglia in the championship match of
the Greater Hartford (Conn.) Open.
“Those two weeks were not only my favorite memories of
bowling against Mark, but some of my favorite overall on Tour,”
said Petraglia. “In Long Island, we had all of our family and
friends there. Andy Varipapa was there, and all of the fans were
really into the show, as you can imagine.
“The next week in Connecticut Mark got his revenge by beating
me 190-something to 180-something to win the title. At that time
he was using a plastic ball and I was still using rubber.”
But what Petraglia remembers most about Roth was how
competitive he was.
“When Mark and I were both on the Brunswick staff, we would
do a lot of exhibitions, and at some of those we would bowl
doubles matches against local bowlers,” Petraglia said. “If we
were in a match where the local bowlers were striking or had a
chance to beat us, naturally the local fans would be pulling for
them and sometimes I would get caught up in the excitement, too.
“But whenever that happened, I remember Mark would always
pull me aside and say, ‘C’mon, we can’t let these guys beat
Added Petraglia: “Bowling in a tournament with my son
and named after Mark Roth – it doesn’t get much better than
— Jerry Schneider