Buddy Bomar (1951)


Bowling Hall of Fame, 1966

#18 Bowler of the 20th Century

Bowlers Journal Bowler of the Decade, 1940s

Bowler of the Year, 1944-45, 1946-47

All-American, 1942-43, 1943-44, 1944-45, 1948-49, 1949-50

All Star champion, 1944-45

Match Game Doubles champion, 1944, 1950

2 ABC championships (1956-T, 1956-TAE)

Petersen Classic winner, 1947 (spring), 1947 (fall)

16 Responses to “Buddy Bomar (1951)”

  1. Robert Schumacher Says:

    Drilled my first bowling ball in the late 50’s out of his shop on six corners in Chicago. Missing part of a finger on his left non-bowling hand. Joined with Bill Cwik and bowled a doubles match at, I believe, Habetler’s against Buddy and, I think, Eddie Kawolics. At 78, my memory doesn’t always work. Nice guy!

  2. Robert Schumacher Says:

    Bill and I only lost two matches that I recall. One was against two lefties at a bowl at six corners, the name of which I don’t recall. That was a DISASTER!!! We had absolutely no chance there! The left side was sweet; the right side borderline unplayable. We also lost a match at a bowl on the western edge of the north side. My memory is bad. I can’t recall the name of the street or the bowl. The bowl had a a big, fancy entryway, and was just about brand new in ’62. Bill was Bill; Bob was NOT Bob. End of story.

    Bomar/ Kawolicks was Nolo Contendera right outta’ the box. Bill was Bill; I was on a roll. They won the first game for $20 apiece. We kicked it up to $50 each. They lost the next three and that was it. Bill blew their doors off. I showed up.

    Burton/Biondolillo: It was tough for the two them right outta’ the box. Bill and I both showed up. Jack had a tough time lining up. He hooked the ball a lot then, and in my opinion, he never got deep enough to be able to get the ball far enough down the lane. He had to get into 25 or so, but he didn’t go that far. Burton was Burton; consistent and solid, shot after shot. Bill was off the charts; focused and solid. Also, I can’t give any averages; most of the games (eight of ’em) never got past the first ball in the tenth. They never won a game.

    Seventeen years later, in ’79, Nelson and I bowled two pair apart in a PBA summer stop in Sacramento, CA. We had a delay getting started due to some lane difficulties, so we had a half-hour wait. It took all the restraint I had to not go over and introduce myself. I though the better of it; I recalled how infuriated and exasperated he was when he left 20th on that summer night in ’62.

    Bowling is still bowling; one ball; sixty feet; ten pins. I had eleven sanctioned 300’s; two 800’s, the California state average for one year; the World’s 5-game record from ’79 to ’95, and two seconds and a third in PBA regionals. I never won anything; but what a great experience!! Bowling is beautiful!!!

  3. Marty San Felippo Says:

    In response to your comments: Bowling use to be a great sport but unfortunately it is now, nothing more than a game. Aggressive balls,synthetic lanes, pins with double voids and the list goes on and on. Today you don’t have to be accurate to average 220….just close!
    My last year in league I averaged 221 at the age of 73. What’s wrong with that picture????? Show me another sport where a 73 year old can perform like he did 40 years ago or similiar to the professionals in that sport. Jack Nicklaus is now 81. Could he hit a golf ball 280 yards today or seven years ago like he did in the 70’s? Then why should I be able to average 221 at age 73? Trust me, like everyone else,I’m not that good. I just have good equipment and easy synthetic lanes with a good oil pattern.

    The very reason why bowling will “never” be in the Olympics.
    It has absolutely nothing to do with your ability, but with your equipment. I have a saying; “when everyone will be good,there will be no more good players!”

    i was a proprietor that owned two centers. Just like ever other proprietor in the city, state and country we blocked the lanes for higher scores. It wasn’t something I condoned but strictly a matter of keeping my bowlers from leaving and going to another high scoring center. It came down to nothing more than a business decision.

    My many high up friends at the ABC knew of the lane conditioning problems but there was no solution without the fear of loosing ABC membership and proprietors refusing to sanction their leagues.
    Yet the technology of more aggressive cover stocks and weight blocks kept being approved by the ABC and introduced to the public.

    I can remember in the 60’s, when you got into a slump bowlers would go out and practice six to ten games. Today, they don’t practice. It’s easier to go out and buy a new $300 bowling ball. I worked at a center in the early 60’s as a pinchaser. When their classic league would finish I would ask some of the bowlers I knew, how they bowled? Being satisfied with their score, many would say 570 or 585 or even an occasional small six, meaning 605 to 615.
    Today if a bowler shoots 615, he goes home and beats up his wife!

    Proof is in the following statistics that I received directy from the USBC Arlington, Texas a couple of years ago. The number of sanctioned bowlers is at a staggering low.

    1968-69 11 million sanctioned 905 – 300’s
    1998-99 2.5 million ” 36,178 – 300’s
    2014-15 1.3 million ” 45,100 – 300;s

    45,100 – 300’s represents 1 bowler in every 28 will shoot a 300 game!
    it’s a very sad situation. One of my friends told me that he bowls in a “sport condition” league and averages 210. I told him yes, but you are still bowling with agressive equipment. Take a Columbia yellow dot the next time you bowl on the so-called “sport condition” and let’s see you shoot 630?

  4. Robert Schumacher Says:

    Marty, I feel your pain. The game as presently offered to the general public is not anything I care to participate in, but everyone is different. Each of us can make his or her own decisions. I urge you to do some research and see if you can determine who owns the patent of plastic lane surfaces; then do the same for metal lane surfaces. Then contact those companies and ask them why they’ve not acted on their patents. The future of the game/sport, and there will be a future, will be determined by the popular response to either metal or plastic lane surfaces. That’s the good news. The bad news is many of us won’t live long enough to see either system implemented.

    • Marty Says:

      Unfortunately, regardless of what type of lane surface is developed, it won’t take long before the system is hacked once again. There is no future in the game of bowling. I wonder how long the USBC will keep it’s doors open.

      “Denial of the obvious does not diminish the obvious!”

  5. Gunther Wagner Says:

    Like Bob, my memory is losing its’ recall.I do remember Bowling in the North End Traveling League back in the late 50;s and early 60’s for Dymond & Anderson Construction. One year at Niles I think, we bowled against Buddy’s team (Munsingwear?) and the first game
    everyone on his team started with five in a row. I bowled lead off and turned to face the crowd before rolling my ball in the sixth and said” I don’t know about you but I got the best seat in the house” Everyone
    broke up. I think they finished with 1244, state high at the time.
    And yes, let’s do one ball, not 2-3 .You used your ability to adjust to the lanes not grab ball # 12 off the rack because of lanes breaking down.
    Regarding Faetz, i averaged 198 and finished 52nd on the sheet, The next year, using left over finish from the TV bowling show I again
    averaged 198 in the All Star league and finished 9th. The league went south after that.

  6. Marty San Felippo Says:

    Gunther, you lend credability to my point exactly! Having worked in a bowling center at age 17 in 1962, I know first hand that lanes were set up for high scores. You mentioned averaging 198 and finishing 52nd on the league standing sheet suggests fun and games with the lanes oiling pattern prior to the league starting time. On a truly “legal” lane condition in the early 60’s a 198 average with a league roster of 60 men would be in the top 6 or 7 and the leagues high average might be 202.
    I just wish that proprietors from the past would put aside their denial and tell it the way it “was!” I actually relish talking about it!
    When an honor score was bowled it was the centers responsibility to call their local bowling association to inspect the lanes for an ABC complying lane condition. I and a few other proprietors in the city were famous for holding “free bowling parties” after an award score was bowled to change the illegal lane condition to a legal condition. Balls were thrown all over the width of the lane in an effort to move the oil from an illegal condition to a legal condition, the purpose of which was to award the bowler his 300 or 800 ring for a job “only moderately well done!” Haha! We did this because it was not uncommon for the ABC’s local association lane inspection person to arrive at the center before closing time.
    In retrospect, the real humor in this was that my center and at least 5 other centers in the city had a reputation for high scores. I can only immagine the local association person receiving a wake up call at 11:30pm advising him of an honor score. Having been awakened from a restful sleep, they would enter the center not only with bloodshot eyes but also with blood in their eyes. It would take an idiot to not realize that this particular center was not following the lane conditioning guide lines set by the ABC. The problem was they would have to prove it by inspecting the lanes and filing a lane inspection report to the ABC signed by both proprietor and local asscociation representative.
    The bowling party would take about 30 to 40 minutes. The lane’s condition after the party was so screwed up it would make the Petersen Classic in Chicago look like a dream center. Needless to say, the lane inspection report would read: “lanes in compliance!” You could see it in the inspectors eyes, facial expression and demeanor, they not only knew they had been duped but that they had lost a good three hours of sleep with abso!utely no personal reward. Their ultimate mission was to nail the proprietor with a lane inspection report denying the award.
    What added to the humor of this entire scenario is in addition to a 6:30 and a 9:00pm league, I was fortunate to have midnight leagues Monday thru Thursday nights. That meant the lane inspector could not inspect the lanes until the following morning. It gave me all night to change the lane condition.
    Now, lets be totally honest! Am i proud of what I did? Not in the least! But as an owner with a mortgage, I did what I had to do to stay competitive and to stay in business. As mentioned there were 5 other centers that had high scoring leagues. I had 4 good leagues a week with the lowest 5-man team average of 900 and our Classic League was 1050. If I didn’t put out a high scoring condition, I would be in jeopardy of loosing bowlers to another high scoring center. Most other centers in the city cattered to ladies or mens lower handicap leagues, Those proprietors didn’t have to worry about a high scoring condition because a 160 average player on a high scoring lane pattern will still average 160.
    For our higher scoring leagues it was not uncommon to have many spectators or on-lookers watching the bowlers in hopes of seeing a perfect game or an 800 series. That meant additional bar and food business.
    I welcome any other proprietors or bowlers from the past to share their pros, cons or insight from their personal experience.
    Thank you for taking the time to read.


    • J.R. Schmidt Says:

      Marty (and Gunther, and Robert, and others)–
      Thanks for the comments—and keep on in the future. I’m glad that this blog has become something of an open forum.

  7. Marty San Felippo Says:

    My hopes would be to stimulate some interest and comments either pro or con regarding the bowling industry, past or present.
    I think an open forum could develope some interesting conversations.

  8. bob hendricks Says:

    Thank you all for the stories and facts.

  9. Gunther Wagner Says:

    Before I forget, I bowled as Dick “WAGS” Wagner, not related to Chuck Wagner who also had a brother named Dick. At Faetz, I enjoyed bowling for Pabst, O’Keefes and La Batts. The beer reps
    would drop by and that is what you drank for the night. Biasettis
    often dropped off pizza after the league ended and we played liars
    dollars in the booths in the bar. The pot games were cheap, two for five, shot on the TV lanes of 5 and 6..

  10. Dave Says:

    Dad bowled in pot games with Buddy Bomar and other name bowlers at a popular Bowling Alley near 68th and South Shore Drive (?) on the second floor. Loved the huge place when I was a kid. Pop told me Buddy Bomar threw a 300 once by striking out in the tenth with three Brooklyns. Everyone else claimed he was lucky. Pop was the only one who congratulated him on hitting exactly the same target on the second two balls. This was long before Glenn was cheated out of his 900. Love bowling, “hate” its officials and their failure to keep its scoring meaningful.

  11. Marty San Felippo Says:

    Dave, I was raised in Milwaukee. Like Chicago those two cities were havens for bowling as well as their stories..I especially enjoyed your last line: “Love bowling, “hate” its officials and their failure to keep its scoring meaningful!” Please elaborate. Believe me, I could talk for hours regarding bowling and its slow demise.
    What bothers me, am I the only one reading these blogs that is opinionated. I would love to hear from other readers on their pro or con feelings.

    • Dave Says:

      Marty, once (with my handicap of course) I beat Carmen Salvino in the first half of a tournament by averaging 180. Bowling conditions were not as tough for non-pros as for pros, but they were close. 180 was a respected non-pro average in a scratch league, and five member scratch and handicap leagues were common. Bowling alleys were all over the place and courtesy was also common. Then, Glenn Allison was cheated out of his 900 reward when 800s were rare. Now, bowling alleys are few and far between. Why?

      Bowling balls improved considerably, but instead of making lane conditions tougher, bowling’s officialdom allowed lane conditions to become super easy. A 180 average has become ordinary. Five member teams and bowling courtesy have become an exception. Bowling’s officialdom has taken the challenge and honor out of bowling. No excuse for it, consider golf.

      Golf equipment has improved considerably, but golf’s courses have become tougher, not easier. Sam Snead shot a 59 in ’59. Sub-60 is still a rarity. Golf is still a challenge, and rather popular.

  12. Marty San Felippo Says:

    Hola Dave; You are correct on your golf comment. What use to be a par 5 is now a par 4. The USGA has kept the games integrity in check by changing the parameters of a “real” sport. I am not bitter the bowling industry has provided me with a great retirement, I am just being honest.

    You mentioned Carmen Salvino. He bowled at Habettlers when I was general manager in 1967 of Holiday Bowl a 64 lane center on Harlem Ave. I met the “spook” at Habettler Bowl and again at a pba tournament in Milwaukee. I am originally from Milwaukee and owned two centers from 1980/1996.

    Allow me to address Mr. 900, Glenn Allison. In 1984 I took a vacation to the L.A. area. I always traveled with my equipment back then. I wanted to go to La Habra 300 where Glenn bowled his 900 series. I engaged in a conversation with a lady who I believe was the manager of La Habra. When she found out that I was a proprietor from Milwaukee, the conversation changed rather quickly. According to her, lanes 13-14 (900) were not inspected by the ABC for I believe two weeks after the tri-fecta was bowled. That in itself is nonsense.
    Why wasn’t a local inspector present the next day. You don’t send the police to investigate an car accident after they have been towed away, especially two weeks later.
    In Milwaukee, honor score lane conditions were checked the evening they were bowled or no later than the following morning.. Proprietors had to report the honor score to their local association as soon as it was bowled.
    If an honor score was bowled in one of my leagues, even with an illegal lane condition (according to the ABC) it passed because I had 4:00, 6:30, 9:00 and a midnight leagues Monday thru Thursday nights and by the time the inspector got to the center the following morning the lanes were legal because of all the linage. Friday nights was a different story. That’s when I would have a free “bowling party” to get the lanes back into compliance. Naturally the score passed and the lane inspection report read, “in compliance!”
    What I did was not right but in line with what other proprietors of the five other high score centers did. It wasn’t correct but it was a matter of survival. If my higher average bowlers didn’t score, they would leave and go to a center that offered high scores. And don’t kid yourself, they were blocking their lanes also. I am the only proprietor that was honest enough to admit what we all did.

    Now you asked the question why? In my opinion, the ABC didn’t want to set a precedent of acknowledging a 900. it was a matter of keeping “integrity” in the sport. ABC kept approving more aggressive balls since the late 70’s as well as pins, lane surfaces etc. This was the downfall off the sport of bowling and it took control. ABC was backed into a corner. Had they “not” approved the new aggressive balls, the manufacturers would have made them and the bowlers would have bought them. How can you check to see if a bowler is using a non-ABC approved ball in an ABC sanctioned league.

    ABC mens membership in 1968-69 was 11 million with only 905, 300’s nationwide. In 2014-15, membership dropped to 1.3 million bowlers and there were 45,100, 300 games. Last count there were 20-900;s bowled and I believe approved. One man in New York bowled 2-900’s one week apart.

    Bowling is no longer a sport but a recreational game. If you have only “half a game” today you can average 200 plus with a new agressive ball and a good lane condition which can be found in any bowling center. Once again in my opinion, how long will the USBC be able to keep it’s doors open with the ridiculous scores being bowled. It is actually a “JOKE!”

    As I mentioned in a previous article, two years ago at age 73, my league average was 221. I dare anyone to show me any professional athlete that at the age of 73 he/she can be as good as they were at the age of 25 to 35. Then why should I be able to average 221. The game has gone to hell and is not coming back.

    Let’s bring back the 60’s….wood lanes, pins without double voids, lane oil that could be used in your car’s crankcase, and bowling balls that were hard rubber and non-aggressive. Now, let the proprietor block the hell out of the lanes and you will cut the honor scores bowled by 95%. The only problem is bowlers would not enjoy averaging 185 instead of 230. CASE CLOSED !!!

    P.S. Hope there are some older proprietors out there that can add either additional comments, good or bad.

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