Throwback Thursday 11/16/17: “Perfect games becoming more common on lanes”

“It is the goal (dream?) of many bowlers to, someday, bowl a 300 game. For the majority, this goal is never reached, even though perfect games are occurring frequently, both in the Quad-Cities and across the nation.

This column has reported 29 300 games thus far this season. I am confident that there have been others that did not reach me. Of those I have written about, four were by female bowlers.

Last season, there were 48,674 perfect games bowled by ABC members, while those sanctioned by the WIBC accumulated only 1,060 such scores. Both of those figures reflect a scoring pace that was unheard of not too many years ago.

Then came a span of 20 years before another Tri-City Classic 300 was bowled. In the 1957-58 season, two such games occurred, an event worthy of considerable print in local newspapers.

Moline’s Don Johnson was the next to hit 300 in the league in 1978, some 21 years further along in Tri-City Classic history.

Entering the 2005-06 season, a total of 272 perfect games have been bowled in that high-scoring league, with all but eight coming in the last 23 seasons. The league recorded an astounding 45 300 games during the 2003-04 season.

A.C. Jellison of St. Louis was the first to receive an award from the ABC for having bowled a 300 game. This took place Dec. 15, 1908. Jenny Hoverson Kelleher had the first perfect game recognized by the WIBC. The Madison, Wis., bowler tossed a 300 game Feb. 12, 1930.

There are many reasons why 300 games are happening with an increasing frequency. Let’s give credit, first, to the ability level of present-day bowlers. Pair that with an array of bowling balls that provide many options for those bowlers. Add to the equation lane conditions that, while legal under USBC requirements, allow for an easier path to the pocket.

Yes, tougher conditions are made possible by adjusting the lane maintenance machines. These more difficult conditions have been used, occasionally, in leagues and tournaments. The typical “house” conditions will keep those 300 games occurring on a more-or-less frequent basis.”

-Cal Whitmore
The Rock Island Argus
December 24, 2005

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