In the Pocket: Schenectady League in need of bowlers to survive
One of Schenectady’s oldest — and strongest — major leagues needs a helping hand.
The Schenectady League, which bowls Monday nights at Rolling Greens in Scotia, needs at least a handful of bowlers to survive this season.
“I don’t want to see it fold,” said longtime secretary Cliff Ruth, who has held that position on and off for a 17 seasons since he first joined the league in 1972. “Right now, we’ve got about 13 or 14 bowlers. We’re looking at trying to get enough teams to keep the league going. Currently, we have several four-man teams. We even kicked around the possibility of switching to three-man teams, but once you drop bowlers and start switching formats, you never get it back.
“We had a meeting the other night, and nobody wants to fold.”
Ruth said if the league can’t get started in the next few weeks, it may try to start up in January, but he’s hoping it doesn’t come to that.
“We plan on going 28 weeks, and charging $25 a week,” he said. “We start at 6:30 p.m., and we’re usually done by 8:45. Right now, we want to get at least 16 bowlers to have a full league, and then maybe we can start thinking about 20.”
Ruth said the league will use a draft format, with the top four bowlers choosing players. There is currently a 190 average requirement.
The Schenectady League began in 1932 and has competed all over the city, from Woodlawn Lanes to Empire Lanes, which eventually became Revere Lanes, and then on to the old Rolling Greens on Hamburg Street. When the roof collapsed at the old RG, the league moved to Boulevard Bowl for a brief stint before settling in at Rolling Greens.
Ruth, who once held the SBA record for highest triple, is one of the many all-star caliber bowlers who have belonged to the league. Other standouts over the years include the legendary Dick Peckham, Hugo McGroty, Larry Janetsky, Fred Ramundo, Hank Dodge (who owns the league record for most games bowled) Keith Lawyer, Tony Palumbo, Larry Trombley Jr. and many others.
In my research on the league, I saw some other memorable names, including the late Hal Buell, the former Gazette bowling writer and columnist; Tony Debiase, Pete Galvin and John Mastro.
Anyone interested in joining the league should call Ruth (847-8089) or Rolling Greens (381-4848).
STRIKES & SPARES
The third season of the New Era Senior Tournaments (NEST) begins Sept. 21 at Sportsman’s Bowl at 2 p.m. This will also be a combined event with the area women.
Towne Bowling Academy’s Scratch Challenge has a few spots available for the Oct. 13 event. Bowling begins at 9:30 a.m. Call Towne at 355-3939 for more information.
This year’s Schenectady Bowling Association City Tournament will be held at Burnt Hills Lanes. More details later in the season.
A new league, with NASCAR scoring, is forming at Burnt Hills Lanes. The league will bowl 16 weeks every other Saturday night at 6:30. Handicap is based on 90 percent of 240. Three-person teams will bowl four games. Dues are $20 per person. If the league gets 20 teams, top prize will be $4,500, with a minimum of $300 for last place. The league starts Sept. 28. Call Chris Fawcett at 337-8128 or Burnt Hills Lanes at 399-0999.
Bill Douglas of the Gazette league rolled the first perfect game on the new synthetic lane surface at Sportsman’s Bowl. Douglas finished with a 782 triple, a pin shy of his career high.
Four-time Professional Bowlers Association champion Gus Lampo is the new manager of the Cobleskill Bowling Center. Lampo was a mainstay on the PBA Tour in the early 1970s. He won the Showboat Invitational and the Cougar Open on national TV in 1972. He was the third-leading winner on the PBA Tour that year and has 34 perfect games to his credit. Lampo is a member of the New York State, Oneonta, Binghamton and Cortland bowling halls of fame.
The inaugural Sparky’s Doubles Challenge will be held Sept. 29 at Sportsman’s Bowl. Entry fee will be $100 per team. The format will be four games across the entire house. Two games will be on a challenge pattern, and two games will be on a house shot. Prize payout will be 1 in 5, with a first-place prize of $1,500, based on the maximum of 42 teams. The top four teams advance to a stepladder finals. Call Sportsman’s at 355-4330 for more information.
Six-time PBA Tour champion Les Schissler of Brighton, Colo., died recently at the age of 83. Schissler won the 1967 All-Star Tournament (now the U.S. Open) for his only major title. Schissler, a member of the USBC Hall of Fame, was also a three-time USBC Open Championships titlist, winning Classic singles, all-events and team titles in 1966. In 1967, he bowled a 300 game in the USBC Classic team event, the first 300 game ever rolled in team competition of the prestigious tournament.
Tournament bowlers will have quite a selection to choose from this year, with the Northern Bowlers Association, the Huck Finn, the NEST and a full slate of point tournaments at Towne Bowling Academy. Stay tuned for more information as we move along this season.