SCHENECTADY – Schenectady USBC Bowling Association Hall of Famer Steve Renzi is ending one era, but continuing several others in his stellar career on the lanes.
The Schalmont High School and Clarkson University graduate is stepping down after 38 years as secretary/treasurer of the high-powered Sportsman’s Majors league. That doesn’t mean the 67-year-old standout is giving up his favorite sport, but now he can concentrate more on his performance and simply having a good time, instead of worrying about taking care of his administrative duties.
“Bowling organizations need leadership, but it shouldn’t be coming from a bunch of people approaching 70,” Renzi said with a laugh. “I remember the guy who used to run the Scotia Majors, which eventually turned into the Sportsman’s Majors, asking me if I would take over, and I said, ‘Why not?’ I’d like to think the younger generation will be doing the same thing.”
Renzi has a long history of service as a bowling administrator. He was the secretary-treasurer of the Rotterdam Classic for 15 years, served as the treasurer for the Towne Majors a couple of seasons and also has been helping out Mark Ray with the Vitalo Classic, another league where he once served as an officer, both as president and vice president.
Renzi also has been a stalwart on the Schenectady USBC Bowling Association board of directors, serving as a director from 2000 to 2004, vice president in 2005-06 and president from 2007 to 2017. He stepped down as president when the SBA merged with the Schenectady-Scotia Women’s Bowling Association and the Schenectady Junior Bowling Association in 2017.
Renzi served on the Schenectady Junior Bowling Association board for eight years, and has been the Schenectady USBC Bowling Association’s treasurer since 2017.
“It will be a little weird walking in on Monday nights, paying my $25 and just bowling,” Renzi said. “All of these years, I’ve had many responsibilities beyond bowling. I’ve had my routine getting everything ready, and then going into the back room after bowling to put all the stats on my thumb drive. It definitely will be a little different not handling all those duties, but I’m looking forward to it.”
Renzi is an extraordinary administrator, but his skills on the lanes are also noteworthy. He was inducted into the SBA Hall of Fame in 2009 for both meritorious service and achievement. Renzi owns a composite average of 215 over 45 seasons – pretty impressive. He’s rolled 26 perfect games, 13 800 triples and won two high-average titles to go along with five league championships.
Renzi averaged as high as 238 in the Vitalo Classic, tying Hugo McGroty for second place behind Mark Ray. He has a high triple of 836 and a top four-game series of 1,067. One of his average titles was in the Rotterdam Classic, where he edged the legendary Kenny Hall in the last week of the season with a 221 average.
Obviously, having bowled for more than four decades, Renzi has plenty of great memories. One of his favorites was watching his son, Michael, roll a 267 to win his team’s only point in a Joey Schmidt Capital District Junior Pro-Scoring league match against a powerhouse Burnt Hills team. He also holds a pair of old trophies very close to his heart — winning the Father/Son, later called the Adult/Child, in 1972 with his late father and then again with his son.
“I’ve kept both those trophies,” he said.
His first perfect game was in 1979, four days after his grandfather died.
“I walked into the lanes and people were giving me their condolences. I remember saying it would be nice to shoot 300 for my grandfather, and I did,” he said.
Renzi, who has made the trip to the USBC National Championships 35 times, has been extremely successful in all of the SBA City Championship events, once winning the all-events after shooting a pair of 800 triples and a 780. He’s won numerous City Championships, including one year at Towne Bowling Academy where he combined with Amy Juliano, Ryan Gahan and JP Harrell to shoot the top four-game team total in the nation for that season.
Renzi also recalls fondly one of his favorite Sportsman’s Majors teams, including Bill Buell and both Bob Siatkowski and Bob Siatkowski Jr., that won three titles in a row in the late 1980s.
“The Sportsman’s Majors has been one of the best leagues in the Capital Region for many years,” Renzi said. “We’ve had Hall of Fame bowlers from our association, the Albany association and the Troy association. Recently, we’ve had some teams like Muni Grille with the Diamond brothers, Dave Bingham and John Musto Jr. winning quite a lot. We’ve had runs where some very strong teams would put on a stretch of championships but then eventually another strong team would take over.
“Looking back, I remember Tom Donato averaging 230 one year when the next guy shot 208. He dominated the league that year. Then there was Harry Polomaine’s Concord Pool team that still holds our 5-Man team record to this day. We’ve had so many great bowlers like Rit Carney and so many others. Back in the day, there were four great scratch leagues on Monday nights.”
Renzi , whose love for the New York Yankees rivals his kegling passion, still plans on bowling quite a bit, and he won’t give up his administrative duties completely as he remains the SBA treasurer.
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STRIKES & SPARES
The Amateur League Bowling Association of Albany will kick off its season with a special “members only” event Sept. 25 at Uncle Sam Lanes in Troy. Regular singles tournaments for bowlers with averages less than 215 will be held in October, November, January and March. A doubles event is set for December at Town ‘N Country Lanes, and the Main Event is scheduled for April 23 at Spare Time Latham. A couple of other “bonus” events for members are also in the works.
It was sad to see the obituary this week of Emerson “Em” Tuttle, who died at age 86. He was the former owner of two defunct bowling centers, Skyway Lanes and Scotia Lanes. He was well known for putting together many successful teams for national events.
Former PBA50 Player of the Year Brian LeClair, the proprietor of Revolutions Pro Shops at both Boulevard Bowl and Del Lanes, finished 10th in the Player of the Year standings with $16,525 earned in 12 events. He finished strong in his last event of the summer, making the stepladder finals.
Kingpin’s Alley Family Fun Center hosts the RPI Open Eastern Regional Sept. 16-18.
Town ’N Country Lanes will offer a Challenge Night sweeper event every Wednesday night beginning Sept. 21 for 24 weeks. Various Challenge/Sport compliant oil patterns will be used. Dues will be $20 per week and there will be clean pots and eliminators every week. Call 518-881-5054 for more information.
The very popular and lucrative Monday Night Summer NFL circuit at Boulevard Bowl finished up this week with its playoffs. Congratulations to the Green Bay Packers (Spark Derenzo, Jim Gulneck and Mike Scaccia) for claiming the $7,500 top prize for the team championship in the Super Bowl and to Connor Stoliker for winning the $1,000 NFL Shootout.
Towne Bowling Academy is looking for one more team to fill out a 20-team roster for the Reis Group Kim Brown Memorial City League on Monday nights at 6:30.
Also at Towne Bowling Academy, the Reis Group Kim Brown Memorial Mixed Doubles league is looking for one more team on Wednesday nights at 8:55. Contract Debbie Capullo for more information.
Reach Bob Weiner at [email protected].