Numbers, numbers and more numbers.
When I first hit the printer key on my computer, I wasn’t sure they would all show up, but there they were, 20 pages of Schenectady League statistics.
What a roster of many of the best bowlers ever to compete in our area.
Started in 1932, the Schenectady League has continued its fine tradition as one of the USBC Schenectady Bowling Association’s three remaining “Monday Majors.”
“I believed the league may have started at the old Woodlawn Lanes,” said secretary Cliff Ruth. “Eventually, it went to Empire Lanes, which changed to Revere Lanes. When Revere was sold, the league went to the old Rolling Greens on Hamburg Street. There was a brief stint at Boulevard when the roof collapsed at Rolling Greens, and then the league moved to the old Scotia Lanes building, which is now the new Rolling Greens.”
Ruth began bowling in the league when he was 18, and won six league titles with the old Schenectady Press team.
“That’s when I learned to play the boards, not an area,” he said. “In those days, you had lacquer finishes. Gene Mastro did the lanes by hand. He would strip the oil, put some on a cloth, and then push it down the lanes. You didn’t have an area to shoot for back then. If you had two boards, you had a good night. You had to be very straight and very sharp. If you could bowl on those conditions, you could bowl anywhere. Spares were the name of the game.”
Ruth said Hank Dodge, who owns the league record for most games bowled with 4,824, was the longtime secretary before he took over at Revere. Hugo McGroty, Larry Janetsky and Fred Ramundo were other secretaries of the league until Ruth returned as secretary again five years ago.
“I love stats, so I don’t mind
being secretary,” he said. “The only really tough times are the first few weeks, when you’re trying to get everybody sanctioned, and the week of the banquet, when you’re getting all the money together.”
The Schenectady League has had its ups and downs over the years, and has been hard hit by a dropoff in bowlers.
“We have a vacant team, unfortunately. Bowling is slowing down, and it’s hard to keep some of the leagues together,” he said. “We could have folded a couple of years ago, but the guys said they wanted to keep it together, and so we did. We got down to six teams for a while. Now, we’re back up to seven, with the one vacant team. Next year, we want to get it back up to eight.”
Ruth and Dick Peckham, two of the area’s straighest bowlers, continue to be mainstays in the Schenectady League.
“Dick is still amazing,” Ruth said. “He’s still leading the league in
average at 231. Although he drilled up a new ball recently, he’s got an old Axe, a urethane ball, that he prefers to use. He still plays the same line. If he was at Boulevard Bowl or at Sportsman’s Bowl, he would still play the same line. He’s even straighter than I am. He can really bowl. He grew up at a time when you had to bowl straight to score. He can bowl anywhere.”
Ruth’s 226 average is second, followed by Keith Lawyer (224), Steve Shultes (223) and Tony Palumbo (223).
“It’s an extremely competitive league,” said Ruth. “Lawyer’s
Mohawk Skill Games won the first half, and they recently beat us pretty good to regain the lead in this half. It’s Keith and three lefties — Larry Trombley Jr., Palumbo and Tim Disbrow. They really jell as a team. I think that’s the key. You can have the top four average guys in the league, but you may not necessarily win if you don’t have team chemistry.”
Cliff pointed out that the Schenectady League has a unique scoring system that keeps all the teams involved into the end of the season.
“We have a 24-point system where you get one point per game, two points for team, two points for total and one for individual total. In the first half, with two or three weeks left, there were six or seven teams that still had a chance to win. In other leagues, after 12 weeks, the bottom teams have no shot.
“We also pay on a per-point
basis. There is not only team money involved, but every bowler gets $2.30 per point they win. This way, everyone stays involved. We used to four-point system [one point per game and one point for total], but we changed it.”
Some interesting names off the league’s data base include Hal Buell, the late Gazette bowling writer and columnist, who bowled in 206 games; Tony Debiase, who rolled 1,247 games; Pete Galvin, who averaged 197.29 over 686 games; Janetsky, who carried a 204.06
average for an amazing 3,349 games; Mastro, who recorded an average of 187 over 2,139 games in an era of much lower scoring; and Peckham, whose 230.91 average in 1,275 games is remarkable.
“I give all the kudos to our league members for keeping this league together,” said Ruth. “They deserve all the credit.”
HUCK FINN UPDATE
There has been a change for the next Huck Finn/Northeast Bowling Proprietors of New York “Capital Region Bowling Show” qualifier the weekend of Feb. 16-17.
Although the Saturday, Feb. 16 qualifier will still be held at Green Island Lanes, at 1:30 and 3:30 p.m., the Sunday qualifiers and finals will be held at Hi-Roc Lanes at 9:30 and 11:30 a.m. Call Jeff Segel at 371-1444 for more information.
Meanwhile, the four teams advancing to the finals from Sunday’s Super Bowl Doubles qualifier were Don Cross with Craig Smith, Bob DiNuzzo with Craig Taylor, Mike Drexel with Joe Mazuryk and Nunzi Manuli with Ron Unser.
STRIKES & SPARES
u The Northern Bowlers Association’s “Sportsman’s Open” will be held Sunday at Sportsman’s Bowl at 10 a.m. The format will be a five-game sweeper. Entry fee is $50. There will be a minimum of $400 added to the prize fund. First place will be $850 guaranteed, based on 50 entries.
u Ross Van Nostrand of Gloversville rolled a perfect game during the Foothills Council Bowling Tournament. Sean Burnham of Hudson Falls rolled the high triple with a 745, while Jason Palmer of Scotia-Glenville shot the best six-game block (1,442). Scotia-Glenville and Hudson Falls tied for high overall pinfall with 6,336.
u The lineup is set for the Monday Majors Showdown, with the first round scheduled for March 2, 4:30 p.m., at Boulevard Bowl. The tournament, which benefits the Schenectady Kiwanis Club and its children’s fund, will pit the Sportsman’s Major against the Schenectady League. Sportsman’s lineup will include Mike Smith, Mike Guidarelli, Bob Tedesco and Fred McMahon. Schenectady counters with a lineup of Ruth, Lawyer, Shultes and Palumbo. The first game will be a team match. The second game will be a pair of doubles matches, and the third game will be four singles matches. Smith and Guidarelli will take on Ruth and Lawyer in one doubles match, while Tedesco and
McMahon square off against Shultes and Palumbo in the other match. Singles matches put Smith against Ruth, Guidarelli against Lawyer, Tedesco against Shultes and McMahon against Palumbo. Each match is worth one point. The winning team advances to play the City League the next week. The City League roster includes Joe Vanderlinden, Mark Ray, Skip
Vigars Jr. and Tommy Donato.
u Carol Ann Lemon recently rolled her first career 600 triple with a 232-628 in the Office Services league.
u Guilderland High School won the Suburban Council bowling championship.
u The Sportsman’s Bowl Tavern Tournament will be held Feb. 17 at 1 p.m. Entry fee for the five-person event will be $100 per team. One in six teams cash. First place will be $500 guaranteed, based on 28 teams. A buffet will be served after bowling.
u The sixth annual Joe Donato Scratch Singles tournament will hold its first qualifier Feb. 23 at Uncle Sam Lanes at 3 p.m. Qualifiers continue through March 16, the day of the finals. Entry fee is $40 for most of the qualifiers, although the fee increases to $50 on March 15
and March 16. First place will be $4,000 guaranteed. Lee Aiezza is the defending champion.
u The Edgewood league is sponsoring a Rock ’n Bowl tournament Feb. 15 at 10 p.m. at Towne Bowling Academy. Entry fee is $10. The tournament benefits the Schonowewe Preschool’s class for children with special needs. Call Towne Bowling Academy for more information.
u The Galaxy league, which bowls at Boulevard Bowl, has seen some hot scoring lately, particular in the perfect game department. In the last two weeks, five 300s were recorded. Chamar Goodwin, Doug Hopkins and Jim Gladd Sr. each rolled 300s last week, while Palumbo and Chuck Tessitore fired perfect games the previous week.
u The 12th annual Blizzard Bowl, one of the top events for a wide range of bowlers, including the scratch players and the handicap bowlers looking for a fun night out, will kick off its six-squad run March 4
at 11:30 a.m. at Boulevard Bowl. Other squads are March 11 at 10 a.m., March 18 at 11:30 a.m., March 25 at 11:30 a.m., April 1 at 11:30 a.m. and April 14 at 9:30 p.m. The four-person team event entry fee is $60. There is an optional doubles fee for $10 and an optional singles fee of $5. Top prize for the team event will be $2,000 guaranteed, based on 150 teams. First place for doubles will be $400, and first place for singles will be $200. Contact Boulevard Bowl for more information.
u A few notes from the PBA Tour, which starts up again this week after a one-week absence (televised shows you saw were pre-taped). Michael Fagan became just the ninth bowler to win a doubles event for his first career Denny’s PBA Tour title and the first since Jason Hurd teamed up with Johnny Petraglia to win the 1999 National Senior Doubles. Fagan is just the fourth to accomplish the feat in a doubles event that did not feature senior bowlers. The last time a first-timer won a touring-pros only doubles event was Gil Sliker, who teamed up with Mike Durbin to win the 1983 Showboat Doubles Classic. Meanwhile, after Walter Ray Williams Jr. appeared to be running away with his seventh career PBA Player of the Year award, the race has tightened, with Patrick Allen, Chris Barnes, Mike Haugen Jr. and Wes Malott tightning up the chase. Haugen is just four points behind Williams, while Allen, Barnes and Malott are only six points apart.