1978 PBA Tour Replay: a lane change


Having previously played APBA Baseball and Football, Statis-Pro NBA Basketball and the Title Bout boxing game, I’ve recently added another game to my replay repertoire: the APBA Pro Bowling Game, which was only produced from 1979-19911Somewhat mirroring the decline of bowling as a sport..

I’m not a big bowler (I only hit the lanes about once every couple of years, and don’t do well), but the game is fun and fast and interesting and I’m always up for a trip to the 70s. I recently acquired the original game and 48 bowlers’ cards representing the 1978 PBA Tour season, so I’m in the midst of a replay that, so far, has been a blast.

Like the other APBA offerings, the bowling game uses individual player cards mathematically created to replicate each player’s previous season’s accomplishments. Bowlers have a strike column and a spare column, whose results show if a kegler has knocked ’em all down or left a tough spare or split. (There are lots of all of those, as well as drama and fantastic finishes.) Perhaps best of all, APBA accuracy comes with brevity, as you can play a game in under 15 minutes and replay the entire stepladder finals of a tournament 2 For the uninitiated, PBA tournaments ran for most of a week, and the top five players in terms of total pins advanced to the stepladder finals (which were a mainstay on ABC for many years with Chris Schenkel and Nelson Burton, Jr. on the call). The fifth place bowler would face the fourth-place qualifier, with the winner advancing to play the third qualifier, that winner going on to meet number two and the number one qualifier waiting at the end for the survivor. in about an hour.

I’ve played the stepladders of the first eight tournaments on the 1978 PBA Tour schedule so far, and the results are below.

Only 48 (50 in later years) of the hundreds of touring pros earned an APBA card in a given year, based on their previous year’s scoring averages and overall play. So there are several instances where a player or two who made the stepladder finals in a given tournament weren’t carded that year. In those cases, I’ve taken the five players from the card set who finished the highest in qualifying in that tournament, based on the historical recaps on the PBA’s website3It’s not perfect, but I’m not expressing pi to 300 decimal places here; it’s a bowling simulation game from 37 years ago.. I’ve indicated where I’ve substituted a carded player for an un-carded one in a replay by italicizing the player who has subbed in.

$100,000 Lite Classic
Jan. 4 – 7, 1978 at Gable House, Torrance, California

Gary Dickinson won two matches by a total of eight pins to get to the championship game, then overwhelmed top-seeded Mark Roth 243-190 to win the $100,000 Lite Classic Saturday afternoon at Globe House in Torrence, California.

Roth, whose game was hampered by a painfully infected ring finger, could not get untracked in the title match, as he managed just two strikes. Meanwhile, Dickinson rolled strikes in seven of the first eight frames and won going away to claim the $15,000 first prize.

Dickinson had beaten fourth-seeded Rick Mintier 193-187 on the final roll of the second match and had held off second-seeded Joe Nuzzo 198-196 in the semifinal.

1Gary DickinsonFort Worth, Texas6343211.3$15,000
2Mark RothStaten Island, New York1901190.0$8,000
3Joe NuzzoYoungstown, Ohio1961196.0$6,000
4Rick MinierPortland, Oregon4052202.5$5,000
5Joe GroskindMemphis, Tennessee1891189.0$4,000
Playoff Results: #4 Minier d. #5 Groskind 218-189. #3 Dickinson d. #4 Minier 193-187. #3 Dickinson d. #2 Nuzzo 198-196. #3 Dickinson d. #1 Roth 243-190.

$90,000 Ford Open
Jan. 10 – 14, 1978 at Mal’s Southshore Bowl, Alameda, California

George Pappas closed with five consecutive strikes to defeat top-seeded Marshall Holman 224-201 and win the $90,000 Ford Open Saturday afternoon at Mal’s Southshore Bowl in Alameda, California.

Pappas, who had routed fourth-seeded Fred Conner in the semifinal 268-204, trailed Holman by as many as 12 pins midway through the championship game, but turned it on late to win the $12,000 first prize.

Conner had beaten Les Zikes and Don Johnson before running into Pappas’ buzzsaw in the semifinal.

1George PappasCharlotte, North Carolina4922246.0$12,000
2Marshall HolmanMedford, Oregon2011201.0$7,000
3Fred ConnerMar Vista, California6333211.0$5,000
4Don JohnsonLas Vegas, Nevada1911191.0$4,000
5Les ZikesPalatine, Illinois1971197.0$3,500
Playoff Results: #4 Conner d. #5 Zikes 221-197. #4 Conner d. #3 Johnson 208-191.#2 Pappas d. #4 Conner 268-204. #2 Pappas d. #1 Holman 224-201.
REAL LIFE WINNER: Holman | Video

$125,000 Showboat Invitational
Jan. 15 – 21, 1978 at Showboat Lanes, Las Vegas, Nevada

While he wasn’t as sharp as he had been in qualifying, Johnny Petraglia was good enough on Saturday to hold off second-seeded Pete McCordic and win the longest-running event on the PBA Tour, the $125,000 Showboat Invitational in Las Vegas. Petraglia, who averaged 231.2 in 56 games during the week to claim the top seed, led McCordic early and never faltered in taking a 209-187 win in the championship game to win the $27,000 first prize.

The only upset of the stepladder finals saw fourth-seeded Marshall Holman beat third-seeded Warren Nelson 217-189 in the second match of the afternoon.

1Johnny PetragliaStaten Island, New York2091209.0$27,000
2Pete McCordicHouston, Texas3962198.0$11,000
3Marshall HolmanMedford, Oregon6333211.0$7,500
4Warren NelsonDowney, California1971197.0$6,000
5Dan RocheDowney, California1891189.0$5,000
Playoff Results: #4 Holman d. #5 Roche 224-189. #4 Holman d. #3 Nelson 217-197. 2 McCordic d. #4 Holman 209-192. #1 Petraglia d. #2 McCordic 209-187.
REAL LIFE WINNER: Bill Coleman | Video

$100,000 Quaker State Open
Jan. 24 – 28, 1978 at Forum Bowling Lanes, Grand Prairie, Texas

Marshall Holman edged top seed Mark Roth 210-207 Saturday to win the $100,000 Quaker State Open at Forum Bowling Lanes in Grand Prairie, Texas. After whipping third-seeded Pete Couture 266-199 in the semifinal, Holman clinched the $15,000 first prize when Roth left the 5-9 with his first throw of the tenth frame.

Paul Moser threw eight consecutive strikes to open the first game of the stepladder finals, before leaving the 4-5 on his first throw of the ninth. Still, he finished with a comfortable 264-231 win over fourth-seeded Mike Berlin. Moser then lost to Couture in the second match.

1Marshall HolmanMedford, Oregon4762238.0$15,000
2Mark RothStaten Island, New York2071207.0$8,000
3Pete CoutureWindsor Locks, Connecticut4042202.0$6,000
4Paul MoserMedford, Massachusetts4582229.0$5,000
5Mike BerlinMuscatine,Iowa2311231.0$4,000
Playoff Results: #5 Moser d. #4 Berlin 264-231. #3 Couture d. #5 Moser 205-194. #2 Holman d. #3 Couture 266-199. #2 Holman d. #1 Roth 210-207.

$75,000 King Louie Open
Jan. 31 – Feb. 4, 1978 at King Louie West Lanes, Overland Park, Kansas

The third time was the charm for Mark Roth, as the top seed stopped a Cinderella run by fifth-seeded Dennis Lane to win the $75,000 King Louie Open Saturday afternoon at King Louie West Lanes in suburban Kansas City. Roth, who had lost two prior championship games on the 1978 PBA Winter Tour, finished with seven straight strikes to claim a 269-210 win over Lane and win the $9,000 first prize.

Lane charged from the fifth position by beating fourth-seeded Joe Berardi 226-204 and number three Tommy Hudson 224-198 before taking a 183-173 win over Jeff Mattingly in the semifinal.

1Mark RothStaten Island, New York2691269.0$9,000
2Dennis LaneKingsport, Tennessee8484212.0$5,000
3Jeff MattinglyTacoma, Washington1731173.0$4,000
4Tommy HudsonAkron, Ohio1981198.0$3,500
5Joe BerardiBrooklyn, New York2041204.0$3,000
Playoff Results: #5 Lane d. #4 Berardi 226-204. #5 Lane d. #3 Hudson 224-198. #5 Lane d. #2 Mattingly 183-173. #1 Roth d. #5 Lane 269-210.

$80,000 Dutch Masters Open
Feb. 7 – 11, 1978 at Buckeye Lanes, North Olmstead, Ohio

Marshall Holman claimed a nail-biting win over Dennis Lane Saturday afternoon to claim the $80,000 Dutch Masters Open at Buckeye Lanes in North Olmstead, Ohio and win his second event of the 1978 PBA Winter Tour.

Lane, who was playing in the final on television for the second consecutive week after finishing third in qualifying, broke out of the gate quickly against Holman. On the strength of five strikes in the first six frames, he built a 31-pin lead, but faltered late. Faced with a difficult 4-6-7 split in the ninth, Lane played it safe and dropped the 4 and the 7, opening the door for Holman. After a strike in the tenth, Holman then left the 4-7 and, needing just one pin to win, picked up the spare to claim the $10,000 first prize.

Lane had beaten fifth-seeded Tommy Hudson and number two Larry Laub to reach the final match. The first match ended dramatically when Palmer Fallgren left the 4-5-9 on his first throw of the tenth, putting him in position where he needed to finish with a spare and a strike to tie. He picked up the spare, but the 4 remained standing on his final throw of the tenth, leaving him one pin (and at least $500) short.

1Marshall HolmanMedford, Oregon2121212.0$10,000
2Dennis LaneKingsport, Tennessee6603220.0$6,000
3Larry LaubSan Francisco, California2111211.0$4,000
4Tommy HudsonAkron, Ohio4022201.0$3,500
5Palmer FallgrenLas Vegas, Nevada1991199.0$3,000
Playoff Results: #5 Hudson d. #4 Fallgren 200-199. #3 Lane d. #5 Hudson 217-202.#3 Lane d. #2 Laub 233-211. #1 Holman d. #3 Lane 212-210.
REAL LIFE WINNER: Dick Ritger | Video

$100,000 Midas Golden Challenge
Feb. 14 – 18, 1978 at Expressway Lanes, Gretna, Louisiana

Pete Couture won his first PBA Tour event Saturday in a two-frame roll-off with Dave Davis at the $100,000 Midas Golden Challenge at Expressway Lanes in suburban New Orleans. The championship was a back-and-forth affair, with each player striking in six of the first eight frames. Couture threw strikes on all three of his attempts in the 10th, and when Davis left the 5-8-9 on his first throw, it meant he needed to finish spare-strike to tie. After picking up the split, Davis coolly buried his final throw to square the match at 237. Couture struck in the first extra frame, while Davis left the 4 pin. After Couture picked up a spare in the second extra frame, Davis did the same, handing Couture the win and the $15,000 first prize.

This week’s near-Cinderella was fifth-seeded Carmen Salvino, who beat Charlie Venable 184-183 in the first match when Venable left the 6 on his first throw of the tenth. Salvino then dispatched third-seeded Don Johnson 186-173 in the second match before running into Couture in the semifinal match.

1Pete CoutureWindsor Locks, Connecticut4782239.0$15,000
2Dave DavisHackensack, New Jersey2371237.0$8,000
3Carmen SalvinoChicago, Illinois6053201.7$6,000
4Don JohnsonLas Vegas, Nevada1751175.0$5,000
5Charlie VenableBrooklyn, New York1831183.0$4,000
Playoff Results: #5 Salvino d. #4 Venable 184-183. #5 Salvino d. #3 Johnson 206-175. #2 Couture d. #5 Salvino 241-215. #2 Couture d. #1 Davis in a two-frame rolloff after the championship match finished tied 237-237.
REAL LIFE WINNER: Couture | Video

$100,000 AMF Magicscore Open
Feb. 21 – 25, 1978 at Kissimmee Lanes, Kissimmee, Florida

Pete Couture won his second consecutive event on the 1978 PBA Winter Tour, overwhelming top-seed Ernie Schlegel 229-188 in the championship match of the $100,000 AMF Magicscore Open at Kissimmee Lanes in Kissimmee, Florida.

Couture made the final from the fourth position in dramatic fashion. He beat Mark Roth 210-204 in the first match when, needing just three pins to win, he knocked down eight. He then edged third-seeded Larry Laub in the second match when Laub left the 5-9 on his final throw of the tenth when he needed a strike to tie. And second-seeded Earl Anthony needed a strike on his final throw of the tenth frame of the semifinal, but left the 8 and lost 266-265.

The championship match started poorly for Schlegel, who left the 6-10 on his very first throw and then missed them both. He did not throw a strike until the seventh frame, while Couture was striking in six of the first eight frames. The victory was worth $15,000 to Couture and has him in second place on the money list after eight tournaments.

1Pete CoutureWindsor Locks, Connecticut9404235.0$15,000
2Ernie SchlegelVancouver, Washington1881188.0$8,000
3Earl AnthonyTacoma, Washington2651265.0$6,000
4Larry LaubSan Francisco, California2331233.0$5,000
5Mark RothStaten Island, New York2041204.0$4,000
Playoff Results: #4 Couture d. $5 Roth 210-204. #4 Couture d. #3 Laub 235-233. #4 Couture d. #2 Anthony 266-265. #4 Couture d. #1 Schlegel 229-188.
REAL LIFE WINNER: Earl Anthony | Video  

Here are the scoring4Only among games I have actually rolled, e.g. the stepladder finals. and money5Here I credit each player with the money earned via his final position in the stepladder finals and each carded player who did not compete in the stepladder the actual money – if any – they won in the tournament in question in real life. leaders through the first two months of the replay.  

Scoring Leaders
1Earl AnthonyTacoma, Washington265.00
2George PappasCharlotte, North Carolina246.01
3Dave DavisKingston, Pennsylvania237.00
4Mike BerlinMuscatine, Iowa231.00
5Paul MoserMedford, Massachusetts229.00
6Pete CoutureWindsor Locks, Connecticut227.82
7Larry LaubSan Francisco, California222.00
8Mark RothStaten Island, New York217.51
9Marshall HolmanMedford, Oregon217.42
10Dennis LaneKingsport, Tennessee214.70
Money Leaders
1Marshall HolmanMedford, Oregon$40,1402
2Pete CoutureWindsor Locks, Connecticut$33,8502
3Johnny PetragliaStaten Island, New York$30,8501
4Mark RothStaten Island, New York$30,7401
5Gary DickinsonFort Worth, Texas$20,5101
6George PappasCharlotte, North Carolina$16,6151
7Dennis LaneKingsport, Tennessee$16,5700
8Pete McCordicHouston, Texas$15,8450
9Ernie SchlegelVancouver, Washington$14,5000
10Tommy HudsonAkron, Ohio$13,0000

Stay tuned for more as this replay….wait for it…rolls on.

Kenn Tomasch

Kenn Tomasch