1978 PBA Tour Replay: Earl Puts Up His Dukes

Earl Anthony wasn’t the flashiest of bowlers (he was affectionately called “Square Earl” by his fellow competitors), but he was the best, and in my APBA Bowling replay of the 1978 PBA Tour season (initial recaps here and here), the lefty is making a move up the charts.

After taking his first win of the season at the Miller High Life Open (where my last entry1Holy cow, well over a year ago. left off), Anthony made it two in a row the following week at the Long Island Open by beating Dan Roche in the final.

His quest for three in a row2Which would tie the PBA Tour mark set by Dick Weber (twice) and Johnny Petraglia. ended in Windsor Locks, Conn. as Marshall Holman beat Anthony in the final match of the Greater Hartford Open on April 8. But Anthony rebounded to again make the TV stepladder finals at the Fair Lanes Open on April 15, taking home $3,000 for finishing fifth.

That capped a run of five straight appearances on the ABC telecasts, which would, in 1978, be a single-season PBA Tour mark3Don Johnson had appeared on five straight telecasts spanning the 1971-72 seasons.. In real life, Anthony would match that in 1981, and he’s since been followed by Chris Barnes in 2000, Walter Ray Williams, Jr. in 2000 and 2001 and Jason Couch in 2001.4With no regular, reliable PBA Tour television presence similar to what we had in the 20th century, that record is either likely to stand forever or not be something people track anymore.

After 16 tournaments, Anthony is now on top of the scoring charts with a 221.708 average (about five and a half pins higher than his actual 1978 statistics5It’s worth noting that 27 of the 48 bowlers in this replay currently have averages within four pins of their real-life performance, so, kudos to the APBA Game Company.) and two-and-a-half pins per match ahead of PBA Tour money leader Holman.

Below, the results from the latest batch of replay tournaments.

As the calendar began to turn from March to April, the tour made its way to the northeast as the buildup continued toward the Firestone Tournament of Champions in Akron.

$70,000 Long Island Open

March 28 – April 1, 1978 at Garden City Bowl, Garden City, New York

Earl Anthony won his second straight PBA Tour championship with a workmanlike performance that saw the top seed defeat second-seeded Dan Roche 204-184 to win the $70,000 Long Island Open at Garden City (N.Y.) Bowl Saturday afternoon. Anthony, who had averaged 229 in qualifying, threw only five strikes in the final match but they were enough to outlast Roche.

Number five seed Teata Semiz made a run to the semifinal match by ousting the fourth seed, Mark Roth, 228-209 and the third seed, Palmer Fallgren by a narrow 197-196 margin, before falling to Roche 232-201 in the third match.

Roche flirted with a perfect game in the second round of qualifying. He threw 10 consecutive strikes to start before settling for a spare in the tenth frame and a 288 score that was the highest of qualifying.

PBA Tour Long Island Open final

Pos.Player (Qualifying Average)City/StateTotalGAverageWinnings
1Earl Anthony (228.78)Tacoma, Washington2041204.0$8,000
2Dan Roche (224.67)Downey, California4162208.0$5,000
3Teata Semiz (222.44)Bergenfield, New Jersey6263208.7$4,000
4Palmer Fallgren (222.67)Sacramento, California1931193.0$3,500
5Mark Roth (222.67)Staten Island, New York2091209.0$3,000
Playoff Results: #5 Semiz d. #4 Roth 228-209. #5 Semiz d. #3 Fallgren 197-196. #2 Roche d. #5 Semiz 232-201. #1 Anthony d. #2 Roche 204-184.

REAL-LIFE WINNER: Johnny Petraglia6Who nearly threw a perfect game in the televised final before leaving the 2-4 in the final frame. | Video


$70,000 Greater Hartford Open

April 4 – 8, 1978 at Bradley Bowl, Windsor Locks, Connecticut

Bidding for his third consecutive PBA Tour title, Earl Anthony instead ran into top seed Marshall Holman, who would not be denied. The top-seeded Holman finished with nine consecutive strikes to record a 278-232 win in the final of the $70,000 Greater Hartford Open Saturday afternoon at Bradley Bowl in Windsor Locks, Connecticut.

The only blemish on Holman’s final-game performance was a spare in the third frame, but he was perfect after that in tying the tour’s highest score in a final this season7Bill Spigner also rolled a 278 to win the Rolaids Open in March..

The stepladder went according to seeding, with fourth-seeded Joe Nuzzo recording a 253-215 win over Nelson Burton, Jr. in the first match before falling to third-seeded Matt Surina 219-199. Number two Anthony then opened the semifinal match with six consecutive strikes before leaving the five pin in the seventh, but still had more than enough to beat Surina, 246-197.

The win was worth $8,000 to Holman, who won his third tournament of the season in his fourth appearance in the televised final.

PBA Greater Hartford Open final

Pos.Player (Qualifying Average)City/StateTotalGAverageWinnings
1Marshall Holman (227.56)Medford, Oregon2781278.0$8,000
2Earl Anthony (224.44)Tacoma, Washington4782239.0$5,000
3Matt Surina (223.67)Longview, Washington4162208.0$4,000
4Joe Nuzzo (223.11)Youngstown, Ohio4522226.0$3,500
5Nelson Burton, Jr. (219.22)St. Louis, Missouri2151211.0$3,000
Playoff Results: #4 Nuzzo d. #5 Burton 253-215. #3 Surina d. #4 Nuzzo 219-199. #2 Anthony d. #3 Surina 246-197. #1 Holman d. #2 Anthony 278-232.

REAL-LIFE WINNER: Mark Roth | Video


$75,000 Fair Lanes Open

April 11-15, 1978 at Fair Lanes Towson, Towson, Maryland

Roy Buckley left it late, not only by finishing with five consecutive strikes to beat Joe Hutchinson 241-211 to win the $75,000 Fair Lanes Open, but by qualifying for next week’s Firestone Tournament of Champions on his final possible opportunity.

The third-seeded Buckley had finished with four consecutive strikes to edge number four Jeff Mattingly 236-234 in the second match of the stepladder finals before clinching the semifinal against second-seeded George Pappas on his final ball, 214-198.

In Saturday’s championship match at Fair Lanes Towson (Md.), Hutchinson got off to a shaky start by leaving the 2-7-10 in the first and only picking up one of the three pins. Buckley, meanwhile, picked up the 4-6-7-8-108Which the wonderful Spare Success Machine says is only converted about 1.3 percent of the time. in the third and never trailed the rest of the way, earning $9,000 for the win and a spot in the TOC.

Mattingly had ensured fifth-seeded Earl Anthony would not make his fourth straight appearance in the TV championship match by ousting him 209-193 in the first match of the day.

PBA Tour Fair Lanes Open final

Pos.Player (Qualifying Average)City/StateTotalGAverageWinnings
1Roy Buckley (220.56)Columbus, Ohio6913230.3$9,000
2Joe Hutchinson (225.33)Scranton, Pennsylvania2111211.0$5,000
3George Pappas (221.33)Charlotte, North Carolina1981198.0$4,000
4Jeff Mattingly (217.00)Tacoma, Washington4432221.5$3,500
5Earl Anthony (216.78)Tacoma, Washington1931193.0$3,000
Playoff Results:#4 Mattingly d. #5 Anthony 209-193. #3 Buckley d. #4 Mattingly 236-234. #3 Buckley d. #2 Pappas 214-198. #3 Buckley d. #1 Hutchinson 241-211.

REAL-LIFE WINNER: Butch Soper | Video (Semifinal)


$150,000 Firestone Tournament of Champions

April 17-22, 1978 at Riviera Lanes, Akron, Ohio

Dave Davis won his record third career Firestone Tournament of Champions title, ending the Cinderella run of Johnny Petraglia with a 206-193 win in the final Saturday afternoon at Riviera Lanes in Akron, Oh. Petraglia had won three straight matches in the stepladder to reach the final, but a missed 10-pin spare in the fourth frame was a mistake from which he could not recover.

Petraglia, the 1971 TOC champion, first knocked off fifth-seeded Jay Robinson, 227-197 before upsetting third-seeded Pete Couture 215-193. He then finished with nine straight strikes to blow out Marshall Holman, 270-210 to reach the final. But Davis was steady in the final match, becoming the first player to win the event three times9Mike Durbin (1972, 1982 and 1984) and Jason Couch (1999, 2000 and 2002) are, to date, the actual only three-time Tournament of Champions winners. (his previous titles came in 1968 and 1975) and taking home the $30,000 first prize.

PBA Tour Firestone Tournament of Champions final

Pos.Player (Qualifying Average)City/StateTotalGAverageWinnings
1Dave Davis (225.78)Kingston, Pennsylvania2061206.0$30,000
2John Petraglia (216.11)Staten Island, New York9054226.3$17,000
3Marshall Holman (219.67)Medford, Oregon2101210.0$10,000
4Pete Couture (217.11)Windsor Locks, Connecticut1931193.0$7,500
5Jay Robinson (214.56)Phoenix, Arizona1971197.0$5,000
Playoff Results:#4 Petraglia d. #5 Robinson 227-197. #4 Petraglia d. #3 Couture 215-193. #4 Petraglia d. #2 Holman 270-210. #1 Davis d. #4 Petraglia 206-193.

REAL-LIFE WINNER: Earl Anthony10Anthony actually joined Davis and Jim Godman as the only two-time winners of the Firestone at the time when he won this one.  | Video

Numbers Racket

After this little run here in recent tournaments, Anthony now tops the scoring leaders chart, and he’s outperforming his real-life average by more than five-and-a-half pins, the third-highest difference in the replay11Bo Burton, Jr.’s outperforming his real-life average by 6.960 points, while Steve Westberg is under-performing his by nearly nine-and-a-half points.. Most of the guys at the top end of the leader board are having years slightly above their real-life averages, which probably means they’re going to come back to the middle a little bit in the rest of the replay.

SCORING LEADERS
PlayerHometownAvg.HighLowWins(Actual)
Earl AnthonyTacoma, Washington221.7082671732(216.154)
Marshall HolmanMedford, Oregon219.2622791833(214.518)
Nelson Burton, Jr.St. Louis, Missouri219.1462671890(212.186)
Tom HudsonAkron, Ohio218.1182781861(213.997)
George PappasCharlotte, North Carolina218.1182781861(213.219)
Bill SpignerCorona, New York216.8942781761(210.384)
Gary DickinsonParis, Texas215.7922761772(211.811)
Dick WeberIndianapolis, Indiana215.7142791800(210.287)
Mark RothStaten Island, New York215.4692691631(219.834)
Pete McCordicHouston, Texas215.4412661740(212.002)

Holman has already taken home more cash through 16 tournaments of this replay than he did in the actual 1978 season (when he won $70,160 to place third on the money list). (To be fair, the universe of players in the card set – just 48 – is far less than the number of players on the PBA Tour in 1978, so the money is going to be concentrated among fewer players, giving a lot of guys much more than they earned in real life.) Roth is not quite halfway to $100,000 not quite halfway through the season (he led the tour with $134,500 in earnings that year), and, despite having the best card in the set, has not yet turned it on.

MONEY LEADERS
PlayerHometownEarnings(2017 Equivalent)
Marshall HolmanMedford, Oregon$70,440($269,839)
John PetragliaBrooklyn, New York$54,895($210,290)
Earl AnthonyTacoma, Washington$52,890($202,609)
Pete CoutureWindsor Locks, Connecticut$49,350($189,048)
Mark RothStaten Island, New York$45,355($173,744)
Dave DavisKingston, Pennsylvania$45,340($173,687)
Wayne WebbRehoboth, Massachusetts$42,985($164,666)
Gary DickinsonParis, Texas$42,160($161,505)
George PappasCharlotte, North Carolina$39,655($151,909)
Nelson Burton, Jr.St. Louis, Missouri$35,420($135,686)
Kenn Tomasch

Kenn Tomasch

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