WBEZ | bowling http://www.wbez.org/tags/bowling Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Chicago bowler of the half-century http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2013-06/chicago-bowler-half-century-107517 <p><p>When bowling was big and Chicago was the bowling capital of the world, the greatest bowler in Chicago was Paul Krumske.&nbsp;And there&rsquo;s one story about Paul Krumske they always tell.</p><p>During one close match, Krumske suddenly keels over on the lane, grabbing his chest and gasping for breath.&nbsp;The match stops.&nbsp;Medical help is summoned, and Krumske is revived.&nbsp;He gamely declares that he will go on.</p><p>By now the opposition is totally unnerved&ndash;especially when Krumske rolls the next half-dozen strikes.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/06-07--Krumske.jpg" style="float: right; height: 281px; width: 260px;" title="Paul Krumske (author's collection)" /></div><p>This incident happened during the&nbsp;famous match Krumske bowled against Ned Day . . . or in a team match in the Chicago Classic League . . . or in a tournament in Detroit . . . or was it in a late-night pot game at Marigold?&nbsp;Maybe he faked heart attacks on all those occasions.</p><p>After the first few times, though, you&rsquo;d think the other bowlers would get wise, and just step over Paul as they bowled.</p><p>Born on the South Side in 1912, Krumske dropped out of high school to go to work as a clerk at a meat-packing plant.&nbsp;One evening, when he was 17, the boss needed a sub on his bowling team.&nbsp;Krumske volunteered.</p><p>He learned fast.&nbsp;Within five years Krumske had rolled his first 300 game and was carrying one of the highest averages in the city.&nbsp;The papers started running stories about the new boy wonder of bowling.</p><p>There wasn&rsquo;t any pro bowling then.&nbsp;The better bowlers all had day jobs.&nbsp;They made money by getting on a top-flight team, then competing in leagues and tournaments&ndash;or by rolling matches&nbsp;against other hotshots.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/06-07--Krumske%20Ball%20Cleaner%20%281946%29.jpg" style="height: 336px; width: 240px; float: left;" title="Krumske endorsement, 1946 (author's collection)" /></div><p>Krumske followed this route.&nbsp;He bowled in the city&rsquo;s best league, the Chicago Classic, for nearly forty years.&nbsp;For twenty years he was league secretary.&nbsp;Recognized as one of the country&rsquo;s top players, he was named to the annual All-American team seven times.</p><p>His finest moment came in 1944.&nbsp;Ned Day was bowling&rsquo;s match-game champion&ndash;the equivalent&nbsp;of boxing&rsquo;s heavyweight champ.&nbsp;He&rsquo;d never been beaten in a head-to-head match.&nbsp;But Krumske challenged&nbsp;him, and won the title in an 80-game showdown.</p><p>In 1951 a newspaper poll named Krumske Chicago&rsquo;s &ldquo;Bowler of the Half-Century.&rdquo;&nbsp;Bowling was starting to enjoy&nbsp;boom times.&nbsp;By now Krumske was endorsing bowling products and giving&nbsp;exhibitions for an equipment manufacturer.&nbsp;He also had a full-time job at the Peter Hand Brewery.</p><p>His title was Sports Director.&nbsp;That meant Krumske was captain of the brewery&rsquo;s famed Meister Brau Beer bowling team.&nbsp;By staying in the news, the team helped sell beer. Also, as secretary of the Chicago Classic, Krumske could convince bowling proprietors to stock Meister Brau in their bars.</p><p>Krumske appeared on the many bowling shows that were popular in the early days of TV.&nbsp;For a while he had his own local program called &ldquo;Bowl the Professor.&rdquo;&nbsp;In 1957 comedian Jerry Lewis made a surprise visit, bowling a hilarious one-game match against Krumske.&nbsp;The tape of that&nbsp;show was later used for charity fund-raising.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/06-07--Krumske%20vs.%20Lewis%20%281957%29.jpg" title="Paul Krumske vs. Jerry Lewis, 1957 (Bowlers Journal photo)" /></div><p>Like most athletes, Krumske&rsquo;s skills declined as he grew older.&nbsp;His bowling winnings shrank.&nbsp;His exhibition contract was not renewed.&nbsp;Then, in 1972, the brewery closed.</p><p>Krumske did some instructing and ran a few tournaments.&nbsp;Early in 1979 he decided to make a fresh start and moved to Florida.&nbsp;That same summer, Paul Krumske died in his new Boca Raton home.</p><p>The cause of death was a heart attack.</p></p> Thu, 13 Jun 2013 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2013-06/chicago-bowler-half-century-107517 Super Bowling http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2013-01/super-bowling-104659 <p><p>It&rsquo;s 1901 and it&rsquo;s winter. The football season has ended, and baseball is just a memory. Only Canadians care about hockey. You say there&rsquo;s a new sport called basketball?</p><p>But there&rsquo;s big sports news in Chicago this January 8. The first national bowling championships are being held here.</p><p>Americans had played various forms of bowling since colonial times. In 1895 a group of New York clubs founded the American Bowling Congress. They drew up a list of standard rules and equipment specs.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/1-8--1901%20ABC.jpg" title="The 1901 'Super Bowl' (author's collection)" /></div><p>Within a few years, bowling clubs in other cities joined the ABC. Now there was talk about having a tournament to decide who the country&rsquo;s best bowlers were. Chicago was given the honor of hosting the first ABC Tournament in 1901.&nbsp;</p><p>The Chicagoans leased the second floor of a warehouse at Wabash and Randolph. Six bowling lanes were donated by Brunswick, an equipment manufacturer eager to promote the sport. The tournament was planned for three divisions&ndash;Team (five-man), Doubles (two-man), and Singles (individual).&nbsp;</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/1-8--Frank%20Brill.jpg" style="width: 255px; height: 381px; float: right;" title="Frank Brill (author's collection)" />Forty-one teams signed up for the three-day event. The tournament attracted added publicity when Cap Anson announced he would compete. The recently-retired baseball star was the most famous athlete in the country. It was like getting Michael Jordan to bowl a century later.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Opening day was for five-man teams. The early lead was taken by a quintet from Erie, Pennsylvania. Everyone seemed to be having a good time, and the <em>Tribune</em> reported only one problem&ndash;there wasn&rsquo;t enough room for all the fans who wanted to watch the action.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">On&nbsp;the second day, Standard of Chicago clinched the Team championship. The Doubles was won by two New Yorkers, C.K. Starr and Johnny Voorheis. Meanwhile, Cap Anson was bowling terribly.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">The&nbsp;final day brought the Singles. A total of 115 men rolled three games each to determine who would win the medal as the first National Bowling Champion. And another ex-ballplayer stole the show.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Frank&nbsp;Brill had pitched one season for Detroit. He was never the diamond star that Anson had been. But Brill was a master of the 19-pound, no-hole wood bowling ball. His 648 score took the Singles.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">After&nbsp;this modest start, the ABC Tournament became an annual event. Today it is known as the United States Bowling Congress Open Championship. With a field of over 80,000 men and women, it is the largest participatory sporting event in the world.</div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 08 Jan 2013 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2013-01/super-bowling-104659 The bowling ball that went around the world http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2012-05/bowling-ball-went-around-world-99137 <p><p>Brunswick is an old Chicago company. They began as a manufacturer of billiards equipment, then branched out into bowling. In 1914 they came up with a new advertising stunt. They were going to send a bowling ball around the world.</p><p>People didn&rsquo;t travel much in 1914&ndash;not even 50 miles, let alone around the world. But there were YMCAs&nbsp;in all the British colonies. Brunswick&#39;s plan was to ship one of their new Mineralite model balls from one YMCA to another, and the ball would circle the globe that way.</p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/05-22--Mineralite%20Ball.jpg" title="The Mineralite bowling ball leaving San Francisco (Author's collection)" /></div><p>Simple&ndash;and great publicity. People would read about the ball as it moved from one place to the next. When it got back to America, Brunswick would then put it on display at the Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco.</p><p>Brunswick Mineralite #391914 left Chicago for San Francisco by train on May 28, 1914, and arrived on the West Coast two days later. After a bowling match at the YMCA, the ball went back across the U.S. to New York.</p><p>At New York the ball was put on a ship bound for London. The ball reached London, and there was a ceremony at the YMCA. Next the ball was off to Berlin, for the big international bowling tournament.</p><p>Now things got complicated.</p><p>While the ball was making its way to Berlin, war broke out between Britain and Germany&ndash;a little scrap called World War One. The Brunswick ball arrived in Berlin, and the Germans were suspicious. Most of them had never seen a big, American-style bowling ball. They thought it was a bomb. They sent it back.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/05-22--Brunswick.jpg" style="float: left; height: 403px; width: 300px;" title="Brunswick magazine ad, 1914 (Bowlers Journal International)" /><br /><div class="image-insert-image ">Somehow, the ball wound up in Paris. It sat around for a few months, then back it went to London. Since it was obvious the ball couldn&#39;t travel through the war zone&ndash;it was supposed to go through Berlin, Vienna, and Rome&ndash;the Brits put it on a boat for India.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">In November, the Mineralite got to Bombay. Another YMCA ceremony, and then the ball was put on another boat heading for Sidney, Australia. And that boat sank! The world tour was all over.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">But no&ndash;it turned out that the ball had missed the boat that sank. It was still safe in India!</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Anyway, the ball eventually got to Australia, and from there it went across the Pacific to San Francisco. And in May 1915, the world-traveling bowling ball was proudly displayed at the Brunswick booth at the Panama-Pacific Exposition.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Then the fair closed, and after all that trouble, they lost the ball! It was missing for 19 years. But in 1934, #391914 was discovered in a warehouse, a little dusty but otherwise intact. And then that historic Mineralite finally came home to Chicago, just in time for our Century of Progress fair.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Where is that famous bowling ball now? You guessed it&ndash;it&#39;s disappeared again. And I suspect it won&#39;t turn up until someone has another world&#39;s fair.</div></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 29 May 2012 07:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2012-05/bowling-ball-went-around-world-99137 Lost Landmark: Archer-35th Recreation http://www.wbez.org/blog/john-r-schmidt/2011-12-27/lost-landmark-archer-35th-recreation-94901 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-December/2011-12-27/12-26-interior-b.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Not so long ago, Chicago had more than a hundred bowling alleys. Now there are fewer than twenty. The most historic of these lost landmarks was Archer-35th Recreation, the home of the annual Petersen Classic.</p><p>In 1919 Louis Petersen opened his alleys on the second floor of a commercial building at 2057 W. 35th Street. Two years later he staged a tournament. The Petersen Classic paid $1,000 to the bowler who rolled the highest total for eight games. That was big money for a sporting event in 1921--the same year, first prize in the U.S. Open golf tournament was only $500.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" height="332" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-14/12-26--Archer-35th Rec.JPG" title="Archer-35th Recreation (2057 W. 35th St.)" width="495"></p><p><br> The early Petersen tournaments were dominated by star bowlers, so the number of entries remained small. Petersen wanted to expand. He finally came up with a novel way to attract more bowlers.</p><p>His idea was simple. If the winning scores were low, then more people would take a chance and bowl, figuring they might get lucky and take home a big prize. So Petersen did everything he could to keep the scores down.</p><p>The technical details don't concern us here. The important thing was that Petersen's plan worked.</p><p>Now bowlers from around the country began making an annual pilgrimage to Archer-35th. Each year the number of entries grew. The Petersen Classic became a bowling tradition.<br> &nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" height="323" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-14/12-26-interior-a.jpg" title="The front saloon (author's collection)" width="495"><br> &nbsp;</p><p>Part of the appeal was funky old Archer-35th itself. Louis Petersen died in 1958 and the operation was taken over by his son-in-law, Mark Collor. About the only modernizing Collor did was replacing the pinboys with machines. Everything else looked unchanged from 1921.</p><p>You trudged up a dark, narrow flight of stairs from the street and entered a Capone-era saloon. Pass through a gold-painted metal fire door, and now you were in the bowling room. It smelled of old cigar smoke and stale beer. The decor featured large portraits of previous champions, hung from the ceiling over the 16 alleys.</p><p>This was the Petersen Classic. By 1980 the annual tournament ran a full nine months and drew 36,000 bowlers. The top prize pushed past $55,000. Even if you finished in 100th place, you still got $1,000. All for an entry fee of $65.<br> &nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" height="322" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-14/12-26-interior-b.jpg" title="The bowling room (author's collection)" width="495"><br> &nbsp;</p><p>Then competitive bowling went into decline. Entries fell off. By 1993 Collor was ready to retire. When the roof developed a major leak, he closed down the tournament.</p><p>Archer-35th Recreation was demolished shortly afterward. In the years since, the new Orange Line has gentrified the old neighborhood. And a much-smaller version of the Petersen Classic is bowled each summer in suburban Hoffman Estates.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 27 Dec 2011 13:15:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/john-r-schmidt/2011-12-27/lost-landmark-archer-35th-recreation-94901