Throwback Thursday 9/22/16: “Two 300s, same ball, seven years apart”

“Pam Petersen quickly caught the attention of those bowling in the Trio Classic League when she tossed strike after strike in the opening line of her Sept. 21 session. When that game ended, the automatic scorer flashed “300” after Petersen’s name.

It was Petersen’s second perfect game, with an unusual point of reference between the two.

“My first 300 came in December, 1998, at Bowlmor Lanes. Both that game and this latest 300 were bowled with the first ball that (the late) Bob Neff drilled for me,” said the Davenport housewife.

Petersen did not fare too well at Town & Country Bowl after her 300. She finished the night with a 773 score for her four games.

Last season, Petersen, a 48-year-old righthander, averaged 198 in the Trio Classic. She’s a little below that so far this season. Petersen also bowls in one other league, at Leisure Lanes in her hometown.

I find it very interesting that Petersen used the same ball for both of her perfect games, especially since they occurred nearly seven years apart. Congratulations, Pam.”

-Cal Whitmore
The Rock Island Argus
October 4, 2005

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Throwback Thursday 9/15/16: Moline’s First 300 Game


-The Rock Island Argus
March 19, 1919

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Throwback Thursday 9/8/16: “Maher Scores First Quad-City 800 Series”


“John Maher has become the first man in the Quad Cities area to record an 800 three game total. His gigantic series came on October 25 at Abbe Lanes, Abingdon, when he posted 29 strikes in three games for an even 800 count.

Maher, bowling for L & R Autobody in the Big Ten League, blasted out a 246 then added super counts of 279 and 275 for his record series. Thirteen was the lucky number when he strung together thirteen straight strikes in the second and third games on lane 13 and 14 to achieve his masterful mark.”

-Mississippi Valley Bowler
December, 1978

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Throwback Thursday 9/1/16: “Moline Teen Rolls State Record 864”

Moline bowler Randy Hawk was on strike Saturday at the Family Fun Center. But instead of holding out for more money like Major League Baseball players, the 16-year-old Moline High School junior was holding nothing back as a huge crowd looked on.

Hawk hit on 32 of a possible 36 strikes in action at the Foul Play Junior Youth League, capping a record-setting series of 864 with the second 300-game of his young career.

“I don’t know what happened. Something just got into me,” laughed Hawk, who started the series with games of 279 and 285.

“It was kind of weird. I didn’t think much about shooting an 800 series. I was more focused on the 300 game. I kept on striking and kind of lost track. I kind of amazed myself.”

Hawk’s out-of-sight series set the Illinois state YABA record, breaking the previous mark of 846. It also ranks in a tie for fifth on the all-time YABA national list — 888 is the all-time best — and the 864 might even stand as the best score ever rolled on a local lane, junior or adult.

“As far as we know it’s a Junior Bowling record locally,” said Cal Whitmore, a longtime Q-C bowling secretary who for the past 17 years has written a bowling column for The Dispatch and The Rock Island Argus.

“I’m the secretary of the best league in town and an 837 has been our all-time high. And, truthfully, I don’t recall any of the local adults bowling anything higher than this.”

When told his series might rank as the area’s all-time top effort, the right hander showed his age.

“That’s pretty cool,” said Hawk, whose all-time high had been a 715 last October, when he rolled a pair of 700s in a week.

The folks at the Family Fun Center thought the youngster’s effort was “pretty cool” too. It seems once word spread that Hawk was on a roll, a crowd began to gather.

Yet Hawk kept his cool.

“It’s hard to describe really. It was nuts. Everybody was going crazy, cheering. People were really excited,” he said.

“I got a lot of high fives and hugs after the 300 game. It was a crazy, great atmosphere.”

Standing among the euphoric masses was Randy’s dad, longtime local bowler Rod Hawk.

The elder Hawk, a career 200 bowler and one of the finest competitors in the area, grabbed headlines a few years back for stringing together a Q-C record 17 strikes during one series.

But, it seems, even Rod Hawk was speechless after his son’s super series.

“Dad really didn’t say much,” laughed Randy, who has been following in his father’s bowling shoes since he was 9.

“All he really could get out was `Wow!’ I guess he couldn’t believe it either.”

Later that afternoon, Randy admitted he was “still kind of in shock” while competing in his Saturday afternoon league.

But while Randy rolled “just” a 527 to follow up his super morning series, it was still a near-perfect day for the Moline teen.”

-The Rock Island Argus
September 19, 1994

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Throwback Thursday 8/25/16: “Old Time Record Still Solid In The Pocket”

“The Maestro Of The Alleys Carries On

He took a deep breath, looked into the yawning maw of the bowling alley and at the 10 pins standing far down the shining lane.

He considered the score sheet and took a deep breath. He had just bowled eight strikes in a row for three succeeding games. He was going for 10 straight strikes in this one, and the world’s bowling record.

He rolled the ball down the alley, straight and true but he missed a strike. He recouped by knocking down the remaining pins for a spare.

He threw the next ball. He was in the last frame and tense as a fiddle string. There was a lot more involved than just winning a Moline city league game that night in 1924.

Spectators and teammates moaned. The four and seven pin still stood. Tension mounted as he waited for his ball to return.

A teammate pulled anxiously at his shirt.

“Remember Abbie, you’re shooting for a world bowling record,” he murmured. A reminder like that was the last thing handsome Abbie Hartzman of Moline needed right then. He was six pins below the world record and still had a chance to crack it. He was bowling a league game and his score would be official and of record.

He frowned at his worried compatriot while his nerves wound tighter. As he sighted the two pins expertly he tried to ignore the atmosphere around him which was so thick you could cut it with a knife.

He threw the ball using none of his usual acrobatics or fancy footwork. He just threw it straight and fast. Then waited.

There was no sound of crashing pins or of the ball slamming into wood. There was just dead silence. The noisy gallery was quiet in hushed unbelief.

He had missed entirely and the world record still stood. But Arvid “Abbie” Hartzman rolled up a local bowling record that night – a solid 789 for three games – that is still unbroken 42 years later in Moline.

Legend Of The Alleys

Now 74, Abbie’s eyes still sparkle with pleasure as he remembers the days that followed his notable game. Fifteen and 40 years later sports writers were still marveling in bowling stories about the unbeatable record Abbie rolled up that night.

Today he pursues a less strenuous recreation – shuffleboard – but the devilish little pucks take a lot of skill and he works hard every day at the Wunder Y tavern on 16th St. perfecting his shooting techniques and on a continually better game.

But bowling is a story with Abbie Hartzman, who is a legend on the alleys.

Abbie began bowling back in 1921 when the game was just catching on and beginning to be popular.

Days he worked at his job as a draftsman for Velie Motor Co. but nights he spent bowling, mostly at the alleys at the LeClaire Hotel.

The game intrigued him. Being a bachelor with plenty of free time on his hands he began spending more and more time perfecting his game. Soon he was bowling every night of the week and twice on Saturday and Sunday.

He says now that he was so busy with bowling that he had no time for girls or dating so he never married.

They gambled on the games then. The bowlers made up a jackpot and paid off on the average high number of pins.

Abbie soon became one of the best bowlers in the region. He was also a colorful bowler and became known as “the Maestro of the Alleys.”

Sports writers turned out reams of glowing copy on Abbie’s style, his feats with the ball, and his antics on the alleys.

“Abbie is probably one of the most colorful bowlers in the tri-cities,” Art Unger, sportswriter, reported in a column many years ago. “He is a regular contortionist on the alleys using plenty of the so-called ‘body English’.”

“Many are the times during his career that teammates have feared for his safety if he happened to be shooting in a 10-pin establishment with a low ceiling because his acrobatics on the alleys includes many leaps high into the air.”

Different Record

…They called him Professor Hartzman around Simpson’s Alleys in Moline, where he was employed as an instructor.

He was a member of the Tri-City Classic league for many seasons.

In 1928 Abbie received a diamond medal from the American Bowling Congress for bowling a perfect score in a tri-city league match.

As time went on, Abbie’s accomplishments grew. So did his collection of newspaper clippings. His picture was often in newspapers as he broke record after record and smashed to victory in tournament after tournament.

He bowled a lot at the Elks Lodge bowling alley. He has been a member of the lodge since 1919…

…He bowled in 11 American Bowling Congress tournaments in as many years in Detroit, Chicago (twice), Minneapolis, St. Paul, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Milwaukee, Des Moines.

Abbie was so carried away by bowling himself he wanted to interest as many people as possible.

He helped organize the first women’s league in local bowling in 1927 with five players to a team. The organization meeting was different to say the least.

“They were so shy about the whole things that no one would nominate any one for officers, so I nominated all the officers myself and had them vote on my nominations,” he said.

Then everyone got stuck on a name for the league and Abbie finally told them to call it the White Way League in honor of the proud new White Way street light system just installed in Moline.

That original league in still bowling today…

…In 1947, Abbie’s bowling career ended abruptly and violently.

As he was driving home late one night, a car crashed into his and Abbie was badly injured. His right leg was smashed and remained stiff after it healed.

This meant the end of Abbie’s fancy footwork and it also meant the end of his bowling career for his co-ordination in that leg was also gone.

Now he is retired. He spends his days pleasantly at the Elks Lodge and finishes early at the Wunder Y playing shuffleboard.

And once in a while he shyly shows a new acquaintance his precious hoard of yellow, time-brittle clippings.

Then time turns back to those palmy days in bowling when records were thrilling news – and handsome Abbie Hartzman was the high-leaping, fan-gathering, records-setting “Maestro of the Alleys.””

-Moline Dispatch
November 4, 1966

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Throwback Thursday 8/18/16: “History Proves Ackley’s Count Only 3rd Highest”

“Best way possible to straighten out a bit of history is to record it inaccurately to start with. This happened last Tuesday with the story of Eleanor Ackley’s momentous night at Highland Park Bowl, Moline, when she cracked out a powerful 695 series.

At the time, and after checking a couple of sources, it was believed Eleanor’s big count, brought into being on games of 161, 266 and 268, was the highest ladies’ series ever rolled in this area.

But a wonderful lady named Beulah Abbott, who was in her heydey when this writer’s Ivy League trousers still had three corners, holds the record. In fact has two scores higher than Eleanor’s.

We contacted veteran Davenport bowler Ethel Methven yesterday to learn of our error. Mrs. Methven was a witness to both of Beulah’s big counts in the year 1932.

Davenport’s women’s association had just been sanctioned in April 1932, over violent protest of some bowlers who didn’t want to belong to the Women’s International Bowling Congress.

Then on the night of Nov. 21, at Hilson Alleys, now Capitol Lanes, Beulah made more than one piece of bowling history and it made the alliance more agreeable to all concerned.

She started with a 222 game then came back with a perfect 300. This set the stage for a minon “letdown” in which Beulah shot “only” 189. But it was good for the all-time mark of 711.

Just a month later, Beaulah, who is still rolling in League play at Davenport’s “30” Lanes, cracked out a 709 at Hilson’s. At the time the lady, who now lives in LeClaire, was averaging 181.

Mrs. Methven also recalls that Beulah’s 300 was not the only one that season. In March of 1933, Bernie Thee of Davenport turned the trick.

So Eleanor Ackley, modern day Beulah Abbott most assuredly, does not have the record. But she joins a pretty select club and we wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if some day she cracks that 700 mark. And when she does, we’ll be ready for it this time.”

-Dick Christenson
Moline Dispatch
December 9, 1960

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Throwback Thursday 8/11/16: “Sands Storms Lanes For RIBA Series Scoring Mark”

“Al Sands, an Eldridge resident who is the bowling manager at the Family Fun Center in Rock Island, set a new Rock Island Bowling Association scoring record last week when he authored a mammouth 856 series in the 4-10 League at the Rock Island center.

Games of 277, 279 and 300 allowed the 38-year-old Sands to edge ahead of Chuck Titus, whose 855 at Town & Country Lanes in 1984 had been the previous record.

Sands needed every pin in the perfect game to become the new record holder.

“This was the first 800 I have ever had and I really wanted it,” the genial left hander noted. “I had been close several times, but this time after getting the first six strikes in the last game, I knew I could get 800 if I didn’t have any open frames.”

The perfecto was the sixth 300 for Sands. This time, on only one delivery was there a doubt about it being a strike.

“In the seventh frame, I had a light hit, but a couple of pins fell forward and gave me the strike,” he explained.

Sands now has the RIBA scoring record, but he fell a few pins short of the top series ever bowled at the Family Fun Center.

The house record is the 864 rolled earlier this season in the Foul Play junior league by Moline resident Randy Hawk.

Interestingly, just three days prior to Sands’ big outing, Hawk was presented the YABA 800 ring in recognition of his gigantic series.”

-The Rock Island Argus
January 7, 1995

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