Experts Select Earl Anthony as Greatest Player in PBA History

by PBA Editor January 25, 2009 19:00
The late Earl Anthony, who left an indelible legacy on the Professional Bowlers Association Tour as its first career millionaire, was announced as the greatest player in the PBA’s first 50 years Sunday, capping the tour’s weeklong 50th anniversary celebration at Red Rock Resort, Casino and Spa.
 
Walter Ray Williams Jr. of Ocala, Fla., the man who finally eclipsed Anthony’s total of 43 career PBA titles, finished second in voting conducted by a national panel of bowling experts.
 
Earl “would have been thrilled, very honored,” said Susie Anthony, the late Earl Anthony’s wife. “If Earl were here, he would probably say he wasn’t deserving. He wouldn’t turn it down, but he’d be very humble.”
 
“He would have been humble in public, thrilled in private,” Anthony’s son Mike added.
 
Finishing second wasn’t much of a disappointment to Williams, who now has 45 PBA titles, more than $4 million in career earnings and is still one of the PBA Tour’s most feared competitors.
 
“I feel Earl’s record is better than mine because it was more condensed,” Williams said. “Earl bowled 14 years and 400 or so events. I’ve bowled well over 600 by now, maybe 700. Some people will argue Earl’s era was tougher, but others will argue my era was tougher. The reality is, people threw the ball differently in each era. That’s the way the game is played.”
 
“I’m very pleased to be No. 2,” Williams continued. “If Dick Weber would have had 45 titles at the time Earl was still bowling, he probably would have kept on bowling because he would have wanted someone to chase. As it was, he retired because no one had close to the number of titles he had. He didn’t have anything to shoot for.”
 
“Some people don’t remember that Earl was Player of the Year in 1983, the year he retired,” said Williams, who is one of the PBA’s best historians. “And he didn’t even bowl a full season that year.”
 
PROFESSIONAL BOWLERS ASSOCIATION
50 GREATEST PLAYERS IN PBA HISTORY
1.     Earl Anthony
2.     Walter Ray Williams Jr.
3.     Dick Weber
4.     Pete Weber
5.     Mark Roth
6.     Mike Aulby
7.     Norm Duke
8.     Don Johnson
9.     Marshall Holman
10. Parker Bohn III
11. Don Carter
12. Billy Hardwick
13. Brian Voss
14. Dick Ritger
15. Nelson Burton Jr.
16. John Petraglia
17. Carmen Salvino
18. Wayne Webb
19. Dave Davis
20. Dave Soutar
21. Amleto Monacelli
22. Mike Durbin
23. Dave Husted
24. Jason Couch
25. Steve Cook
26. Chris Barnes
27. Jim Stefanich
28. Harry Smith
29. Del Ballard Jr.
30. Tommy Jones
31. Wayne Zahn
32. Jim Godman
33. George Pappas
34. David Ozio
35. Randy Pedersen
36. Dave Ferraro
37. Bill Allen
38. Larry Laub
39. Mike McGrath
40. Tom Baker
41. Joe Berardi
42. Danny Wiseman
43. Doug Kent
44. Patrick Allen
45. John Guenther
46. Gary Dickinson
47. Barry Asher
48. Tommy Hudson
49. Mika Koivuniemi
50. Bob Strampe
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