Bowling perfection was a long time coming


With a total exceeding 340 perfect games, including 87 in the past three seasons, it is interesting to know that 300 games were a big deal many years ago as evident by the extensive write up on them in the Hamilton Spectator. This is a condensed version of those stories.

May 5, 1963: Harvey Bray, 39, of St. Catharines has rolled a perfect game in the Toronto & District Travelling League at Hamilton Centre Bowl.

The manager of this new 48-lane house is John Wilson, who was also the scorekeeper for this historic event. Bray, a member of the Hamilton Centre Bowl team, didn’t bowl the first game as they had six members on the team.

In the second game, Bray threw a 208, then magic with 12 in a row for the 300 in game three. Teammates were Ralph Bucci, who had a 238, Harry Zalba, John Wilson, Al Cinti and Ozzie Cecilli.

Their team average that day was 187. The official score sheet, which is still around, was signed by the team and five witnesses including Stan Prokop. For the 300, Bray received an ABC gold ring, $300 in cash, a set of luggage and a sparkling new Karmen Sports Car.

March 24, 1971: Phil Morris, 36, fired 12 consecutive strikes in the Slovak Mixed League on lanes one and two at Bowlerama Stoney Creek. After the 300, Morris responded with 137 and 168 for a 605 triple. With an average of 167 his previous high was a 267 earlier that season. In the Spectator story titled, “THE BOWLERS DREAM”, Morris recalled that the 11th strike was “pretty shaky” and for the12th “I was very nervous and didn’t think I could stand up, and I didn’t see the ball go or all the pins fall”.

He started bowling in 1957 in the City Tenpin League and his first year in the Slovak league was 1969.

Jan. 23, 1980: Ivan McLean, 36, of Ancaster, with a 163 average, achieved the bowler’s dream at Hamilton Mountain Bowl in his second game of the night. In his first game, he missed two single pins en route to a 140. In game two, McLean says” as the strikes came, and the pressure built, my feelings were hard to describe. I was determined to do the same thing each frame. I remember the ninth frame was a power hit, but my memory of the last three balls is a bit hazy. The whole league exploded after the last ball”. He started game three with three more strikes for a 209 and 649 triple. Prior to his tenpin days, McLean threw 11 strikes in a row in five play for a 442.

Two months later on March 12, Jim Kompare, 18, of Fruitland rolled our fourth perfect tenpin game in Westinghouse Men’s League play at Skyway Lanes followed by Don Wira and Ed Maurer later that year at Skyway, and after three perfect games in 17 years, over 340 were recorded in the next 30 years.