News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Kegler's Korner

April 1, 2006

Keglers Korner: Historic day as Williams victory total pulls even with Anthony

TERRE HAUTE — A lot of parallels were evident after Walter Ray Williams “finally” equaled the late legendary Hall of Fame bowler Earl Anthony — on his seventh attempt — with 41 Professional Bowlers Association Tour victories with his win at the PBA World Championship in Indianapolis last Sunday.

To be exact, one year, four months and 19 days. But who’s counting?

He will not break the record today, with Chris Barnes eliminating Williams Jr. 4-games-to-3 in the round of eight-match play late Friday night.

I I I

A brief history lesson:

Anthony was often compared to pro golf’s Jack Nicklaus, as they both became icons in their sports after following in the footsteps of more-charismatic legends … Anthony following Dick Weber, Nicklaus following Arnold Palmer.

Ironically, Williams defeated Dick Weber’s son, Pete, 236-213 to win his elusive 41st Tour title and seventh major title. The younger Weber has 32 titles and also has seven majors. Anthony still leads Williams Jr. and Pete Weber with eight majors.

Anthony is even compared to basketball’s Michael Jordan in comebacks.

Both left their respective sports at the peak of their talent. Anthony “retired” in the late 1970s, then was inducted to the PBA Hall of Fame in 1981. But he got the itch to return and won Player of the Year titles in 1982 and 1983 before “retiring” a second time in 1984.

After a brief comeback failed in 1987, he later won seven PBA senior titles before retiring for keeps in 1991.

He almost didn’t become a star, failing in his first attempt at the PBA Tour in 1963. He returned home to Tacoma, Wash., where he worked the midnight shift in a grocery warehouse and practiced after work. He had a key to a local bowling house, allowing him to come and go at odd hours.

He also passed away in “odd” fashion, dying unexpectedly in 2001 from head injuries suffered during a fall down a flight of stairs at a friend’s house at the age of 63.

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