When the 50 Greatest Players in PBA History book was released in 2008, it sparked quite a debate as to who is the GOAT (Greatest Of All Time) in professional bowling. At the time, the two obvious candidates, based primarily on number of PBA titles, were Earl Anthony and Walter Ray Williams, Jr. Anthony won out based primarily on the fact that he had accumulated his 41 PBA Tour titles and two USBC Masters titles over a span of only 14 years of full-time competition. The two leaders were followed by the Weber legacy: Dick Weber listed in third and his son, Pete, listed as fourth. Boy, have things changed since then!
Since the PBA Senior Tour was officially renamed the PBA50 Tour in 2013, it has seen many of the PBA National Tour superstars from bowling’s golden age in the 1980s and 1990s turn 50 years old, allowing them to compete regularly to the great delight of many long-time bowling fans. One of the top names who bowls regularly on the PBA50 Tour is Pete Weber. Besides the unprecedented accomplishment of winning four straight PBA50 titles in 2016, Pete has been able to do what no other PBA50 player has been able to do: he not only is a dominant force on the PBA50 Tour, but he also remains extremely competitive on the National Tour, often making the stepladder finals in the PBA National events and even capturing two more major titles in recent years at the 2011-2012 U.S. Open and 2012-2013 PBA Tournament of Champions. This feat—along with his longevity in the limelight of professional bowling—makes Pete Weber the GOAT to many who follow the sport. I am happy to include myself in that group.
Thanks to a mutual friend, Mrs. Phyllis Punturiero, I was introduced to Pete, who agreed to sit down and talk with me on Thursday morning of the 2017 USBC Masters. The highlights of our conversation follow.
(Please note that my questions appear in bold italics and Pete’s answers appear in standard typeface.)
Having bowled on the PBA Tour for the past five decades, you’ve witnessed tremendous change to the sport of bowling. What do you consider the most significant changes, and have they hurt or helped the sport?
Well, my initial response is, why are aluminum bats not allowed in professional baseball? So there’s one sport that has disallowed the betterment of the game. Tennis doesn’t allow the use of aluminum rackets anymore because they allow the ball to come off of the racket harder on the serve. So that’s another sport that ...