National Obituary Review

Dead Person of the Day – August 14 – Earl Anthony

0 Comments 14 August 2012


Bowling’s first million dollar man – Earl Anthony – is our DPD today. Nicknamed Square Earl for his dedication to the ‘more is less’ sense of fashion Mr. Anthony was a winner, stellar athlete, fashion pioneer and overall an example for the the rest of us.

”He was as smooth as the pin-setter,” recalled Chris Schenkel, whose Saturday afternoon telecasts on ABC brought bowling into the pro sports limelight during the 1970’s.

Growing up in Washington state Anthony was a freak athlete. As a teenager he was signed to a Baltimore Orioles minor league affiliate and was moving up the ranks quickly. While helping bag groceries at a local market he tweaked his elbow while trying to stuff a stalk of celery into a shopping bag well beyond its weight capacity. Sadly, he would never fully recover and thus MLB (and the world) would never know his baseball talents.

But, true to form, when one door closes another opens Anthony turned to his first true love – bowling – to pay the bills. Very much an unknown commodity at the time he took the world of high stakes bowling by storm. Because of his late start in the sport he didn’t win his first title until after he turned 30. But once he started he was on a tear not seen since Oswald Finch’s run on the junior circuit in upstate NY in the 1920s and 30s.

Six of his titles were achieved by a pair of improbable “three-peats” in the PBA National Championship, the first three from 1973–75 and the other three from 1981-83.

His playing career was long and illustrious. Anthony won at least one PBA title in 15 consecutive seasons (1970–84). He joined the Senior Tour in 1988 and accumulated another seven titles there

In a Sports Illustrated Magazine national vote he was named the 2nd Greatest Athlete in the history of the state of Washington (behind only former NBA star John Stockton).

On a side note…I was there in Duluth, 1978. I saw him pick up the 7/10 split that sent Scott Scagnetti home empty-handed – so dejected he vowed never to play again (a promise he kept until a divorce and subsequent bankruptcy brought him back in ‘84). Anthony was the coolest cat in the place…and the tension in the room was palpable. I’ll never forget it.

Earl Anthony, 63, Bowling’s First $1 Million Man, Dies
Published: August 16, 2001

Earl Anthony, professional bowling’s No. 1 title-winner and its first $1 million man, was found dead Tuesday at a friend’s home in New Berlin, Wis., having fallen down a flight of stairs. He was 63. Continue

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