Bowling Ball Hall of Fame

Posted by: champ

Bowling Ball Hall of Fame - 07/04/19 05:11 PM

I figured I'd start a fun thread, maybe to get some activity on here.

Let's say they just opened a Bowling Ball Hall of Fame. You're on the nominating committee. What do you choose to submit?

I've had probably 100 bowling balls. Most of them have been average for me. Neither good nor bad. Average. There are two standouts among them all that I truly loved.

1) Hammer Black Widow (original) The black widow was awesome for me. I've tried lots of the reincarnations, and some were really good, but I think the cover/core combo of the original was magic. I could use it on anything with at least a little oil and many of my personal bests were with it. I had a 300, 298, 290, 289, 765, and 759 with it. After several years of use, it was taken off the bowling rack while I wasn't watching...never saw it again.

2) Hammer Blue Vibe (original and new) I've really liked all the Vibes. The Cherry also has a very sweet place in my heart. But its the Blue Vibe I'd nominate to the Hall of Fame. Its the most versatile ball I've ever owned. It can be rolly, flippy, works on anything from pretty dry to pretty heavy. Always rolls at the right time and has exceptional carry. It has been my get out of jail free ball for a long time. I've had numerous 700s with it, a couple small tournament wins, and just bowled nine games of Nationals with it. Talk about versatility. I've worn out several and find the remakes just as good as the original.

How about you? What have been your very best?
Posted by: 82Boat69

Re: Bowling Ball Hall of Fame - 07/04/19 05:49 PM

I'd start with any of the Brunswick Track Master balls. They were the first attempt at increasing the technology of bowling balls. I would also put the [censored] Webber All-Pro in that category.

From there, the Columbia Yellow Dot, Faball Black hammer, then the Xcaliber, Aftershock and the original Hy-Road.
Posted by: champ

Re: Bowling Ball Hall of Fame - 07/04/19 07:28 PM

I was expecting the Hy-Road to mentioned with the first couple posts. It seems like everyone loved it. But it never worked out for me. While it had been described for years as the ultimate benchmark ball, for me it was just another skid flip ball that was good on house shots after the first transition. It was never a benchmark for me. I had a couple of them, but they never lasted long.
Posted by: djp1080

Re: Bowling Ball Hall of Fame - 07/05/19 11:31 AM

Originally Posted By: champ
I was expecting the Hy-Road to mentioned with the first couple posts. It seems like everyone loved it. But it never worked out for me. While it had been described for years as the ultimate benchmark ball, for me it was just another skid flip ball that was good on house shots after the first transition. It was never a benchmark for me. I had a couple of them, but they never lasted long.

Interesting... Very likely the finish on the Hy-Road didn't match up for you unfortunately. It does tend to have a pretty good finish, but I find the pearl one is better for me with even a stronger snap on the backend.
Possibly by taking the polish off and getting the cover down to 2000 or 3000 grit might be better for your style.
I bought a Hammer Dark Legend quite a while ago and it didn't shape up anything close to what I thought I'd get with it; however, when I finally took the shine off of it and took it to 3000 or 4000 grit, it began working nicely. It was almost like a difference of daylight and dark (pun intended). smile
Posted by: champ

Re: Bowling Ball Hall of Fame - 07/06/19 01:28 AM

I have somewhat of a strange release. Very little axis tilt, and speed dominant. So it is hard for me to find the perfect surface. Too shiny will always blow through the breakpoint because of my speed, and too dull will always roll out because of my heavy forward roll.

Because of that I do have a ball spinner and tweak ball surfaces quite a bit. I tried just about everything with the Hy-Road, but never could fall in love with it the way everyone else seemed to.

The best "benchmark ball" I ever had was the Storm Tropical Heat Hybrid. Not too weak, not too strong. Rolly. Always a good starting ball. Carried well. I had two of those and they both cracked along color lines. Weird.
Posted by: 82Boat69

Re: Bowling Ball Hall of Fame - 07/06/19 08:33 AM

Personally, I think too many place too much faith in bowling balls and spend too little time working on their game. Over the last 3 years I've tried all kind of drilling combination without much success. The difference in balls, drillings or both is maybe 4 boards at most and usually more like 2 boards

Controlling the length of each phase of ball motion can't be done just by drilling a new ball. Without being able to shoot from anyplace on a lane, controlling speed and entry angle isn't possible.

I think the real answer is better technique. Instead of spending $200 for a new ball, we might be better served by spending that $200 on a good lesson and more practice.

As USBC screws down ball performance, averages are also going to begin to drop. If the game can survive this reality check, then those who have the best techniques will average the best. Controlling speed and RPM's has always been the way to success.
Posted by: champ

Re: Bowling Ball Hall of Fame - 07/06/19 12:22 PM

Boat, everything you said is true. But we're not talking about scores, or technique, or skill, or USBC rules. We're talking about the Bowling Ball Hall of Fame. The goal is to spark some easy, lighthearted, fun conversation around here. Everyone has a favorite bowling ball, and I want to hear about them.
Posted by: 82Boat69

Re: Bowling Ball Hall of Fame - 07/07/19 09:47 AM

I was replying to the comment just before mine from Champ, not your hall of fame post.

If you go back 2 of my posts, you will find my entries for best balls in history.

So much for the free exchange of ideas :-)
Posted by: champ

Re: Bowling Ball Hall of Fame - 07/07/19 01:35 PM

Originally Posted By: 82Boat69


So much for the free exchange of ideas :-)



It seemed to me you were suggesting we not talk about good bowling balls, and that we should all go get a lesson instead.

Apologies if I misunderstood your post.

Now, back to talking about bowling balls.
Posted by: Mkirchie

Re: Bowling Ball Hall of Fame - 07/07/19 01:46 PM

I'm going to dig back a little in time for this. I'm also not going to necessarily include balls I owned and liked but also the ones that were extremely popular and successful.

I never had the original Danger Zone which I would include solely due to its performance on the PBA tour. However, I did own a Sapphire Zone which I would also put on the list, it was one of my all time favorite balls.

I'd also have to include the Hy-Road and the original Burgundy Hammer.

Mark
Posted by: 82Boat69

Re: Bowling Ball Hall of Fame - 07/07/19 04:52 PM

Ball popularity is directly related to the lanes and oil patterns of the day. I would suggest that even today's reactive resin or particle balls would be losers on the flat, deep oil patterns of the 50's and 60's. Same for lacquer. Oil patterns put down with a bug-sprayer and drag were spotty at best. So, to create a hall-of-fame, we need more parameters, otherwise we'll be comparing Lady Gaga, to The Mills Brothers :-)

Maybe wood, lacquer, synthetic, 'pre-lane machine' and $200K lane machines putting down perfectly blocked house shots?

I remember when what is called a THS was illegal. I also remember a short-oil period where 10 units for 20 feet gutter to gutter increased perfectos from 1000 a year to 30,000 a years. Goodbye diamond rings.
Posted by: Mkirchie

Re: Bowling Ball Hall of Fame - 07/07/19 09:29 PM

What 82Boat69 said is exactly why I can't stand comparing athletes of different eras, I sort of find it to be a waste of time. You'll never get to see them compete against each other in their prime, so what is the point? I agree, more parameters do help. It might be good to also include per decade or cover to go along with lane surface/oiling as Boat mentioned.

Mark
Posted by: 82Boat69

Re: Bowling Ball Hall of Fame - 07/08/19 04:58 AM

I started bowling in 1961 using a Brunswick Black Beauty. Back then all balls were simply different versions of industrial diamonds. I have to admit that Manhattan Rubber seemed to hook more than most and I owned one that was designated 'Hooktrol-C'. Another really popular ball in that decade was the AMF 'Magic Line'. It had 3 dots that showed a bowler their rev-rate, axis-tilt and axis-rotation. Toward the end of the 60's, Brunswick came out with the Trackmaster series which was their first attempt to designate exactly where the center of the weight block under the label was. Using that location, a bowler could maximize side-weight and top-weight. I went into the service in 1967 so was away from the game. But I would enter the Manhattan Rubber and the Trackmasters into the hall of fame simply because a bowler could 'knowingly' manage top and side weights 'before' a ball was drilled.
Posted by: Mkirchie

Re: Bowling Ball Hall of Fame - 07/08/19 08:08 AM

Things were obviously a bit crazier for a new bowler about 30 years later. When I started bowling as a 9 year old, I was using house balls for 3 years. Then, my parents with no knowledge of pro shops or equipment got me a 12 lb Ebonite plastic ball drilled at a sporting goods store at the mall (I shot my first 200 game with that ball). It wasn't until I was close to turning 14 when I was changing to a 14 lb ball that we decided to go to the pro shop. He quickly informed my parents that the plan to get me another plastic ball was pointless and I wouldn't advance much more throwing a straight shot so I got a 14 lb urethane with a pancake block right when reactive resin was starting to take over. My first higher end ball was when I got my urethane Turbo and I wouldn't get my first reactive ball until I got my Sapphire Zone 3 years after resin became dominant.
Posted by: 82Boat69

Re: Bowling Ball Hall of Fame - 07/08/19 09:25 AM

They only good thing about bowling balls in the 60's, you learned to turn the ball not your hand and most became good spare shooters. I lived in a town where there wasn't a single person averaging 200.
Posted by: Dennis Michael

Re: Bowling Ball Hall of Fame - 07/08/19 05:44 PM

I missed all the ball development as I didn't bowl for 26 years. I returned in '05 and found a completely new world of bowling. I had to learn alot and fast.

I don't know the names of all of those balls and I don't know how they were made or what they did. So, I am at a loss here.

All I know is, the old equipment I used, didn't work any more. I talked with the proshop and got totally confused. So, I took time and learned.

My first real purchase was a Danger Zone then a Blue one and a red one. I don't even remember their names. Balls weren't given names when I bowled. It was only the company name on it.

I can only attest to what balls worked for me and they are all Lane Master balls. They are not even made any longer. But, I still carry 4 to the lanes every night.

I have purchased newer equipment and shelved them all, going back to the reliable arsenal. The balls in my bag are 11, 10 and 9 years old. And, a 30+ year old plastic ball, made in China, by Ebonite.
Posted by: 82Boat69

Re: Bowling Ball Hall of Fame - 07/08/19 08:04 PM

Except for material hardness, hard rubber, polyester and urethane all hooked relative to their surface and there was very little dynamic weighting. The Faball Black Hammer had a core, but the core was spherical with just a little hockey-puck at one end. The original Hammers probably flared 1/2 inch to 1 inch at most.

I don't remember any balls having significant flare until the middle 90's. I think reactive-urethane was still predominant and spherical cores were the most common. Once the surface and flare were combined, the lid was off. RG and Diff rule today, but they still only account for 10-15% of a balls motion. Surface is still king.
Posted by: champ

Re: Bowling Ball Hall of Fame - 07/09/19 12:15 AM

Based on sheer sales on longevity we probably have to add the White Dot, right?
Posted by: 82Boat69

Re: Bowling Ball Hall of Fame - 07/09/19 02:04 AM

I never owned a Columbia White Dot, but I did own a Columbia Blue Dot which I acquired around 1979 and just retired about 4 months ago. I'd definitely put a Blue Dot in my hall of fame.
Posted by: BOSStull

Re: Bowling Ball Hall of Fame - 07/13/19 09:35 AM

As with Dennis I left bowling in 1982 and did not get back into bowling until around 2008. In 1982 I was using a D.I.C.K WEBER Five Star. It seem to be a very popular ball back then and would be a candidate for the HOF. The big marketing gimmick was that it was a bigger ball. It was the only ball I used an averaged around 190. So I missed out on a lot of ball development. But from the period after 2009 I would say the Hy-Road should be in the HOF. I like mine but it has tamed down from out of box and is relegated to lighter conditions playing down and in around the 5 board. I find all the Storm balls tame down quite a bit. When I did got back into bowling it was more experimentation with balls and with my overall game. On this site and other forums I kept hearing about Lane Masters ball and got a NIB The New Standard off the WEB for $65. Comparing all balls I purchased since 2009 this is still my best ball. Although it will never make a HOF it forced USBC to change its ball specs due to its Diamond particle cover. The Scratch Test. Unlike Storm balls the L/M balls do not loose their reaction.

Balls come and go but what what is very interesting is the recycling of cores. Some of the cores seem to have been around for a long time. As with L/M the Dynasty core, Hammer the GASMASK core, Ebonite the Centrex core in The One series, and Storm even the Hy-Road inverted FE2 core. So if you think you missed out on a ball that should be in HOF wait a little bit some version of it with the same core may come back into production.
Posted by: 82Boat69

Re: Bowling Ball Hall of Fame - 07/13/19 09:45 AM

I agree, the All Pro needs to go to the HOF. I shot my first 300 with an All Pro. The version I owned had solid white stars. Later, the stars only had outlines. The All pro was a 3 piece ball. It had a weight block, an inner core and an outer surface. It definitely hooked more than the old rubber balls. Instead of being 90 hardness, it was probably 85 :-) But more hook was always better. Fewer 8-10's, 5-7's, 5-10's and weak corners.
Posted by: BOSStull

Re: Bowling Ball Hall of Fame - 07/13/19 10:03 AM

When I started bowling again I looked for mine but could not find it. I have no clue what I did with it. It would still make a good spare ball. Just Wednesday I saw a bowler in leagues next to us using that ball. It was easy to spot with the 5 stars. I had the solid stars.