Legend Johnny Petraglia Talks About Bowling Nicknames

When you are around long enough, most people get a nickname. Sometimes a nickname lasts your whole life, and sometimes you end up with more than one, especially if you’re with different groups of people. In my case, I ended up with quite a few. When I was a kid, one day one of my friends called me Petranilla instead of Petraglia. That got shortened to Nilla which then somehow turned into Nailer. Skee Foremsky who I roomed with for years still calls me Nailer.

In the Military people pretty much referred to each other by their last name. In my case Petraglia was too tough to say so I ended up being called Petro.

Then I went on tour. I was John or Johnny for a couple of weeks, but then a pro named Johnny Meyer said” If I take the Pet and Lia out of your name that leaves Rag in the middle. In a day I was now called Johnny Rags, or Rags by everybody. Even the wives called me Rags, and the press used it in writing stories. One time when I won a Tournament the headline in the paper said “Riches to Rags”.

I thought I would be Rags for the rest of my life… but no, as the older guys started dropping off the tour, my name with most of the tour players went back to John or Johnny. Then a lot of the new guys started using initials to refer to each other. Patrick Allen became P.A., Parker Bohn became PB, my boss at Brunswick ( Brian Graham) became B.G.and of course Weber is called PDW so on. I guess it was only a matter of time that tour players and people from Brunswick would start calling me J.P. So theses days, I’m called John or Johnny at home, J.P. on tour and at Brunswick… and Rags by the old guys.

Here’s the reason I’m writing about my nicknames, I thought I was done with being called anything new, I was wrong. Last month I was in
Portland Maine filming the PBA League., which by the way really shows some of the terrific talent we have coming up. Bowlers like Kyle Troup, B.J.Moore, Anthony Simonsin, Jesper Swenson just to name a few, I apologize for leaving some out. It is great watching them mix with the current greats like Belmonte, Rash, Bohn, Weber, WRW, Duke, Malott and many more. Being Manager of the Brooklyn Styles has been a lot of fun, but I digress.

A few of the young guys I know but not very well, talking to 4 or 5 of them, they said Hi “Riv” see you later “Riv” and I’ve acquired a new
nickname with the young guys. You see in the movie “The Rookie” the pitcher Jim Morris ( played by Dennis Quaid) is called “Riv’ by his teamates… “Riv ” is short for “Old Man River” So you see once you pass 70 you get another nickname. I can’t even imagine what they’ll call me if I make it to 80., but I’m sure Chuck Gardner will come up with something.

To the PBA Players, I love you guys…Johnny , Nailer, Petro, Rags, J.P., Riv, Petraglia

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2 thoughts on “Legend Johnny Petraglia Talks About Bowling Nicknames

  1. Willy says:

    Haha now that’s an interesting read. Always enjoy reading your blogs Johnny and one day I look forward to meet you in person because you inspired me with your character and charisma. I am working hard to get to 200 average for the season and hoping next season would be the one. Currently, I am holding onto a 190 average. Thanks again for being a legendary bowler and love Brunswick pro staff and reps! #TeamBrunswick

  2. Keith Doran says:

    Hey John,

    Great article … brings back memories … never new Johnny Meyers, but know the name.

    Thanks for everything you,’ve done for the game we love.

    Keith Doran

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