Who Are The Best Three Bowlers You Have Ever Seen

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Who Would You Say Are The Best 3 Bowlers You Have Ever Watched? (Poll Below)

By Michael Cousins

I decided to do some hands-on, first-hand research. I wanted to do an article on some of the best bowlers ever — the three best, to be precise. But I didn’t just want to give you all some baseless opinion piece with me just telling you why bowler X, Y, and Z are the best ever. That wouldn’t carry much weight, would it?

So, instead, I decided to take advantage of my week in Las Vegas at Bowl Expo and ask some industry headliners their opinion. However, for the sake of this argument, though, I am not mentioning names, as I wouldn’t want to offend anyone or have anyone’s opinions judged.

My question was a simple one: “who are the three best bowlers you have ever seen?” Which I thought was a pretty simple, straight forward question, but the first person I asked responded with “in terms of victories or just the ‘best BOWLER’ I have seen?”

That intrigued me, honestly. So I went with it. I said just tell me the three best bowlers, not necessarily meaning victories, you’ve ever seen — after all, we have all seen the Walter, Earl, Pete, Norm debate a hundred times; it gets old.

So, below are the names I heard the most often, as well as some quick-quotes that I heard about them.

Pete Weber

“This is an easy one; he is the best bowler ever.” “Nobody has ever been as physically gifted or impressive. No one.” “Pete is the best bowler of all-time. No disrespect to anyone else, but he is.”

Chris Barnes

“I haven’t ever seen a more physically textbook player. Maybe Ozio, but Ozio did less with it. So it is hard to not give the edge to Chris.” “Chris was the best bowler in the world for a very large window in his prime, and all of his competitors knew it.” “If he came out like 18-20 the way the kids are nowadays, he’d have 5-10 more titles.”

Jason Belmonte

“What this guy is doing right now might be the single best stretch of bowling I have ever witnessed — and I witnessed Walter and Pete’s prime first hand.” “Belmo has to be on that list. Has to be.” “People (purists) aren’t going to like this, but Belmo is on the very short list.” “Belmo.”

Norm Duke

“I have never seen a better ‘bowler’ than Norm Duke.” “For me, Norm defines what a bowler is.” “I don’t know if he’s the best ever, but he’s in my top three.” “The most versatile player to ever throw a ball.”

Mark Roth

“He defined an entire era of bowling. Not dissimilar to what Jason is doing now.” “People just talked about his power — and it was impressive — but this guy didn’t miss spares and he was as mentally gritty as anyone that ever competed on tour.”

Marshall Holman

“Never seen a guy that wanted to win more than Marshall. And I don’t know if I ever will.” “Ultimate competitor.” “Deserves to be talked about in this conversation more often.”

Obviously I heard the names of Walter Ray Williams Jr. and Earl Anthony, as well, but far less than I thought I would. So I finally started asking why?

“It isn’t anything personal, I just am not as physically in awe of them the way I was the others I named.” “They’re the two most-winningest players ever. They’re in the best of all-time discussion. I just thought this list was a little different and I wanted to take a different approach.” “They’re the GOATs.”

Poll! Let us know who is the top bowler you’ve ever watched below!

So, as you can see, no one was trying to discredit them or their body of work. They almost all, universally, consider them the GOATs — or on that short list — but they all took a different approach, which is what I wanted. And I am personally very, very happy with how this list turned out, because it wasn’t cookie cutter and it wasn’t generic. These guys took their time and really thought about it and gave some real thought to it. I appreciate all of these guy’s efforts, and I hope you do, too.

3 thoughts on “Who Are The Best Three Bowlers You Have Ever Seen

  1. Victor D Scharich says:

    Well I was ready to give you the THREE best bowlers I’ve ever seen but you set your quiz up to FAIL only allowing us one choice and not many goods ones at that. Well I put other and MYSELF , but Earl Anthony, Don Carter, Nelson Burton Jr. , Dick Weber, Carmen Salvino, David Husted, Marshall Holman, Ernie Schlegel , Hugh Miller, Johnny Petraglia, Mark Roth … But names like Jim Godman three time winner Firestone tournament of Champions !!! I think it best for you to keep your research to yourself and your choices and leave it open to everyone else to do their own OH and one guy I saved for last local Seattle PBA Johnny Guenther…

  2. Eduardo F. Muniz says:

    Agree with Victor D. Scharich you only gave one choice, How about Old Timers like Ray Bluth, Billy Golombieski, Dick Weber and so many ones from the 40s & 50s.

  3. ray lawrence says:

    No contest! J A S O N B E L M O N T E

    Saw him bowl in Columbus, OH in 2019 (losing to Simonsen w two 7 – 10 splits)

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