The Gym Bag: Islander runs into bowling great Nelson Burton Jr

Islander John Eadicicco, right, poses with pal and former Islander Bobby Garzone, left, and professional bowler Nelson Burton Jr. in Florida on Tuesday.

By Joe D’Amodio | [email protected]

Staten Island Bowling Hall of Fame president John Eadicicco received a nice surprise Tuesday when he got the opportunity to meet professional bowling great Nelson Burton Jr. in Stuart, Fla.

Eadicicco has been in the Sunshine State visiting his pal and former Islander, Bobby Garzone, who moved south last year.

Eadicicco and Garzone decided to meet up with Joe Zancocchio, another former Islander and bowler, who also recently relocated to Florida.

While at Stuart Lanes, the three spotted Burton Jr., the 79-year-old Professional Bowlers Association Hall of Famer and former analyst on the PBA telecasts, at the center.


It was the first time Eadicicco had meet Burton Jr.


“He has a great sense of humor and was best friends (with former Islander and PBA Hall of Famer) Johnny Petraglia when they were on tour,” said Eadicicco, known as “Chico” to Island keglers. “He was very congenial.”


Eadicicco said Burton Jr. told him he still practices 5-6 times a week and claims to have bowled 600 perfect games.


“I really loved his commentary on the PBA telecasts on Saturdays (on ABC’s Wide World of Sports),” said Eadicicco.


Eadicicco said he didn’t bowl because he didn’t bring his bowling equipment on the trip.


Eadicicco said that Burton Jr. was practicing for Sunday’s Battle of the Beach Tournament in which the highest average bowlers in the area compete. Burton Jr. has won the event the last three years.


Zancocchio is also slated to compete in the tournament, according to Eadicicco.



In the end, Eadicicco enjoyed the day spending time with his old friends.


“Good times, like the old days,” he said. “Still talking sports, but mostly bowling.”

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One thought on “The Gym Bag: Islander runs into bowling great Nelson Burton Jr

  1. Steve says:

    I have a Leroy Neiman Bowling serigraph (Million Dollar Strike) that is also pencil signed by Nelson Burton Jr. I’d love to know what year he signed it. Thanks.

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