A League of Ordinary Gentlemen

Bowling Through The Decades


Bowling Through The Decades: The 1980s

1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s

Patch in the shape of the state of Arizona with an embroidered cactus wearing a cowboy hat and gun belt, bowling pins and a sunset. Lettering says: 23rd Annual Bowling Tournament, Phoenix, Arizona 1985
1985 tournament patch, courtesy
Air National Guard Bowling Museum

Video game box for Mattel Electronics Intellivision has various drawings: a man swinging his arm mid-throw, a boy, a girl and bowling pins
Intellivision PBA Bowling (1980)

The number of League bowlers peaks at 8 million in 1980.

The PBA National Championship posts its largest prize fund, $135,000, second only to the $150,000 Firestone Tournament of Champions.

Lisa “Rocket” Wagner is named Rookie of the Year in 1980. In 1988 she wins six times on the women’s PBA (PWBA) tour, establishing a record that lasts until 2001.

Mattel’s Intellivision PBA Bowling game is released in 1980. The electronic game is programmed by an avid bowler and praised for its realistic details.

PBA membership approaches 2,500.

Earl Anthony becomes the first PBA member to earn more than $1 million and the PBA Tour goes to Europe for the first time in 1982.

The PBA celebrates its 25th anniversary in 1983.

The National Bowling Hall of Fame and Museum opens in St. Louis, Missouri. The $7 million complex contains four bowling lanes dating back to 1924 (human pinsetters; four frames for $3).

In an episode of Married With Children, “Alley of the Dolls,” Peg meets an old rival from high school and their two families face off at a bowling match.

Bowling makes its debut as an exhibition sport at the 1988 Olympics.

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Girl in a punk-style puffy petticoat and a black camisole wearing short black boots and big hair in a bowling alley, she shows with her fingers just how close she was as her friend watches
Dee-Dee Halvorson gestures how much she missed the 10-pin to
Kate Ferry at the Brunswick Lanes in Hollywood.
1982 photo courtesy Los Angeles Public Library, Herald-Examiner collection

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