Statistics Q&A  [1-20]

Ron October 24, 2006
State College

Congratulations on winning your record 42nd PBA title. While everyone nows knows you have finished first in 42 tournaments, it seems less clear to me how many 2nds, 3rds, 4ths & 5ths you've had. The PBA page contends that the correct numbers are 39, 35, 17, and 28, respectively (after the 2006 Japan Cup) for a total of 161 career top 5 finishes. I was wondering if your tally of your tournament finishes matches what says. This may be minutae, but I find these numbers slightly inaccurate. I find that the correct numbers of your 2nds, 3rds, 4ths & 5ths are 40, 36, 15, and 25, respectively, for a total of 158 Top 5 finishes. I am including in this all your PBA singles & doubles tournaments appearances including the Merit mixed doubles and the senior-touring pro doubles tournaments, which I think that also does. The confusion on the number of 2nds may be due to not correctly including the 1995 AMF Dick Weber Classic, where you finished 2nd, even though (ironically) you had a 1-3 record on the show, or possibly the PBA not including you & Wendy MacPherson's 2nd at the '97 Merit Mixed Doubles, where you & Wendy snuck into 2nd in the very last game. I have noticed for several years that your number of 2nds has been incorrectly given on PBA telecasts. I am not sure why the PBA has a different number of 3rds through 5ths, though, from what I calculated. They may be calling your 8th place finish at the 2000 Indianapolis Open a 5th finish because you made the show in the 8-man format they used back then, which would explain part of the discrepancy. In any case, I would be interested to hear what you consider your "official" statistics for career TV appearances

Hi Ron,
I really don't know the exact numbers on my top 5 finishes. I guess I could forward this information to the PBA and ask them. I believe that the number of TV finals is different than number of top 5 finishes as some tournaments have had 4, 5 and even 8 players on TV while a few didn't have any. Thanks for your information.

Anne April 25, 2006

Hi, I was wondering if i could find out more about the physics behind bowling. i saw that you majored in physics and now being a professional bowling player i was wondering the major areas physics really plays a role in bowling?

Hi Anne,
Physics plays a role in everything we do. But we don't need to think about it. Knowing that a ball will hook because it has a certain rotation on it and its surface is such and the lane conditions are a certain way doesn't take a degree in Physics. I look at things a bit differently than others probably more because of statistics. If I hit the pocket, that is the best chance for throwing a strike. Knowing how to hit the pocket the most often is my key. Realizing that the pins aren't set up exactly the same so that 2 'identical' shots don't always get the same results helps a little bit. I hope that makes some sense on how I approach bowling.

Ron March 9, 2006
State College

There has been some discussion on the PBA message board alleging that Earl Anthony should really have 43 PBA championships, including his 2 ABC Masters victories, if they are going to count your 2004 Master's victory as a PBA title. While you have graciously conceded that, in your mind, Earl was the greatest bowler of all time, I think there are some things in your favor when comparing your victory total to his. As you have previously pointed out, you have twice won the Japan Dream Bowl, which were not considered PBA titles (even though the year Hugh Miller won, it was). Also, I seem to recall that you went many years where you did not participate in the ABC Masters, probably in part because it was not considered a PBA championship event at that time. It is logical to think that you might have won it a couple more times during those years, given your recent success when you have participated. That would have at least equalized your record in regard to the Masters with Anthony's. Also, Earl won 12 tournaments, mostly early in his career, where there was no stepladder final because those events was not televised. You, by contrast, lost the first 9 events where you were tournament leader because of bad breaks or good bowling by your opponent on TV. You would have been the potential champion of of those tournaments, had they used the same format used in some of Earl's early wins. Obviously, Earl achieved his victory total in many fewer tournaments than you did, so there's arguments on either side. Obviously, it's impossible to directly compare players from different eras, but I think your record in general stands up favorably to his. I was wondering, also, if you had seen or calculated any statistics comparing your average relative PBA members in your era, with Earl's average relative to members in his era. My guess is that you would be at least equal to him in that kind of statistical comparison, also. Any comments? Ron.

Hi Ron,
I guess it doesn't really matter what I do as some people have already made up their minds about certain things. The official number of PBA tour titles which Earl Anthony is credited with is 41 plus 2 ABC Masters. I believe that I only missed 1 ABC tournament once I started bowling them and that was because there was a national tournament going on at the same time. I didn't really care about bowling in the Masters due to its format. Now we have a similar format on tour. I hope that some day I will win more titles so that I could get to 41, 42 or even more official titles, but if I don't I will be very happy with my career. I know that I have bowled in many more tournaments than Earl bowled, so what he did is more impressive to me than what I have done. I feel that in the last 20 years I have been the best bowler and there are many who would argue that. Some people don't give Earl much credit as he was left handed and there are others who don't give me much credit as I don't hook the ball as much as some other pros. Earl was at the top of the average lists for every year he bowled on tour. I have been at the top of the average lists for many of the last 20 years, but with a couple years not quite as high. I try to do the best that I can every time that I bowl, which I am sure is what Earl did. That is probably another reason why Earl retired at 45. He didn't want to compete on tour if he didn't feel that he was at the top. So instead of bowling a few more years and probably being in the top 10 at the end of the year in stats and most likely winning more tournaments he decided to retire. My guess is that if Dick Weber had 42 official titles Earl would have kept on bowling. Remember that Dick wasn't able to bowl on tour when he was in his 20's as the PBA didn't exist. So it could be argued that many of the big tournaments the Dick won before the PBA was going strong should count as official titles.

Steven February 5, 2006

I just got back into Bowling. My scores were 120, 106, & 117. I used my calculator to figure the average, & got 114.3333333 Is my average 114 or 115?

Hi Steven,
If you only bowled 3 games, it is not really enough games to determine an accurate average. I believe that the USBC figures averages by dropping any fractions or truncating the numbers, so that 114.3 or 114.9 would be 114. Being a math major I always like to 'round up' which would mean that 114.3 would be 114 while 114.9 would be 115.

Scott February 14, 2006
Hello Walter Ray-
I once heard Mike Durbin say on an ESPN telecast that the 8 pin is the only true tap in bowling. I was curious as to what your take is on this. Are ringing 10's taps or can something be done to help your pin carry?

Hi Scott,
By definition, a tap being a pin left when hitting the pocket, a solid 10 is definitely a tap. I think what Mike Durbin was talking about is that most professionals like to hit 'flush' in the pocket where all 10 pins go in the pit very quickly. A solid 8 pin is the pin most likely to be left when hitting flush. I wish I knew what to do about solid 10's as I keep on leaving them. Hang in there!

Doug January 23, 2006

How many 300 games have you bowled? I have bowled one and I am only 16

Hi Doug,
I think that the PBA has me at having 65 in PBA competition. I didn't bowl my first 200 game until I was 16 and my first 300 when I was 20, so I guess you are ahead of me. Good luck!

Darryl November 22, 2005

Can you please explain the statistics that appear on your report of the Jason Couch match, specifically:
X% 63 (20/32)
Poc % 84 (27/32)
Poc X % 74 (20/27)

What do these statistics represent?

Hi Darryl,
X % is strike percentage, Poc % is pocket percentage, Poc X % is pocket strike percentage. The numbers on the left of the parenthesis is the number of times I either struck or hit the pocket while the number on the right is the number of times attempted.

Bao August 22, 2005
South Gate

Dear Walter Ray,
Some friends and I were having a discussion about the average 200+ average bowler. We all have over 200 averages. I said in watching them and from my own experience we are all averaging approximately two opens per game. Because we are throwing enough strikes we still manage to maintain 200+ averages. They don't think that that is the case. Are there any statistics on the number of open frames the average 200 bowler leaves? We all have days when we throw clean games but most have open frame.

Hi Bao,
I don't know if the USBC keeps track of those things, but they might. But I would be surprised if you had 2 opens per game. I could see 1.2 to 1.5 opens per game. The best way is to keep track of all your games for the season and not just your 200 games.

I checked my last 3 days at the US Open this past year as that was the toughest lane conditions I bowled on and my average for those games was 208.5 for 39 games. I had 211 strikes out of 431 shots. That leaves 220 none strikes. I had 15 shots which were fill balls which didn't strike, so spares weren't relevant. Out of the 205 spare attempts (including splits) I had 176/205 which means that I had 29 opens in the 39 games. That translates to an average of .74 opens per game. This is probably a bit low as I may have had a good week on leaving a lot of difficult splits. Over half of my non-strikes were single pin spares of which I only missed one.

I made
110/111 single pins
38/45 two pin combinations
19/29 of three pin combinations
9/19 four pin combinations
0/1 five pin combinations
For a total of 176/205.

Tony July 28, 2005

Walter Ray,
How many 300 games have you made in TV final?

Hi Tony,
I don't have any 300 games on TV yet, but 3 of my opponents have managed to do it against me! Guess I am just lucky.

Chuck March 24, 2005
Mt. Morris.

Walter Ray,
I have a couple questions. First I understand prior to 1998 the Masters was not considered a PBA event. Prior to 1998 how many Masters did you compete in and how many television appearances did you make? Secondly, do you think the PBA should credit all the Masters winners prior to 1998 with PBA titles including Earl Anthony's two victories? Good luck in the last two majors of the year.

Hi Chuck,
I competed in all of the Masters from 1984 until 1998 except one year and never made the TV finals despite having high averages in several of those events. There are many tournaments that are not considered PBA titles besides the ABC Masters including the BPAA All-Star classic which was the precursor to the US Open. In 2002 Hugh Miller won the Japan Dream Match Play tournament which was that year considered a PBA tournament with over 400 entries. I won the very same tournament in 2000 and 2003, but it wasn't considered an official PBA tournament in either of those years. It is an odd statistic about the Masters, but that is the way it is. Thanks.

Brian February 26, 2005
Terre Haute

Hello. I was just curious about something. I always see your single pin spare percentage for the week when you make the show. I'm wondering if you happen to know your all time single pin spare conversion percentage on TV? You're definitely the best this era has ever seen. I wish you continued success, you'll be owning that record soon. Thanks for making it possible for an average man like myself to communicate with you.

Hi Brian,
I don't have the stat of my single pin conversion rate on TV. I do know that I have missed at least 2 10 pins on TV. They happen to have been in the same game back in 1988 which most likely cost me a title. I don't know if I have missed any other single pins since then. One day, I may go back over all of my games on TV and chart them.

Gus February 18, 2005

You use the Frames program to log every game of competition and it gets uploaded to this site very quickly. According to their website, that program also has a statistics feature where you can list the strike percentage, spare percentage, pocket percentage and other stats. Do you plan on posting those statistics for every tournament, and maybe even for the season as a whole?

Hi Gus,
The time it takes for me to do a 'report' for each tournament can be quite a bit, so I have stopped doing that. It still takes me quite a while to get the scoresheets in the right format and even longer when in match play when I have to enter all of my opponents frames after the match is done. Unfortunately the program doesn't differentiate blocks bowled on the same day, so that makes some of the stats a little tough to do. I'll try and include those stats in the future.

Brian February 17, 2005

I have two questions for you.
1) Do you keep track of whether you delivered a shot as desired on your palm? I saw you indicate to Paige "My Bad!" on a shot you pulled two boards inside that resulted in a split.

2) How do you dtermine when a shot is played out and you need to adjust?

I am a secretary in several leagues so I have my laptop with me. I am writing a database program which will allow me to chart my games as you do, but also allow me to enter additional facts; Hit my target, knew it was a strike off my hand, pulled it, over threw it, chicken winged it, and was distracted. I think that I can develop a way to let me know that when there are 10 righters on 5/6 my shot lasts for 9 frames, changes again in the 7th frame of the 2nd game, etc. Do you practice any of this?

I enjoyed watching you, and look forward to seeing you get #42, the heck with 41, see yourself getting 43. I know you will do it!

Note to Paige.... Check to see if the palm allows you to open the application twice at the same time, that way you can track the opponent's game during match play

Hi Brian,
The frames program does quite a bit, but like most programs doesn't do everything in the world. I don't keep track of if I liked the shot off of my hand. The Frames program has a spot for if it hits the pocket which is a subjective idea. Even if I don't throw the ball the way I meant to, the ball may still go to the pocket, except on a difficult shot like the US Open. Likewise, every once in a while I feel like I threw the ball well and it doesn't. I have never thought that off of my hand the ball was a strike, but I may have felt like it should hit the pocket which is the highest percentage for striking. It is then a matter of getting the carry that I want. Most palm programs aren't allowed to be opened more than one at a time.

Chuck February 1, 2005
Mt. Morris

Is the BWAA Bowler of the Year based on calendar year (Jan.-Dec.) statistics? If so, I think you are a lock for your 8th BWAA Bowler of the Year. I looked up your statistics on the PBA website and see you won three titles in 2004 which includes a major plus five other TV appearances. I don't think anybody else had comparable statistics. When will the decision be made? Also, what is the ESPY award based on? Calendar year? PBA season? Or something else? Good luck on the remainder of the PBA season. I hope you get to 41 titles real soon. Chuck

Hi Chuck,
I don't know when the BWAA makes their decisions on Bowler of the Year. I think that the ESPY award for bowling would be close to the PBA season. Thanks.

Statistics Q&A  [1-20]

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