Saturday, June 11, 2011

Bowling Blue

For some reason I have bowling on the mind, and I just can't seem to get away from it. Heck, being a Dodger fan only ads to the madness. Why is that you ask? Well, as I've written many times before, the game of bowling has a historical connection to the team, and, as I'm finding out thanks to Ronald Shafer, who wrote the book "When the Dodgers Where Bridegrooms" that I featured recently, its ties go further back than I imagined.

Just to recap. In the past I've featured several former Dodgers and their bowling bonafides. There's Gil Hodges Lanes in Brooklyn and this vintage pin and postcard (btw, the location still exist, but has since been renamed), A Pee Wee Reese Lanes in Louisville and this award cup and key fob, and the more recent Bowling Extravaganza hosted by James Loney (which is coming up in August).
Well, now I find out that former Brooklyn Bridegroom catcher Doc Bushong was considered a top bowler after his playing career. He professionally became a dentist after Baseball, but was known to be a challenge on the lanes.

On top of that, Charles Ebbets, Brooklyn's bookkeeper in 1883 and eventual owner, was a noted bowler. His SABR Biography indicates that he was a much better bowler than a ballplayer, and, as further research showed, he was an active member of the bowling community. Below is a vintage 1902 Ebbets for President of the American Bowling Congress pin that I found at Lelands to prove that point.
Then, here is something I had totally overlooked. Across the street from Ebebts Field was a bowling alley owned by former Dodger "Fat Freddie" Fitzsimmons. It was a Brooklyn mainstay, but survived only a few years after the Dodgers left for LA.
This all brings up one, still unanswered, connection. As I did my research I came up with a photo I had taken 3 years ago during a Dodger Stadium clubhouse tour I had taken three years ago. Check it out below. What are those bowling pins doing in Hong Chih Kuo's locker? Please, I want to know.

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