Foutz Bowling Frames Decoded
Guest post today comes from Katie’s cousin, Carl Knutson. Who bears some responsibility for Colt’s genealogy obsession, as you may recall.
I saw your post this morning on Twitter from your blog. … I saw it was about bowling in the 50s (and) I thought I would check it out. If the leagues worked the same way then that they do now I might have some additional insights for you.
You mentioned you thought there were two games per week, although I’m guessing there are actually three games per week. That seems to be the standard for most bowling leagues now, at least. There are two things that point in that direction from the scores you posted.
First, there are two scores from the April page that are over 600. This wouldn’t be possible in a two game series even if someone would be able to bowl two 300s in a row. Shetler from Wallick Coal put up a 618 and Rose from Lewis Funeral Home put up a 609.
Second, bowling scores just weren’t that high back then and they aren’t typically that high now either. The spring bowling season just started for me so I don’t have the scores from last week handy, but last fall I was in a league of thirty 4-person teams. While we are the “fun” league, there are some good bowlers and the highest average is still only around 190. Most averages range from about 110 to 170.
I was trying to find some data on Pro Bowling scores from that era but couldn’t really find anything. The closest I could really find was this article:
I calculated what would have been the average score with the totals you posted for either 2 or 3 games. You can check it out here:
Two games would have everyone on your grandfather’s team scoring well over 200 for nearly every game.
For the points, the way things work now is that you get one point for each game and then another point for winning the match each week. From the standing you posted, it looks like there were 15 weeks of games if there were 4 points per match and 8 matches per week. This actually is similar to the league I’m in now. We do 16 weeks during the fall and spring seasons and then 12 weeks over the summer.
I was also interested in the handicap. Usually there is some sort of formula that determines the handicap. In my league, the handicap is currently 90% of the difference between your average and 205. Usually this handicap changes as your average changes week to week.
One thing I noticed is that there were a number of teams that had the same average as your grandfather’s team, 375, and that it didn’t seem to change. This comes out to 25 points per player per game. Maybe this was the maximum handicap you could have in the league. Other teams that had higher scores on average had a lower handicap and it changed over time.
Anyway, I hope that gives you a bit more info about your grandfather’s bowling league.
Cheers to you and the rest of the family.