Mark RothHis explosive power play made him one of bowling’s all-time greats and the second person to earn $1 million in career earnings in the sport, died Friday in Oswego, NY, at age 70.
His wife, Denise Roth, said the cause was congestive heart failure. He has suffered two strokes since 2009 – the first of which ended his career – and two heart attacks, and was in the long-care facility at the time of his death.
Roth was a star of the Professional Bowlers Association and a mainstay of the PBA Tour in the 1970s and ’80s. He won 34 championships, eight of which were in 1978; earned $1.5 million on tour; and was named PBA Player of the Year four times. He was inducted into the association’s Hall of Fame in 1987 and was named the association’s fifth greatest player in 2008.
Roth took an almost violent approach to bowling, which he once compared to “uncapping the ball.” As he was releasing the ball, he twisted his wrist violently, creating great speed and spin, causing the ball to fall. for the right hook to the strike pockeT.
“Sometimes I launch rockets” Roth told Sports Illustrated in 1978. “My ball can sometimes even beat lane conditions.”
Marshall Holman, “Mark combined power and accuracy, making him very dynamic and arguably the best backup shooter the game has seen in the past half-century,” Roth’s longtime rival said in a phone call.
Roth’s most famous backup – knocking down the remaining pins with the second bowl thrown into a frame – was during a tournament in Alameda, California in 1980. hard 7-10 split as everyone knows — knocking down two pins in opposite corners of the back row on national television.
“He had a small grin on his face,” said Holman, who was practicing in a nearby lane. “But I was going crazy. It was the coolest thing I’ve ever seen.”
The aggressive torque of Roth’s release caused his right hand to become calloused and his thumb to bleed. At first he dipped his thumb in the foot soap, but later alleviated the problem a bit by changing the angle of his ball’s thumb hole so that he could release the finger more easily.
Mark Stephen Roth was born on April 10, 1951 in Brooklyn. Her mother Hilda (Rocker) Roth was a legal secretary and her father Sydney was a postal worker. Bowling began to dominate his early life after his Rainbow Lanes home was built next to it.
age 13, average 160; At 17, he averaged 195 (usually averaging professionally in the 210s). He also worked in the bowling alley, first as a pin player and then as a mechanic operating automatic pinsetting machines. He bowled for the Sheepshead Bay High School team and went to other bowling centers in addition to Rainbow for doubles matches. Johnny Petraglia, who will also be inducted into the PBA Hall of Fame.
“I got kicked out of a lot of places,” Roth told Sports Illustrated. “They were fed up with my winning and said, ‘Get out and don’t come back.’”
After graduating, he bowled in some local tournaments until he earned enough money to join the PBA Tour in 1970. But his unorthodox, self-taught style had its doubts.
“Before we went on tour, people said, ‘You’ll never make it.’ You can’t last three years'” He told Bowlers Journal in 2018. “I was very determined to silence these people.”
“The same thing happened on tour,” he added. They said, ‘You have to throw it straighter’, do this, do that. I was determined to do it my own way and that was it.”
His success came gradually. He earned only $1,000 in 1970.and didn’t win his first title until 1975 at the King Louie Open in Overland Park, Kan. He won three tournaments in 1976 and four the following year. After winning eight tournament titles in 1978, he won six more in 1979.
One of his four victories in 1984, at the Greater Detroit Openincreased his career earnings to over $1 million; with this, he joined Earl Anthony as the only other bowler to reach that level at the time. Compared to other sports, it was a particularly notable achievement for a sport whose prize money was modest.
Roth and a partner bought Rainbow Lanes in 1984 and remained owners until the mid-1990s.
He won his last tournament on the PBA Tour in 1995 and won the $45,000 first prize. IOF Foresters Open in Mississauga, Ontario, a suburb of Toronto. He joined the association’s senior PBA50 circuit and won a second place in 2001 and a runner-up in 2002.
“What Mark did seemed impossible,” PBA commissioner Tom Clark said in an interview, referring to Roth’s power play. “Technology has evolved to allow balls to hook more and hit with more force – naturally doing what it does.”
Roth suffered a severe stroke in 2009 that partially paralyzed his left side; With physical therapy, he was able to walk with a quad cane, bowled occasionally, and taught at a bowling center in Liverpool, NY. He is a regular at the annual Mark Roth-Marshall Holman PBA Doubles Championship held at various venues.
“He should have bowled in the senior round for the last 12 years,” Ms. Roth said in an interview.
He married Denise McKinney in 2003. His previous marriage to Jacqueline Dente ended in divorce.
In addition to his wife, Roth is survived by a daughter, Stephanie Roth, from his first marriage; stepdaughter Kimberly Gorton-David; his stepson Mark MacIntyre; three step-grandchildren; and a step-granddaughter.
Roth was known to be shy and quiet. But in 1978 Sports Illustrated was up for observing the eccentric morning hotel room ritual before heading to a tournament: He would scream, bang his fists on the bed, stomp his feet, repeat the word “Firp” over and over. Let her feathers fly by banging a pillow against the wall.
“I do it because it makes me feel better and helps me bowl,” he said. “It took me a while to try out my routine on tour. I’ve been bowling better since I started.”