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Experts select Anthony as PBA's greatest

LAS VEGAS — The late Earl Anthony, who left an indelible legacy on the Professional Bowlers Association Tour as its first career millionaire, was announced as the greatest player in the PBA's first 50 years Sunday, capping the tour's weeklong 50th anniversary celebration at Red Rock Resort, Casino and Spa.

Walter Ray Williams Jr. of Ocala, Fla., the man who finally eclipsed Anthony's total of 43 career PBA titles, finished second in voting conducted by a national panel of bowling experts.

Earl "would have been thrilled, very honored," said Susie Anthony, the late Earl Anthony's wife. "If Earl were here, he would probably say he wasn't deserving. He wouldn't turn it down, but he'd be very humble."

Finishing second wasn't much of a disappointment to Williams, who now has 45 PBA titles, more than $4 million in career earnings and is still one of the PBA Tour's most feared competitors.

"I feel Earl's record is better than mine because it was more condensed," Williams said. "Earl bowled 14 years and 400 or so events. I've bowled well over 600 by now, maybe 700. Some people will argue Earl's era was tougher, but others will argue my era was tougher. The reality is, people threw the ball differently in each era. That's the way the game is played."

"I'm very pleased to be No. 2," Williams continued. "If Dick Weber would have had 45 titles at the time Earl was still bowling, he probably would have kept on bowling because he would have wanted someone to chase. As it was, he retired because no one had close to the number of titles he had. He didn't have anything to shoot for."

"Some people don't remember that Earl was Player of the Year in 1983, the year he retired," said Williams, who is one of the PBA's best historians. "And he didn't even bowl a full season that year."

Top 50

1. Earl Anthony

2. Walter Ray Williams Jr.

3. Dick Weber

4. Pete Weber

5. Mark Roth

6. Mike Aulby

7. Norm Duke

8. Don Johnson

9. Marshall Holman

10. Parker Bohn III

11. Don Carter

12. Billy Hardwick

13. Brian Voss

14. Dick Ritger

15. Nelson Burton Jr.

16. John Petraglia

17. Carmen Salvino

18. Wayne Webb

19. Dave Davis

20. Dave Soutar

21. Amleto Monacelli

22. Mike Durbin

23. Dave Husted

24. Jason Couch

25. Steve Cook

26. Chris Barnes

27. Jim Stefanich

28. Harry Smith

29. Del Ballard Jr.

30. Tommy Jones

31. Wayne Zahn

32. Jim Godman

33. George Pappas

34. David Ozio

35. Randy Pedersen

36. Dave Ferraro

37. Bill Allen

38. Larry Laub

39. Mike McGrath

40. Tom Baker

41. Joe Berardi

42. Danny Wiseman

43. Doug Kent

44. Patrick Allen

45. John Guenther

46. Gary Dickinson

47. Barry Asher

48. Tommy Hudson

49. Mika Koivuniemi

50. Bob Strampe