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1958: With a stunning series, this St. Louis team made bowling history

1958: With a stunning series, this St. Louis team made bowling history

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The Sports section of the Post-Dispatch from March 13, 1958.

Editors note: This story originally ran in March of 1991. The Budweiser team record would stand for more than 35 years.

On March 12, 1958, the Budweiser Beer team arrived at Floriss Lanes in north St. Louis for its weekly Masters League match. Within a couple of hours, the five team members had reached a major stepping stone on their way to the Bowling Hall of Fame. That was the night Don Carter, Ray Bluth, Pat Patterson, Tom Hennessey and Dick Weber teamed to roll a 3,858 series. It bettered by 61 pins the record set in 1937 by another St. Louis team, Hermann Undertakers.

The headline - ''Buds Bowl 3858, Highest Score in History; Two 300 Games'' - spread across the first sports page of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch the following morning.

That 3,858 averages out to more than 771 pins per man, or 257 per game for 15 games.

It was incredible, yet not totally unexpected.

''Whenever we got on lanes 7 and 8, we always figured we had a shot at breaking the record, '' said Hennessey. ''We shot over 3,700 a couple of times on that pair.''

It was the favorite pair of lanes for each of the bowlers. Lane 8 hooked considerably more than lane 7; on 7, they had to play a tight line to the pocket.

Bluth, rolling 33 of a possible 36 strikes, led the way with an 834 series. He had spares in the eighth and ninth frames of the first game, then threw 11 strikes before leaving a 10-pin in the ninth frame of the second game. He missed it.

''I told him, 'Ray, you can't shoot 300 like that. You've got to knock them all down every time, ''' said Hennessey. ''He looked at me and said, 'I'll be there.' ''

Bluth kept his word. He finished the night with 15 straight strikes, bowling a 300 in the final game after a pair of 267s.

Hennessey had a 300, too, in the second game. He strung 18 consecutive strikes, beginning with the first frame of his second game. His perfect game was sandwiched between a 228 and 231, giving him a 759 series.

Weber missed a triplicate by one pin. He had a pair of 258s before striking out in the final frame of the third game for a 259. His series was 775.

''Weber wasn't out of the pocket one time all night, '' Hennessey said.

Carter had 266-253-235 (754) and Patterson, who died in 1972, shot 246-222-268 (736).

''I can remember what everybody did frame by frame, '' said Hennessey. ''That was quite a joyous night.''

Back in the Bud team's era, there was no pro tour. It didn't begin until 1959. Now, weekly tour events start on Tuesday and end on Saturday. Sunday and Monday are travel days. Pros have no league night.

The Bud team members cherish their memories.

''The team era was great, '' said Weber. ''The education and camaraderie you got was fun.''

''Back in the 1950s, the team was paramount in bowling, '' Hennessey said. ''Today, it's such an individual sport.

Frame by frame

A look at the Buds' scores.

''I wouldn't trade that old era for anything. We didn't make a lot of money, maybe $3,000 or $4,000 a year, but we lived together, played cards together, traveled together. The companionship, the way we got along, was just super.''

Said Carter: ''We had a very good chemistry. Everybody got along. There weren't many big egos and, if so, they didn't get in the way. That's hard to find when you get five people together.''

And with five bowlers of their caliber competing together, slumps were rare.

''With our team, everybody knew each other's game and we'd help each other, '' Hennessey said. ''The minute you started doing something wrong, you had guys who certainly knew what they were talking about telling you about it.''

Members of the historic Bud team went on to win 12 ABC Tournament titles and 37 PBA championships. They combined to roll 64 perfect games.

A look at the Greatest sports events in STL history

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