by Randy Ooney
My Nickel’s Worth by Randy Ooney
As a former denizen of South Minneapolis, I spent many evenings after work at Stardust lanes. On Mondays and Wednesdays I participated in leagues and strived for 200s. Other nights we frequently visited the pull tab booth in search of the serial numbered tickets which provided a $100.00 prize to the player. I‘m not sure why or when, but we began to refer to these fruitful tickets as “Hondos”.
A hundred is a nice round number for dollars, but not quite as favorable in our sport of bowling. It was gratifying to see the PBA Tournament of Champions return to ABC network TV on a Saturday when it did not compete with NFL telecasts. The total purse of one million dollars was also nothing to sneeze at, and the intro by Nelson Burton spurred memories of the past. The four finalists included well respected Mika Koivuniemi and three other players who had won tournaments but were not well known. Most notable was Tom Daugherty, who had won one of the entry spots by virtue of a couple of regional wins, and had to labor over 70 games to find himself in the number two spot of the stepladder.
Since my game is around the ten board, trying to hook the ball 7.5 boards to the 1-3 pocket, I have always respected the similar styles of players such as Walter Williams Jr, (Wally the Bowlman), Norm Duke, and others. Mika chose that approach while the others were in a little deeper and striving for more power. Mika barely survived the first match against Andres Gomez, but went on to meet Daugherty in the semi final. History was made and will long be remembered. Poor Mr. Daugherty started with a nearly impossible 2-8-10, continued with a Greek church, and many combinations which included the 4 and 6 pin along with something in the back row. His final score - 100 even. I am dubbing this event as the day a Hondo was shot on national TV. We know this is a TV record for low - could possibly be a PBA tournament record. He also was defeated in the match by 199 pins, which is a TV record and also could be a PBA match play record.
Tom can take solace in the fact that the only way he could have won the match anyway was to have bowled an unlikely 300, as Mika posted 299 for the win. Also, the payday of $40,000.00 was probably the most money he has ever earned for a week of bowling. But even with those comforts, he will carry the fame of being the guy who shot a Hondo on national TV. Maybe he will be invited to the David Letterman show.
Mika went on to defeat Tom Smallwood for the quarter million prize. I can only rank Daugherty’s poor luck second of all time. Del Ballard’s ball in the channel to lose the US Open is still number 1.