by Randy Ooney
My Nickel’s Worth by Randy Ooney
As September was winding down, I learned that my old friend and Minnesota bowling Legend, Leo Mann has passed away. I first met Leo when he bowled for Bursch’s Café in the Hopkins Major league at Tom Sheehan’s Hopkins Lanes. (I bowled for another storied Hopkins restaurant, Chalet Pizza, in the same league. Leo befriended me, and included me on various tournament runs which we made in the 60s and early 70s, I mostly remember the Whitey Cox 20 game marathon between Milwaukee and Chicago. But Leo also invited me to a number of tournaments as Leo was a famous squad organizer.
Leo had a 200+ average in the 60s when few bowlers were a member of that club. He was also a PBA member, and the eyes od Minnesota were on Drukulas in Eagan when the U.S. Open PBA tournament was held there. Leo was a casher, (I seem to remember he finished in the top 24), along with another friend of mine and bowling great, Lindy Lundeen.
If I recall, Leo was a salesman for Brown and Bigelow in St. Paul, but left to open a bowling Pro Shop in Gus Young’s Biltmore Lanes in Edina. My favorite story was a night in the Hopkins Majors when Leo showed up with a strange looking Columbia 300 plastic ball and shot around 725. The next week he was there with the same weapon and had another huge 700 set. The following week about 20 members of the league showed up at Hopkins Lanes with their brand new caramel colored plastic balls purchased and drilled at Leo Mann’s Biltmore Pro Shop while Leo returned to the league with a black rubber ball. Guess who had the 700s then?