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Bowling Balls to benefit Mark Roth

Mark Roth Special

It was a matter of days after the Professional Bowlers Association decided to re-name its most unique tournament the Mark Roth Plastic Ball Championship -- in honor of the Hall of Famer who revolutionized the sport with plastic bowling balls -- that a sad twist of fate gave the event special meaning.

Roth, at age 58, suffered a stroke that paralyzed his left side and ended a bowling career that saw him win 34 PBA Tour titles -- tied for third best in PBA history -- including a single-season record eight titles in 1978. Roth introduced a high-revolution power game in a plastic-ball era that led to an evolution in bowling technique and completely transformed bowling ball technology.

As a tribute to Roth, the PBA has joined hands with OnTheBallBowling, an Illinois company that has developed a technique to create custom designs on bowling ball surfaces. OnTheBallBowling has created a unique Mark Roth plastic bowling ball that will be used exclusively by all 64 competitors in the 2010 PBA Mark Roth Plastic Ball Championship. All of the Mark Roth balls used in the tournament will be autographed by Roth and sold to help raise money for the Roth family's medical expenses.

In addition to the ball used in the Plastic Ball Championship, a limited number of Mark Roth custom balls are being offered to the public by OnTheBallBowling for $100 plus shipping and handling. The PBA Mark Roth Plastic Ball Championship is scheduled for March 23-28 at AMF Babylon Lanes in West Babylon, N.Y.