THE FAB FOUR: The USBC Hall Of Fame Welcomes A Quartet Of Superior Performers
With more than 50 pro tour titles among them, Dave Husted, Amleto Monacelli, Tom Baker and Dede Davidson enter the Superior Performance wing of the USBC Hall of Fame having excelled in perhaps the most competitive era of professional bowling… the 1980s and ’90s.
The sheer number of competitors and tour stops on both the men’s and women’s pro tours made for yearlong marathons, with deep fields and ever-changing conditions. The four recently-elected hall of famers will join USBC Open Championships standouts Lennie Boresch Jr., and Gary Daroszewski, wheelchair bowling pioneer Al Uttecht, and meritorious service honorees Joan Feinblum and the late Kerm Helmer at formal induction ceremonies April 26, during the USBC Convention in Arlington, Texas.
In a sport that is now burgeoning with talent from around the globe, Monacelli was the Professional Bowlers Association Tour’s first foreign-born star. Born in Venezuela, Monacelli came to America and joined the tour in 1982 with unique flair and style both on and off the lanes. The likeable Venezuelan was a fan favorite from the start, a status that only grew as Monacelli began winning. All told, Monacelli won 19 PBA Tour titles from 1987-2005, won back-to-back PBA Player of the Year awards in 1989 and 1990, and totaled more than $2 million in PBA earnings. “This definitely is something I wanted to achieve in my career,” said Monacelli, 50. “Now my dream is to win the USBC Masters in the same year as my USBC Hall of Fame induction.”
Husted’s career mostly paralleled Monacelli’s, with the Milwaukie, Ore., native finding success early… and in a big way. The unassuming right-hander won the first of his three U.S. Open titles in 1982 at Big Texan Lanes in Houston. Husted then won the coveted U.S. Open eagle in back-to-back years, winning in 1995 and 1996. Husted also won the Showboat Invitational twice (1990 and 1995) and the Brunswick Memorial World Open (1993) among his 14 PBA Tour titles. “I am of an age where the history of the game means a lot to me,” said Husted, 51. “I have a lot of respect for the Bill Lillards and all those greats. So to be able to say that I am in the PBA Hall of Fame and the USBC Hall of Fame is pretty strong and very humbling.”
Few bowlers can claim PBA Tour titles a quarter-century apart, but Tom Baker did just that. After winning his first title in 1980, Baker, 57, of King, N.C., won eight more times, none of those victories being majors. Then came the 2004 PBA World Championship in Taylor, Mich., when the 49-year-old Baker, fighting for his PBA Tour life, scored his most unlikely victory. In the years that followed, Baker dominated the PBA Senior Tour, winning four consecutive Player of the Year awards from 2005-2008.
Davidson, 45, of Buellton, Calif., won nine titles on the Ladies Pro Bowlers Tour and Professional Women’s Bowling Association Tour from 1988-2003. Among her titles were the 1991 USBC Queens, the 1993 U.S. Women’s Open and the Sam’s Town Invitational in 2000, completing the PWBA’s Triple Crown. More recently, Davidson won the 2011 USBC Women’s Championships Scratch All-Events title. She is the only woman to shoot both an 800 series and a 300 game at the Women’s Championships. “I am really touched by this,” said Davidson. “Throughout my career as a pro, this is where I wanted to end up. Knowing you’re in the hall of fame for the rest of your life is just amazing.”