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Jeremy Sonnenfeld of Sioux Falls, S.D. made bowling history on Feb. 2, 1997 when he became the first person ever to roll three sanctioned perfect games in a three-game series. He was not the first person to shoot a 900 series. But it was the first recognized by ABC. ABC has relaxed their criteria for sanctioning scores in the past few years.

On Nov. 9, 1998, Tony Roventini of Greenfield, Wis., bowled a sanctioned perfect series performed in league competition. Roventini, then 28-years-old, many agree that the format of league bowling is a much more difficult situation under which to record such a feat. He bowled his way into the record book while participating in the Variety Club Midwest Challenge League at Classic Lanes in Greenfield, Wis.

The left-handed Roventini, the leadoff bowler for his Pro World team, finished the night with a career record of 18 games of 300, 6 series of 800 (high=857) and 1 series of 900.

20-year-old Vince Wood of Moreno Valley, Calif. was the third kegler to stroke a sanctioned perfect series and the first to perform the feat in a mixed league. His Vegas Express Mixed League teammates in the Sept. 29, 1999 effort at Cadillac Bowl in Moreno Valley included his mom, Loretta, and his dad, William. He finished the night with a career record of 17 sanctioned 300s, 11 800s and 1 900.

The American Bowling Congress (ABC) has had at least six other reports of 900 series being bowled in its 100+ year history. None were approved either because the league or tournament had not agreed to be governed by the ABC prior to the event or because the lane conditions did not satisfy ABC standards. By todays ABC rules a bowler may no longer be penalized, after the fact, due to improper lane dressing application.

Those known to have unsanctioned 900s were:

Leo Bentley Lorain, Ohio March 26, 1931
Joe Sargent Rochester, N.Y. 1934
Jim Murgie Philadelphia, Pa. Feb. 4, 1937
Bob Brown Roseville, Calif. April 12, 1980
Glenn Allison LaHabra, Calif. July 1, 1982
John Strausbaugh York, Pa. July 11, 1987

    Scores for three consecutive perfect games have been approved on two other occasions:
  • During a December 1993 tournament,Troy Ockerman, Owosso, Mich., blasted four 300 games - all on the same day. Three of those games, covering two different events, were consecutive. His string of at least 36 in-a-row ties him for the men's record for the most consecutive strikes.

  • Also sharing the 36 in-a-row record is professional bowler Norm Duke. During an April 1996 PBA tournament held in North Brunswick, N.J. Duke had three consecutive perfect games. His effort was over the course of two squads and not in a single series.

Others who have made strike history include:

  • With a string of 40 in-a-row, LPBT champion Jeanne Naccarato - Maiden of Tacoma Wash, is recognized as the most prolific stringer of strikes in history. She had 33 consecutive strikes in an 864 series, then started off her next game with seven more. Wow!

  • In 1989, Tom Jordan of Paterson, NJ, slammed 46 of a possible 48 strikes while establishing ABC records for a four game series with 1,198 and for three games with 899. Jordan twice had strings of 23 in-a-row in bowling 300-299-300-299.

  • His accomplishment bested the 49 year-old three-game series record of ABC Hall of Famer Allie Brandt of Lockport, NY who posted 297-289-300=886 in 1939. Brandt, described as 5 foot 5 inches tall with a weight of 130 pounds is known as "one of bowling's feisty little men".

  • Jordan's three-game series of 899 was tied by Ron Prettyman in Newark, Del. on Feb. 10, 1996 and by Steve Lewis in Xenia, Ohio on Sept. 19, 1996.

  • Kelly Renninger of Mountoursville, Pa., the first female in YABA history to roll consecutive 300 games, strung 29 straight strikes en route to an 838 series, the best ever for a female youth. It happened on Nov. 20, 1994.

  • The record for most consecutive strikes by a team is attributed to the Milwaukie Bowl team of Beaverton, Ore. which posted 32 in-a-row during the 1988-89 season.

  • Bill Bunetta, 76, Fresno, Calif., is the oldest known bowler with consecutive 300s. He finished with an 824 series on Oct. 25, 1995.

  • Paul Fluche, East Hanover, NJ, has two career 300s - the most known for a physically challenged bowler. A one-armed bowler who maintains a 200 average, he says "tying my shoes" is his greatest bowling challenge.

  • Alex Cavagnaro, New York, NY, threw two 300s at age 11 to become the youngest ever to accomplish the feat. His first came on Nov. 17, 1995, the second was tossed on Nov. 27, 1995, a mere ten days later! His third took a little longer - it was bowled on Dec. 6, 1998.

  • Ken Shaw, 41, Hales Corner, Wisc. bowled a 300 game righthanded in the 1996 ABC National Tournament. Nine days later, he tossed a perfecto in league - lefthanded! His resume shows five 300s lefty and two righty.

The number of perfect games bowled during a season first became a problem for American Bowling Congress (ABC) officials in 1908 when the organization was only 13 years old. In prior seasons, the ABC awarded medals for the three highest individual games rolled in the nation.

Before 1908, no one ever received an award for a game greater than 298. (Awards were not given in 1902 when Ernest Fosberg of East Rockford, Ill. bowled the first 300 ever recognized in five-man league play.)

The crisis struck when A.C. Jellison and Homer Sanders, both of St. Louis bowled 300 games in the same season. Perplexed with the problem of having only one gold medal and unwilling to duplicate the award, the ABC decreed that both keglers had to vie for it in a three-game match at the ABC tournament in Pittsburgh.

Jellison, who won the gold, is recognized as the holder of the record for the first perfect game in ABC history without regard as to which feat was performed first. For his accomplishment, Sanders received a silver medal and a place in trivia history..

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Bowling Trivia
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