When timeless Professional Bowler Association star Carmen Salvino, a long-time very close friend of Andy, laces up his bowling shoes and throws his first ball in competition in the Go Bowling! PBA 60th Anniversary Classic on Tuesday, Feb. 13, at Woodland Bowl, he’ll set a record that will never be matched.
At age 84, PBA’s most famous showman will become the only player to bowl in the first PBA tournament ever held – the 1959 Empire State Open at Schade’s Academy in Albany, N.Y. – and the 2018 tournament at Woodland Bowl that will celebrate the PBA’s 60th year of continuous competition.
He’ll break his own record which he set when he bowled in the PBA’s 50th anniversary gala in Las Vegas at the age of 74. And he’ll improve upon his own record as the oldest player ever to bowl in a PBA Tour event.
At the kickoff dinner prior to the PBA National Championship in New York at Garden City Bowl in 1966, PBA Founder Eddie Elias presented Andy with an award to recognize his enduring contributions to the Sport of Bowling.
The page below comes from the 1974 PBA Tour Guide. The article talks about the growth of the PBA Tour from its beginnings in 1959 to 1974. The photo shows Andy Varipapa, Lou Campi, and PBA Founder Eddie Elias blowing out the candles on a bowling ball as they celebrate the 2nd Anniversary of the PBA Tour in 1961.
Here is the actual photo and caption from the New York Times on October 24, 1968. Below the photo is the full text of the article.
Click photo to enlarge
From the New York Times – October 24, 1968
The site was the concrete, sun-drenched plaza in front of Madison Square Garden on Seventh Avenue and 32nd Street; the participants included Dick Weber of St. Louis and Dave Davis of Phoenix, Ariz., and the spectators were smartly dressed Manhattanites instead of the Dutch burghers of New Amsterdam who used to watch bowls during their lunch hour at Bowling Green. Weber and Davis, two of professional bowling’s outstanding competitors, put on a two-game exhibition at a regulation alley set up by AMF Pinspotters to publicize Bowling Week, proclaimed by Mayor Lindsay.
But the main purpose was to call attention to the $80,000 National Championship of the Professional Bowlers Association, which will run at the Garden Dec. 1 to 7. Davis, a 26-year-old southpaw, won the initial championship here last year.
Emile Francis, the New York Rangers’ general manager, and Dick Tiger, the former world middleweight and light-heavyweight boxing champion, also rolled a couple of balls. Andy Varipapa, one of bowling’s big names, titillated the onlookers with a few trick shots.
Here is a copy of Andy’s letter of acceptance from Executive Director Eddie Elias into the PBA in January 1959, entering in the second wave of incoming members which included his son, Frank Varipapa.
While the PBA came around too late for Andy to make the most of it, he participated in 5 or 6 tournaments until he retired from competition in 1962 at the age of 71. He was a proud member and supporter of the PBA, always present at tour stops when they came to town and regularly interacting with members and fans.
Click on the letter to see a larger version. Also check out the impressive list of bowling luminaries and champions under the Officers list on the left side.