Kent, Wiseman Elected to PBA Hall of Fame

by Bob Johnson 0

Doug Kent of Newark, N.Y., the winner of 10 PBA Tour titles, including four major championships, and Danny Wiseman of Baltimore, a 12-time tour winner with one major, have been elected to the PBA Hall of Fame.

Kent and Wiseman will be inducted during the PBA’s Hall of Fame Dinner on Saturday, March 30, in Indianapolis as part of PBA Tournament of Champions week.

No candidate on the Meritorious Service or PBA50 Tour ballots received the required two-thirds majority of votes cast needed for election.

Kent and Wiseman have had remarkably similar careers. Wiseman, 45, joined the PBA in 1987 and has earned just over $1.55 million. Kent, also 45, joined the PBA in 1988 and has earned just over $1.51 million during his career. In the voting for the 50 Greatest Players in PBA History during the organization’s 50th anniversary celebration in 2009, Wiseman was ranked 42nd and Kent 43rd.

Kent, the winner of six standard PBA Tour titles, has the upper hand in major titles, however. He won the 1991 ABC (now USBC) Masters for his first title, added the 2002 PBA World Championship, and won both the Masters and Denny’s PBA World Championship in 2006 on his way to earning Chris Schenkel PBA Player of the Year honors. He is one of only nine players ever to win two major titles in a single season.

“I got the call from [PBA Commissioner] Tom Clark and it was nice — very good news,” said Kent, who is operating two bowling centers in his retirement from PBA Tour competition. “I’m very satisfied with everything I accomplished. It was a lot more than I ever expected. When you’re a young player, you never know what’s going to happen. You just hope to get better and be competitive.

“Winning the Masters in 1991 was a big confidence booster,” he added. “It kind of proved that you can do it. But the main thing that creates longevity is being a student and keeping pace with the never-ending changes you have to make to get better.”

Kent’s best season was 2006-07 — but it was a season that almost didn’t happen.

“It was kind of a strange thing. When I won the Masters the second time, it was kind of near the end of my career. I was ready to be done. During the second block of qualifying, I got off to a bad start and called my wife, and told her I’d had enough, that I was ready to come home — and I wound up winning the tournament. It was very strange.

“And a very similar conversation took place during the (2006) World Championship, which I won [for] the second time. You never know when things are going to click, but when everything comes together, you feel like you can’t be beat.

“It’s been that way since the start of my career. You always need to improve,” Kent continued. “A lot of guys who have been out there a long time have had a lot of conversations about the changes, the fundamentals, sharing the knowledge. The knowledge you gain on tour, you can’t get anywhere else.”

Kent will join his brother-in-law, Parker Bohn III, in the PBA Hall of Fame. Kent’s wife is the former Chrissie Beamish; Bohn’s wife is the former Leslie Beamish. They will be the second set of brothers-in-law in the PBA Hall, joining Mike Aulby and Steve Cook, who also married sisters.

Wiseman won the first of his 11 standard titles in the 1990 Fair Lanes Open in his hometown of Baltimore — and in his first television appearance. Hard to top that, but Wiseman did when he won the 2004 Miller High Life Masters, which was staged on a special lane installation inside mammoth Miller Park in Milwaukee — the first time a bowling championship had been conducted inside a Major League baseball stadium.

“It’s pretty amazing,” Wiseman said. “I’m pretty happy, and pretty amazed considering my recent years, but I guess there’s history to go by. I got the call from Tom Clark and I started thinking about it, and I’m pretty humbled when you think about all of the elite players in our sport.

“It’s been a long process. It takes a lot of hard work, a lot of dedication, a lot of patience. You have to have an undying love to be one of the best, and I’ve had that. One of my proudest moments was winning my first title with my Dad there, and then the 2004 Masters — those, and being selected as one of the PBA’s 50 best, were exceptional moments.”

One of Wiseman’s most unforgettable performances also was one of his greatest disappointments.

“The 1992 Firestone [Tournament of Champions], when my Dad was dying, is a memory I’ll never forget,” he said. “It was a major event, one I thought I should have won, but Marc McDowell out-bowled me, and that was the biggest disappointment of my career because I was pretty sure it would be the last time my father would ever see me bowl, and it was.

“But with all of my injuries, I’ve always found a way to step up,” Wiseman added. “I was close to losing my exemption, but I bowled through the pain and made a TV show. If I missed that exemption, I don’t win the Masters — so it was a defining moment.”

Early in his career, Wiseman defined himself by compiling the winningest television record in PBA history at that time, and by introducing a colorful, flame-enhanced persona that branded him — by design — as something of a maverick.

“My legacy was bowling pretty dang-gone good on TV — I think I was 21-5 at one point — and I made my own identity,” he said. “Some of these guys — Earl Anthony, Marshall Holman, guys like that — got their identities because they were on TV every week. I did it a little bit different. I was able to create an identity that tells people who I am, and people remember it.

“But it’s all pretty humbling,” he continued. “I was never a natural. I’ve studied and learned and watched. I learned a skill and was able to adapt to the environment throughout my career. I mostly did it on my own, and I’m pretty proud of that.”

Details concerning the PBA Hall of Fame dinner, including ticket availability, will be announced later.

Bob Johnson

Bob Johnson has received more national writing awards than any other bowling writer — close to 70 over the course of his 40-year career. He began at age 16 as a staff writer and then assistant editor for the weekly Pacific Bowler newspaper in his native California, and within three years was writing feature stories for Bowlers Journal. He has written for the magazine ever since, except for a five-year span when he was hired as the founding editor of another magazine. He moved to Chicago in 2000 and spent 13 years in the Windy City, including five as Bowlers Journal’s Editor. In 1975, Johnson received the Robert E. Kennedy Award as California’s top undergraduate high school journalist. Five years earlier, on the lanes, he had shared the Bantam Division Doubles championship in the Orange County Junior Bowling Association Championships. Today, he continues to work full-time for Bowlers Journal as its Senior Editor, to write his popular “Strikes Me” column, and to edit Luby Publishing Inc.’s weekly business-to-business Cyber Report.

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