USBC Hall to add 3

by Bob Johnson 0

Del Ballard Jr., Wayne Webb and Carol Gianotti have been elected to the USBC Hall of Fame in the Superior Performance category.

The talented trio joins Jeff Richgels (Outstanding USBC Performance), Roseann Kuhn (Meritorious Service) and Cheryl Robinson (Veterans), who were elected in November by the USBC Hall of Fame Committee. The induction ceremony for the 2011 class will take place on July 1 at the Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center in Grapevine, Texas.

Ballard, 47, won 13 PBA Tour titles between 1987 and 1993, including the ABC Masters in 1988 and the Firestone Tournament of Champions in 1989. He was No. 29 on the list of the “50 Greatest Players in PBA History” released in 2008.

“It feels great, and it’s a little bit of a relief,” Ballard said. “After being on the ballot and not getting in the last three years, I was wondering if it was ever going to happen, or if maybe I didn't deserve it. I felt like I belonged, but sometimes you have an opinion of yourself that other people may not agree with. Now, this shows that people feel I’m deserving, and I’m extremely grateful."

Being a member of the USBC Hall of Fame has been a dream for Ballard since he watched family friend Bill Lillard of Houston get inducted in 1972. When Ballard joined the PBA Tour, he set his sights on the PBA Hall of Fame as well.

Ballard, who also owns 17 PBA regional titles and amassed nearly $1.3 million in PBA career earnings, made the PBA Hall of Fame in 2009, joined the Dallas USBC B.A. Hall of Fame later that year, and was inducted into the Texas State USBC Hall of Fame in 2010.

Also in 2010, he was diagnosed with tonsil cancer, but has had successful treatment.

“In a way, this completes the circle for me, and it’s a very nice feeling,” Ballard said. “This is a very uplifting end to an emotional rollercoaster of a year for me.”

Webb, 53, won 20 PBA Tour titles from 1978-1997, including the Firestone Tournament of Champions in 1980. He also is among the “50 Greatest Players in PBA History” (No. 18) and was elected to the PBA Hall of Fame in 1993.

“When I got the phone call, I got pretty emotional, and it was actually hard for me not to cry a little bit,” Webb said. “It came as such a surprise that it overwhelmed me and was hard to process. Of course, it’s something you always hope for, but I never thought it would happen this soon, if at all.”

While Webb was a familiar face on the lanes for more than three decades, he renewed his place in the spotlight as a dominating player on the PBA Senior Tour. He was named Rookie of the Year in 2008 and has claimed five titles, including three majors.

In 2010, Webb was named PBA Senior Player of the Year and joined Mark Roth as the only players to earn PBA Tour and Senior Tour Player of the Year awards during their careers.

“When you’re out there competing, you can only hope to be considered among the best,” said Webb, who was the PBA Player of the Year in 1980. “Earning both player-of-the-year awards was something I was proud to accomplish, and being inducted into both halls of fame is incredible. Everyone has a bucket list, and mine is now full.”

Gianotti, 43, won 16 Ladies Pro Bowlers Tour/ Professional Women’s Bowling Assn. titles between 1989 and 2000, including the 1989 USBC Queens.

“This feels great, and it’s something that just tops off my career,” the Australian said. “It was a call that I wasn’t expecting, especially at a quarter past 5 in the morning, but it was so worth it.”

Gianotti has been part of three team titles at the USBC Women’s Championships, and teamed with Missy Klug to take the Scratch Doubles title in 2010.

“To be recognized for something you love to do and elected to something you’ve always had as a goal is really special,” Gianotti said. “Del and I have been talking about this a little bit lately, and now we get to go in together. I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

A USBC panel of veteran bowling writers, hall of famers and board members vote on USBC Hall of Fame nominees. This year’s ballot also included Dave Husted, Amleto Monacelli, David Ozio, Tom Baker and Dede Davidson.

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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