Will IBMA Finally Punch Tim Mack’s Hall of Fame Ticket?

by Gianmarc Manzione 0

BY BOB JOHNSON, BJI Senior Editor

American Army lieutenant Philip Nolan was “The Man Without a Country” in Edward Everett Hale’s essay of the same name that appeared in The Atlantic Monthly in December 1863.

You could call Tim Mack “The Man Without a Hall of Fame,” even though he is one of the most accomplished bowlers ever.

Mack is in Las Vegas this week for the QubicaAMF World Cup, in one of his roles for Storm Bowling: international coaching. This week, he is roaming the concourse at Sam’s Town Bowling Center, offering words of encouragement to any bowlers throwing Storm equipment. And, when the national coaches grant permission, he also offers tips and advice.

The photo shows Tim's Mack's ultra-high backswing during the prime of his career. The video shows Mack's lower backswing following two shoulder surgeries.
Tim's Mack's backswing was ultra-high during the prime of his career. Today, it's much lower following two shoulder surgeries.

Mack is doing more coaching than bowling these days, the result of two surgeries on his right shoulder that have left him with a lower backswing and somewhat slower ball speed.

“I’m not as versatile as I used to be, but I can still be competitive under the right circumstances,” he explains. “So I pick and choose what I bowl in; it was only about six tournaments this year.”

Mack need not bowl in order to make a living, as his multiple duties with Storm constitute a full-time job. In addition to his international coaching duties, he also is a PBA Tour consultant and provides sales support in Europe.

“Bill and Barbara Chrisman have been so good to me throughout my career,” he says. “I’ve been with them longer than any other bowler — 20 years.”

For varying reasons, Mack counts his victories in the 2001 Paragom Open in Gothenburg, Sweden; the 2009 Samho Cup in Seoul, South Korea; and the 2003 Cathay Super Classic in Singapore as the three titles that mean the most to him.

Those are three of what Mack calls “event wins” over the course of his career. (For instance, he calls his victory in the World Tenpin Masters, which was conducted on a single lane, as an “event win” as opposed to a “title.”) But most of those 75 wins — achieved in more than 26 countries — would be considered titles by anyone’s definition.

So why isn’t one of the most accomplished bowlers ever not in a major bowling hall of fame?

Well, he is not eligible for the PBA Hall of Fame because he chose to remain an amateur through most of his career in order to maintain eligibility for many of those international events that he would win. It should he noted, however, that the 2009 Samho Cup was an all-star tournament of sorts, featuring the best of the PBA Tour, the best of the Japan PBA and the best of the Korea PBA. Mack received credit for a Japan PBA title and a Korea PBA title, but not a PBA Tour title.

The United States Bowling Congress Hall of Fame provides no more hope for Mack, as its Superior Performance category is reserved primarily for pros, and its USBC Performance category was introduced to recognize outstanding career records in USBC national events.

Then there’s the World Bowling Writers Hall of Fame, which has been inactive since the WBW merged with the Bowling Writers Association of America to form the International Bowling Media Association. Under the old WBW guidelines, consideration for the WBW Hall of Fame was based strictly on performance while a bowler was representing his or her country in a recognized world or zone championship of the Federation Internationale des Quilleurs (now World Bowling). Mack was not a member of Team USA, so he had no opportunity to amass a collection of medals large enough for WBW Hall of Fame consideration. While others were winning medals, he was winning money and carving out a living.

Seventy-five titles on the global bowling stage, and no hall of fame to call home.

But there is possible good news for Mack. The IBMA has formed a committee to revamp the eligibility requirements of the old WBW Hall of Fame. It is presumed that the new guidelines will be more welcoming to bowlers like Tim Mack.

It’s an honor that he’d like his elderly mother, who raised him and encouraged him in his bowling career, to have an opportunity to see.

“It would also be cool for my 9-year-old daughter, who is just beginning to understand some of the things I’ve done thanks to YouTube,” Mack says.

Perhaps the IBMA will be able to give Mack the career recognition that the PBA, USBC and WBW could not.

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World Cup action continues Tuesday with eight more games of qualifying, after which each field will be cut to the top 24. For regularly updated tournament standings and more, click here. In the January issue of Bowlers Journal International, Mack will share stories about the three most memorable titles of his career.

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