Johnny Petraglia

Superior Performance

Johnny Petraglia
City: Manalapan
State: NJ
Inducted: 2009

Petraglia, a Brooklyn, N.Y., native, took up bowling as a youngster and fell in love with the sport, especially after witnessing a Don Carter-Dick Weber exhibition match at Madison Square Garden. He became a top player in his teen years, eager and ready to join the PBA. He claimed his first PBA championship in the 1966 Ft. Smith (Ark.) Open. The lean and lithe left-hander had his career interrupted for a couple seasons when the Armed Forces sent him to Vietnam. He came back to fulfill his early promise and meet and surpass all of the goals and aspirations he had for himself. The Winter Tour of 1971 will be remembered as the highlight of the Petraglia era. He finished the segment with three consecutive titles, all earned from the top-seeded position, climaxed by the Firestone Tournament of Champions title. Petraglia concluded that year with five titles and more than $85,000, a record earnings figure for the time and one that would translate into nearly three times that amount with current prize funds. Petraglia won the 1977 BPAA U.S. Open with a 279 score in the title game and three years later pulled off one of his most dramatic triumphs, striking out in the ninth and 10th frames to secure the 1980 PBA National Championship, his 14th title and one that completed the cycle of major tournament victories. Additional titles included the Brunswick World Open in 1974 and the 1978 Long Island Open, where he thrilled the home-area rooters with a 298 game during the nationally televised finals. Petraglia's contributions and activities off the lanes have been just as impressive as his competitive prowess. He served as president of the PBA in 1979-80 and has been involved in untold amounts of charitable functions and efforts. In 2008, Petraglia placed 16th on the PBA's list of the 50 greatest player’s in PBA history. In 2011, Petraglia made waves when, at age 64, he finished in eighth place in a national PBA Tour event, the 2011 PBA Mark Roth Plastic Ball Championship.