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Legendary Bowler Don Carter's Bio Page

Donald James Carter
Miami, FL
Born: St. Louis, MO - July 29, 1926

Don Carter of St. Louis, whose proficiency as a professional bowler has won him the title of Mr. Bowling. In late November 1962 Carter confirmed his status as the worlds best bowler by winning a fifth World Invitational championship in Chicago-a record for bowling.
For his over-all performance in 1962 Carter was named Bowler of the Year by the Bowling Writers Association of America, the sixth time that the honor was bestowed on him. Carter was that first president of the Professional Bowlers Association and won the first PBA National Open. He is the first professional bowler to reach a six-figure annual income, the first to run six strikes on the jackpot television show, and the first to convert the cash sweepstakes shot on Make That Spare, another television bowling show.

Donald James Carter, the younger of the two sons, was born on July 29, 1926 in St. Louis, Missouri. (His brother died in 1948.) An all-round athlete at Wellston High School in St. Louis, he won letters for four years of playing baseball and three years of playing football. After his graduation in 1944 he enlisted in the United States Navy and spent two years as a radarman aboard an LST in the South Pacific. He narrowly missed combat action, and was discharged with the rank of a third class petty officer radarman in June 1946.

In the fall of 1946 Bill Beckman of the former Philadelphia Athletics (now the Kansas City Athletics) in the American League signed carter to a contract as an infielder at a salary of $150 a month. The following spring he was assigned to the Red Springs, North Carolina team in the Class D Tobacco State League, playing the infield and pitching. As a batter, Carter was moderately successful, hitting .302, but as a pitcher he was mediocre, compiling a three won, seven lost record, with an earned run average of 4.19. At the end of the season Carter asked to be released from the contract. I didn' t think I was major league material, he has explained.

Encouraged by his mother, Mrs. Gladys Carter, Don carter had begun to bowl at the age of thirteen, but not until he joined a St. Louis bowling club in 1942, while in high school, did he really become interested in the sport. Turning his back on professional baseball, Carter returned to St. Louis in 1947 and bowled as often as his pinched budget would allow. During the winter season of 1947-48 he bowled in six leageues. I bowled because I loved it, he recalls. You couldn't make any money at it.

In the meantime Carter had worked as an operator of a punch machine, as a pipe fitter's helper, and as a packer of pistons. His mother demanded little board from him so that he could have more money for bowling. In 1948 he became general manager of the Golden Eagle Lanes in St. Louis, but the long hours he spent as alley man, bartender, and janitor left him only a limited amount of time for tournament bowling. He became an instructor, first at Silver Shield Lanes, then at Floriss Lanes, where he was able both to earn money and refine his skill at the game. In September 1951 he was invited to join the Pfeiffer team in Detroit. He received no salary, but he was able to find a job in the recreation department of Detroit at $60 a week.

 

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