- 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
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.