Bowling News USA - November 16, 2013 PBA Hall of Famer Billy Hardwick Passes Away...
Professional Bowlers Association Hall of Famer and two-time PBA Player of the Year Billy Hardwick died of an apparent heart attack today at the age of 72.
In one of the greatest turnarounds in professional bowling history, Hardwick went from a rookie PBA Tour season in 1962 failing to cash in a single event, to winning four titles and becoming Player of the Year the very next season.
“It was pretty obvious that I wasn’t mentally ready for the Tour that first year,” Hardwick said when interviewed in 2009 after being voted as PBA’s 12th greatest player in history. “I was bowling with greats like Don Carter and Dick Weber and my mindset was more of a spectator than a competitor, and that was going to have to change.”
Hardwick would go on to back up his stellar 1963 season by winning three titles in 1964, but his career always seemed to be in jeopardy having been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis at age 10. Through sheer determination and occasional medication he was able to overcome it to continue his career.
That 1962 rookie season was the beginning of a career that included 18 PBA Tour titles, three of which were majors that earned him PBA’s Triple Crown.
Billy Hardwick commercial (1969)
His first major title came in the 1963 PBA National, which was followed by a PBA Tournament of Champions win in 1965 and the Bowling Proprietors Association of America All-Star (now U.S. Open) title in 1969. He won a then-record seven PBA Tour titles in 1969 to earn his second Player of the Year crown.
Hardwick won his final tournament in 1976 in Toledo, Ohio and finished second to Hall of Famer Marshall Holman in the Tournament of Champions. He retired prior to the start of the 1977 season.
Hardwick was also a member of the United States Bowling Congress Hall of Fame, inducted in 1985. He was a two-time American Bowling Congress Tournament champion winning the Classic team and Classic all-events titles in 1964.
(Great Billy/Chris Hardwick Podcast)
Hardwick, who was the proprietor of Billy Hardwick’s All-Star Lanes in East Memphis, Tenn., is the father of podcast entrepreneur, comedian, and talk show host Chris Hardwick.
Information regarding services for Hardwick will be announced when they become available.
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