Del Ballard Jr.
When I grew up bowling I wasn’t always pleasant to be around. I hated to lose. AT EVERYTHING!
It didn’t matter if it was to friends or enemies, I hated to lose. When I played cards, it was bad. When I played golf, it was bad. But when I bowled it was even worse. I turned truly great friends into so-so friends. You can ask who I consider my closest friends and they will tell you I was an asshole when in competition.
Looking back that is what made me a Hall of Fame bowler but I lost some close friends along the way who didn’t understand me. When I see some younger players like I used to be I see a winner. I lived by the motto “Show me a good loser and I will show you a loser”. I know now you don’t have to be that extreme, but that is how I was. For those who understood me there is respect. For those who didn’t there isn’t any. I’m ok by it but it does bother me more now than it did then.
I won a lot of big tournaments along the way but the one I cherish the most in my later years was the Quaker State Open in 1989in front of my home town. There isn’t any more pressure than having your mom, dad and closest friends in the crowd. You just don’t want to let them down. Again, hating to lose won!!
I took pride in winning long format tournaments. I won 6 of my 13 titles in longer type formats. 2 US Opens, Tournament of Champions, Masters, Showboat Invitational and the World Open in a 7-year span. I always felt the more games I had, I could figure out the best way to score. Just like bowling action.
When I was elected into the PBA Hall of Fame I thanked Walter Ray Williams. I do like to joke around and poke fun and said that he was the reason I was in the Hall. I beat him at the US Open, the World Open and the Tournament of Champions. I meant this out of total respect as he was the greatest bowler of my era and he wasn’t easy to beat EVER. I know I will forever remembered for throwing the gutter ball against Pete Weber in Baltimore in 1991. I’m ok by it now but at the time I didn’t understand the impact that it would have on me. It changed my life forever. The next week was in New Jersey where I did have a lot of friends but as soon as I checked in I received a phone call in my room. It was a male who asked if I was Del Ballard. I said yes and the next comment will live with me forever. He says, “you threw the ball in the gutter against Pete and it cost me and now I’m going to get you”. I immediately hung up and called the front desk. I know I joke around a lot and expected some razzing from the guys but they said this same person had called the hotel numerous times during the day from an outside number. I immediately checked out and changed hotels. I was a changed man from that day forward. I knew then the impact of what you do on the grand stage. In the general public I have shied away from the spotlight and still do to this day.
- PBA Hall of Fame 2009
- Dallas USBCBA Hall of Fame 2009
- Texas State Hall of Fame 2010
- USBC Hall of Fame 2011
- 13 PBA titles
- Major Titles – 1987 & 1993 U.S. Open, 1988 USBC Masters, 1989 Firestone Tournament of Champions
- 17 PBA Regional titles
- Listed as No. 29 on the list of the 50 Greatest Players in PBA History in 2009
- $1.3 million in PBA career earnings