The man to watch for in the coming bowling season is Alfred (Lindy) Faragalli. Last year, at 42, Lindy rocketed out of obscurity to blaze a trail of records all across the East and establish himself as one of the top bowlers of the nation. The big question is whether he can keep up the pace or whether, like a rocket, he will fizzle and burn out.
Faragalli bowled for 23 years without attaining prominence beyond his home lanes in Paterson, N.J. But last year was his year. He led four teams to victory in four sectional leagues, including the Eastern All-Star Classic and the New York Metropolitan Major. For good measure, he captured the New York State all-events title.
The night that will probably be remembered longest was the Monday at Lodi, N.J. when he rolled 225, 300, 266-791, leading the Faber Cement Block five to a 1,324 game and 3,740 series. It was by far the highest score in the country last year and the third best in American Bowling Congress history. To prove it was no accident, Lindy came back two weeks later with 279,267,278-824, the nation's second-highest series.
BURSITIC BUT UNBOWED
Despite bursitis attacks which at times were so painful that he could hardly lift his bowling ball, this short (5 feet 6 inches), bull-shouldered, balding shipping foreman pounded the pins with machinelike regularity week after week to average an almost unbelievable 229 in one league and hit an over-all season mark of 214. He bowled two perfect games during 1953-54, his fourth and fifth in league competition.
The record books are filled with bowlers who have gone wild in a sweepstakes, a tournament, or even through a season, only to lapse into mediocrity again. Either they failed to master the science of the game, or they lacked the health or fortitude to achieve greatness over the long haul.
Faragalli does not appear to fit into that king-for-a-day category. He rolls a powerful hook ball which scrambles the heaviest of pins. He "finds" an alley quickly and is at his best when he needs a strike in the last frame. He is by no means too old to retain top form. Andy Varipapa didn't win the first of his two U.S. match championships until he was 55.
Faragalli's team in the Eastern Classic might well be a threat for the U.S. crown this year. His team, as yet without a name, also includes Junie McMahon, two-time national titleholder; Graz Castellano, who defeated McMahon for the Long Island championship last summer in a thrilling match decided in the final game at Acme Casino in Great Neck; Lou Campi, an all-time Eastern great who was named on the second All-American team this year; and Carl (Skippy) Ruckert, a youngster who caused as big a sensation in Philadelphia last year as Lindy did in New York and New Jersey.
CHIPPED BUT CONFIDENT
Castellano, for example, is the man who bowled 300 in the Eastern Classic, the first perfect game ever recorded before a television audience. He and Campi rolled with Faragalli on the record-breaking Faber team which won the Bergen County Major title, on the Krueger Beer quintet which captured first place in the Eastern Classic, and on the Wagner & Adler team which took home the Metropolitan Major championship.
Some experts were surprised when McMahon was selected to fill out the team. Junie was rolling below form last season and was generally believed to be on the downgrade. But there was a reason. It turned out that the big fellow from Fairlawn, N.J. had a chipped bone in the middle finger of his bowling hand. The finger was operated on successfully in August, and Junie is confident he will again be among the nation's top bowlers this year.
If Lindy holds his form, it could be a "dream team," even if bursitis makes it Faragalli's personal nightmare. But he is a tough man.