Dick Weber burst onto the bowling scene in the 1950s with the famed Budweiser's of St. Louis. This team is considered by some the greatest bowling team ever assembled, with Weber, Don Carter, Ray Bluth, Pat Patterson and Tom Hennessey. The team was sponsored in 1954 by Budweiser Beer Company and promised their patron they would bring home championships, Weber helped keep their word by winning and breaking bowling records along the way.
Image and photo from museum collection
The Budweiser team shattered the American Bowling Congress league records that had been previously held for 21 years by rolling a combined 3,858 series in Masters League played at Floriss Lanes in St. Louis, Missouri. This record was held for 35 years. The team went on to win the Bowling Proprietors' Association of America 1955 title, and 1956, 1958, 1959 Championships.
Photo courtesy of Memory Lanes
After his huge success with the Budweiser team, Weber was in high demand. He partnered with AMF Bowling Inc. and was a sport ambassador for the company for 49 years. It is believed to be the longest contract any athlete has had with one manufacturer.
Weber went on to defend his status as the top bowler and was the three-time Bowling Writers Association of America Bowler of the Year in 1961, 1963, and 1965. He also earned four Bowling Proprietors' Association of America All-Star championships and teamed with Ray Bluth to win four Bowling Proprietors' Association of America National Doubles Crowns.
Weber was a charter member of the Professional Bowlers Association and won three consecutive PBA titles twice. He is the only professional bowler in history to win titles in six decades, taking home 30 PBA Tour titles in his career. He held positions at PBA for 33 years, including 2 years as President and served for 15 years on the Executive Board. He was named the PBA Member of the Year in 1961 ,PBA Player of the Year in 1965, and won a career-high five titles in 1961.
Weber was the face of bowling for generations, and was the sports first true television star. He appeared on the "Pro Bowlers Tour“ which was a favorite for many on Saturday afternoon television. He also made promotional and training videos to further educate and spread awareness about the sport. One of these videos was “ To Foul the Line” starring Weber and bowler Judy Soutar.
Photo International Bowling Museum and Hall of Fame collection
Beyond his stunning resume of accomplishments on the lanes, Weber was considered bowling's greatest ambassador. He promoted the sport everywhere he went, including airplanes, beaches, hospitals, and through numerous appearances on David Letterman's shows. Further cementing Weber's reputation as one of bowling's best ambassadors were his frequent tours around the United States and abroad to conduct bowling clinics and exhibitions.
In 1983 Gary Thomas was commissioned to create 12 murals depicting the “12 Great Moments in Bowling” for the newly built Bowling Hall of Fame in St. Louis. Dick Weber’s induction into the American Bowling Congress Hall of Fame was rightfully one of those moments. Weber was also inducted into the United States Bowling Congress Hall of Fame in 1970 for Superior Performance.
Mural from the International Bowling Museum and Hall of Fame collection
Dick Weber will live on forever in bowling history. His astounding talent and dedication to promote the sport he loved made him a role model to untold millions . In a 1999 Bowling Magazine poll, Weber was named the best bowler of the 20th Century. His team mate Don Carter remembers the legend fondly by expressing, “He was always accessible to everyone, always trying to help with their game. He never said no.“
Photos courtesy of Memory Lanes (Left photo) and United States Bowling Congress (Right photo)
Today Weber’s son Pete Weber carries on the bowling tradition and is a fellow Hall of Famer with his father. Pete went on to become one of the best known players in Professional Bowlers Association history, surpassing his legendary father Dick in 2001 when he won his 27th pro title. Dick Weber reflected on Pete by stating, “It's the greatest thrill in a father's life to have his son follow in his footsteps."
Photos courtesy of United States Bowling Congress