Wiseman reflects on a rocky year

December 13, 1992|By Glenn Small | Glenn Small,Staff Writer

The best of times and the worst of times. That's how you could describe Danny Wiseman's third full year on the Professional Bowlers Association tour.

It was the first year that Wiseman, 25, who grew up in Dundalk, failed to win a national PBA title. In his first two years on tour, in 1990 and 1991, he won four titles, including the Fair Lanes Open before a hometown crowd.

In 1992, it was the year that Wiseman's television record -- which had been tops among all professionals at 12-1 at the outset of 1992 -- fell, as he finished third in three tournaments.

One of those third-place finishes was in the Firestone Tournament of Champions, in which a grief-stricken and emotional Wiseman dedicated himself to winning the tournament for his ailing father, Albert Wiseman, who came to watch his son bowl in person for the first time.

After finishing third, a tearful Danny Wiseman hugged his dad, as a national television audience watched.

On June 12, Albert Wiseman died.

In July, Danny and his wife, Lisa, moved to a small town on the western edge of Arizona, Lake Havasu City.

"A lot of things happened real quick," Danny Wiseman said this week. "It was tough. I really had a hard time bowling in the fall. I didn't bowl too well after my dad passed away."

He didn't make any television appearances on the fall tour, but Wiseman toughed out the year, proving himself to be the kind of veteran bowler who still could finish in the top 20 in earnings -- without winning a title.

Of the 32 tournaments he entered, he cashed in 21 and earned $74,175 -- 13th best in the PBA. In 1990 and 1991, he earned more money -- $81,000 and $87,000, respectively -- but he wasn't as consistent in cashing.

"He's proved himself to be very consistent," said Mark Gerberich, director of operations for the PBA.

"He's one of the best," said Dennis Baldwin, the owner of Faball Enterprises, the Dundalk firm that makes the Hammer bowling ball. Baldwin sponsors Wiseman on the tour, and Danny wears the Hammer shirts and throws only the Hammer bowling ball.

Looking back on the year, Danny said he takes pride in bowling more consistently and cashing more frequently than in the past.

"Before, I would cash in about 50 percent of the tournaments I entered, but this year is was more like 70 percent," he said.

He says he'll "always be a Baltimore boy," but that he and Lisa were tired of all the traveling and wanted to settle down somewhere that was nice and quiet. Lake Havasu City is a town of about 30,000 and is right on a huge lake.

"It's really beautiful out here," he said.

He's become quite a hero to local bowlers, young and old, who have or had aspirations of making the big time. It was sometimes hard for him to practice without drawing attention.

"People don't realize," he said, "this game takes a toll on you mentally and physically."

These days, Danny is spending his time relaxing, bowling a little bit, drilling some bowling balls at the local pro shop and preparing himself for the winter tour, which begins Jan. 3 in California.

Country Club high scores

Jack Hoskins and Rob Pierson each came close to an 800 series the other night, with Hoskins shooting a 794 and Pierson rolling a 791 three-game set in the Baltimore Scratch Classic League.

Hoskins' games were 238, 279 and 277. Pierson's games were 258, 279 and 254.

In the WPOC league, Ray Dorsey shot a 768 (265, 258, 245.) And Bill Deshong rolled a 290 game in the TGIF league.

High average duckpins

The National Duckpin Bowling Congress has announced the high-average men and women bowlers for the 1991-1992 season -- and both are from Maryland.

Diane Jasper of Laurel led women with a 142 average over 421 games; and Jeff Pyles of Hyattsville led the men with a 154 average over 514 games.

If you know an interesting bowler, or have an good bowling story to tell, please call Glenn Small at (410) 296-0080, or write to him care of The Sun, 401 Washington Ave., Towson, 21204. You can also fax letters or scores to 410-823-1439. Please enclose a name and phone number for verification.

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