Lengthy-time Chicago Cubs supervisor Leo Durocher famously stated, “Good guys end final.”
Leo Durocher clearly by no means met Dick Ritger.
Ritger, who was inducted into the Skilled Bowlers Affiliation Corridor of Fame in 1978 and into the USA Bowling Congress Corridor of Fame six years later, has died. He was 81.
Ritger had a front-row seat for Don Johnson’s well-known 299 sport within the “Professional Bowlers Tour” telecast of the 1970 Match of Champions, as he was Johnson’s opponent within the match. He was the primary on the strategy to supply each condolences and congratulations to the susceptible, face-down Johnson — not stunning, since Ritger twice was chosen for the PBA’s Steve Nagy Sportsmanship Award.
Ritger received his tenth profession PBA title in 1972 (the final 12 months Durocher served because the Cubs’ supervisor), however he would win 10 extra earlier than calling it a profession. On the time, he was solely the fourth participant in PBA historical past to achieve 20 titles.
PBA and USBC Corridor of Famer Nelson Burton Jr., Chris Schenkel’s long-time “Professional Bowlers Tour” broadcast accomplice on ABC-TV, as soon as described Ritger as “in all probability the least recognized of the nice gamers.” That’s doubtless as a result of he by no means received a significant title, though he completed second 4 occasions in professional bowling’s signature occasions — together with that loss to Johnson within the Match of Champions, wherein he shot 268 within the championship match.
Ritger grew up in Hartford, Wis., about 45 minutes northwest of Milwaukee. His dad and mom owned a 10-lane bowling alley, and the household residence was upstairs above the lanes. That made it potential for Ritger to bowl just about anytime he wished. With no youth leagues to talk of on the time, he was bowling in grownup leagues by age 9.
He would go on to main in bodily training and recreation on the College of Wisconsin La Crosse. He and Burton had been recognized on the Tour for his or her bodily conditioning.
Ritger’s “second life” in bowling was as a coach, and thru the years his Dick Ritger Bowling Camps supplied skilled instruction and fond recollections for hundreds of bowlers, together with a younger Kelly Kulick, who joined Ritger within the USBC Corridor of Fame in 2019.
Ritger additionally was a touring coach, conducting clinics in 38 international locations on 5 continents. He produced a three-part video collection known as “The Emotions of Bowling,” and likewise developed a “Wounded Warriors” educating program to assist disabled veterans take pleasure in bowling extra.
Bob Rea, Director of Dick Ritger Bowling Camps, Clinics and Coach Coaching, put out the next message in regards to the information:
“It’s with nice remorse that I announce the passing of our mentor, pricey pal and the best bowling teacher the bowling trade has ever had… Dick Ritger. Dick had been in failing well being having gone via a number of critical strokes over the previous few years.
For all of us that he touched alongside the best way, we might be without end grateful for having recognized Dick and been in a position to share time with him. Actually, one among finest males I’ve ever recognized.
He might be dearly missed, however has been such a constructive affect on the game he liked… bowling. Via his books, DVDs, bowling camps and by the use of his “Emotions of Bowling” teaching strategies, his legacy will reside on. For these of us who had been in a position to name him ‘pal,’ we are going to without end be higher individuals for our time with him.”
Ritger was born on Nov. 8, 1938, and handed away on Aug. 27, 2020. Providers are scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 20 in River Falls, Wis. Memorial presents could also be directed to St. Bridget’s Catholic Church (https://www.saintbridgets.org/) or the River Falls Meals Pantry (https://www.facebook.com/RFCFP/).
Dick Ritger spoke with Bowlers Journal Worldwide in late-2018 for an interview that ran in BJI’s one hundred and fifth anniversary difficulty that 12 months. In it, Ritger reminisces about probably the most memorable second of his profession as knowledgeable bowler: bowling Don Johnson within the title match of the 1970 PBA Firestone Match of Champions. Now you can learn that interview on-line right here: https://www.bowlersjournal.com/dick-ritger-on-bowling-don-johnson-in-the-famed-1970-firestone-title-match/
Moreover, Bowlers Journal legend Mort Luby Jr.’s unique reporting on that unforgettable occasion, which culminated in what could be voted #1 within the PBA’s 60 Biggest Moments when that ballot was taken within the PBA’s sixtieth anniversary 12 months in 2018, additionally now could be obtainable on-line right here: https://www.bowlersjournal.com/a-fantastic-finale-mort-luby-jr-s-original-account-of-perhaps-the-best-tv-show-in-pba-history-was-as-lively-as-the-broadcast/