ARLINGTON, Texas – Harry Smith of Akron, Ohio, a member of the United States Bowling Congress Hall of Fame, died recently. He was 91.
His career included success during the heyday of team bowling, the famed “beer team” era, and then individually during the early years of the Professional Bowlers Association, of which he was a charter member.
Having found the spotlight across both platforms, Smith was elected to the charter class of the PBA Hall of Fame in 1975 and then the USBC Hall of Fame in 1978 in the Superior Performance category.
He grew up in the Cleveland area and was just coming into his prime when the PBA was created in 1958. He previously had moved to Detroit (1955) to compete as part of the Pfeiffers and then relocated to St. Louis to compete with the Falstaffs.
Smith, who earned the nickname “Tiger” for his fierce competitive spirit, earned four titles at the USBC Open Championships from 1958-1967 and averaged just under 200 in 25 years on the championship lanes. He added a coveted USBC Masters title in 1963 and logged five additional top-eight finishes at the Masters.
He is credited with 12 titles on the PBA Tour, including the 1960 Bowling Proprietors’ Association of America All-Star, which later became known as the U.S. Open. It remains one of the majors on the PBA Tour.
His success as a competitor also earned him the No. 28 spot on the list of the 50 greatest players in PBA history, published in 2009.
Smith forever will be known as one of the PBA Tour’s greatest contributors. When his competitive days were over, he remained with the PBA as the assistant tournament director, working under longtime tournament director Harry Golden.
The multi-time All-American again was honored by the PBA with the creation of the Harry Smith Point Leader Award, given to the overall points leader on the PBA Tour during a given season.
Though much of his life was spent on the road, Smith’s roots were in Ohio. He was able to win the Cleveland City Match Games on two occasions and was inducted into the Greater Cleveland Sports Hall of Fame in 1978.