“Religion,” as the old saying goes, “is for people who don’t want to go to hell. Spirituality is for those who have already been there.” Bowling legend Bob Perry’s life is a testament to that, because he has been there.
Perry was a skinny kid from North Jersey who at the age of 12 was said to have the potential to become the greatest bowler ever. But in 1970s Paterson, everybody knew somebody “connected.” Training for championships? Fuhgeddabout it. Bob was busy driving for Uncle Raymond, doing jobs for Bobby Cabert, and hustling hundreds of thousands of dollars in after-hours “action bowling” for the last Don, John Gotti. Perry’s links to organized crime would later land him in federal prison, but not before he became hopelessly addicted to crack cocaine, alcohol, and painkillers and homeless on the streets of Manhattan. Ultimately, Perry washed up on the shores of St. Christopher’s Inn, a shelter run by Franciscan monks. It was there that he had six fateful encounters with an angelic messenger who no one else could see-a monk whose message was so powerful that Bob Perry has now been sober for 21 years.
In “Redemption Alley, ” Perry not only shares his remarkable story of bowling success, his dangerous association with hoodlums and gangsters, and his recovery from addiction, but also his inspiring, decades-long spiritual quest.
Joey Ardolino – back in the early 80’s Bob Perry , in a summer league avg. 256 for the season .. I think he had if I remember 15 800 series and 13 300’s … The actual numbers might be off a little bit .. But Bobby was even better for cash …. He might lose a match here and there , but if your gonna ask me to pick one person …. With no disrespect to anyone , nobody can strike with the Perrrrr ….doesnt matter what decade it was , he was the best … If he could hold a ball , he was the favorite to win
Gerard Scully – Posted on the action bowlers facebook group site – Bob: You are truly a legend. Most people on here could never hold a candle to your bowling legacy. Anyone on here who gives you flack for not being one of the 3 greatest action bowlers of this (or any generation) is truly ignorant. You have 2 high roller titles ( I was there for the 2nd one), you probably have made boatloads of money over the years bowling, and have a career that spanned more than 4 decades. Who here can claim to have the resume that you do? There is nobody I (and most intelligent people) would rather place their money on you to throw a hit in the 10th for the win. While I no longer bowl and I was never in the same class as half of the people on here, I have been around a bit of it through the late 90s and early 2000s and based on all I have heard and some that I have seen, you truly are one of the greats. I personally, hope you do not leave this group.
Barry Clare – Hey Bob. … I’ve been backing joe tusa lately and I asked him how good was Perry in his prime, because I never saw you in your prime. ……tusa said you were the best and everyone knew it. .. even the guys on tour!, I respect that coming from tusa. You must have been awesome……I know you were still real good when I bowled in tournaments that you were in as well……
Joe Paluszek – Bob, u taught me a very valuable lesson. I bowled the high roller, got to the 5th rd n bowl 240. Make a lefty need x first ball in the tenth. He goes runaway Brooklyn and the headpin took out the 5 n the 7 slowly. I was distraught, couldn’t believe it. Next day I come down the elevator n I’m. Looking at the floor, I look up n see u. U say, u gonna lose more? I’m like huh? U said kid, u r in Vegas, shit happens n I saw it n u shoulda won. U can’t let that bad break cost u more. U will lose thousands in a town like this if u don’t shrug it off. I did n ill never forget that. I woulda let it bother me n probly lost all my money being negative. Thanks Bob. Lesson Learned
Lou Capasso – Bob i do remember …. i also remember our 1st meeting…. you were watching me bowl. you and teata were on 5 and 6. 1 thru 4 were not in use, and they gave me lane 4 to bowl on.. we had met a few minutes before, roth introduced us… i was in awe watching someone who had a swing like mine (or mine like yours ur older lol) and you were encouraging to me giving me advice , taking time to watch me… something i wont forget….you and i went thru some crazy stuff, we did some stupid things that prohibited us from getting the recognition we DESERVED on tour….Bob you always were one of my favorites to watch…and have always thought of you as a friend and mentor…
Del Ballard – I was lucky enough to bowl Bob Perry once. I got lucky I think. Don’t remember. Too many times I had too many beers or crown.
Bob Perry Could Have Been a Contender
–“Joey Ja”I was thrilled to watch the fifth and final “Chris Barnes Challenge” of the season Saturday night. I’ve watched and enjoyed all five of them to varying degrees, but Saturday’s was special because it pitted Chris, who’s been struggling lately to get his formidable act together, against an up-and-coming star. More importantly, it was held on the East coast in an area that has long been renowned for “action” or “pot game” bowling, and, unlike the previous challenges, the enthusiastic spectators in West Babylon, NY were packed like sardines to watch Barnes and Anthony Pepe battle it out for the $10,000 winner-take-all pot.The match, which Barnes won, had the excitement filled ambiance of a televised national tournament and was, from what I gather, reminiscent of the days back in the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s especially when these kinds of high stakes matches were occurring all the time in bowling alleys throughout metropolitan New York and New Jersey and involved the local hotshots and even PBA stars who would come along and join in when they could.After watching the Barnes-Pepe match, I began to do some reading about the history of action bowling. I found this website, and, in skimming through it, I happened upon glowing praises of a guy namedBob Purzycki (aka Bob Perry) who was apparently one of the most respected and feared action bowlers of the 70’s. And then I discovered that a film (see video below) was made in 2004 titled High Roller: The Bob Perry Story, and when I found out that I could watch it instantly on Netflix, I did.It tells the both tragic and inspiring story of Bob Purzycki. Bob was born in New Jersey in 1952 and became so passionate about bowling at an early age and was so good by the tender age of twelve that he was invited to compete at a World’s Fair. But he was felled by a terrible accident just before he could go. He lost vision in one eye from the accident and spent months and years after that rehabilitating himself until he became very highly regarded by locals and pro superstars such as Dick Weber and Teta Semiz in action and pro regional circles. But, on the eve of going out on tour to prove himself to the whole world, he was devastated by another catastrophic accident that almost cost him his life and the use of his legs.After that, this star-crossed young man who had shown such incandescent talent and skill on the lanes began to spiral out of control in his personal life with alcohol abuse and drug addiction until he was living on the streets as a homeless, toothless, and drug-addled bum. But he finally had an epiphany after a failed suicide attempt, yet still managed to land himself in legal trouble with organized crime until he broke away from his old life for good with the help of a Catholic priest.He eventually returned to bowling and won his first High Roller bowling tournament for $100,000 in Vegas at nearly 50 years of age and another a few years later. He also, along with one of his sisters, started a 12-step referral center for alcoholics and drug addicts called “The Last Stop.”I found large stretches of this 54 minute film unrelentingly bleak and depressing, and I wish there had been more footage in it of him bowling along with more discussion of his entire bowling career. But if you’re a bowling fan like I am, I think you’ll enjoy learning about this remarkable person who may not only have been or become the best of the best on the lanes but who also overcame horrible adversity to salvage his own life and dedicate it to helping others to do the same with theirs.—————————————————-I only met Bill Daley once …. It was a night where he called Bobby and asked him if he was interested in bowling a doubles match with Hank Behrbohm for $5000 a game against Willie Willis and the top house bowler in some lanes up in Connecticut ……. Ill never forget it ….. We walked in and Willie Willis walked up to us and said , and I QUOTE ” I Told you to bring any righty , But I didn’t know you were gonna bring him ( Bob Perry) ” and $5000 a game turned into 3 – $500 a game and Bobby put on a clinic … when no one could break 190 Bobby was shotting 240+ every game – Joey Ardolino—————————————————Bob Perry was and always will be immortal. Foti on the other hand i will just keep my opinion to myself – Tony Rosamilia
I remember this match like it was yesterday, i was having tremendous alcohol and drug abuse issues, it was Tuesday during the winter early mid 80,s and Rudy was abusing my crew at Royal so i called Bob Simo Sr. and said I need a ball, I want to bowl Rudy at Royal.
He handed me a black angle and said move in and play third and 4th arrow, snake, rocky jr, and the rest of the crew were getting drilled by Rudy.
Rudy picked up my ball laughed at me and said bet.
it was never close, I won 8 to 10 straight games, I came home and went to the city and proceeded to abuse drugs the rest of the night.
Rudy was fantastic at Royal, i never used that ball again, Simo Sr. was the best… bob perry
Bowling News USA – February 11, 2008
PURZYCKI aka BOB PERRY RIDES THE GRAVITY SHIFT TO ROLLER VICTORY
Former (1997) Super Bowl High Roller Champion Bob Purzycki picked up the 2-10 split in the tenth frame of the Shootout Finals, to secure the $25,000 first place prize before a packed house at Sam’s Town Bowling Center.
The victory capped off a wild week as the 2008 February High Roller came to a close.
Purzycki used the Storm Gravity SHIFT for the win.
Dave Guindon, (West Seneca, New York) of the 40 – 49 Division, forced Purzycki (Las Vegas, NV) to spare in the tenth frame to secure the win, and the animated crowd at Sam’s Town let out a huge gasp when Purzycki split the tenth frame. Purzycki, (50 & Over Division) taking no time on the approach, calmly converted and took home the title.
“This is the greatest victory of my life,” said Purzycki. “I knew I made the split when I let it go. I am so happy.”
Perry’s big 700 streak
snapped in the Bayshore
Bob Perry of Paterson, has been rattling the
walls at Middletown Lanes this summer in the
fast moving Bayshore Open Doubles League.
Perry was shooting to tie a national all-time
bowling record held by Nelson Burton, Jr., of St.
Louis. Burton is in the record books for having
bowled 12 consecutive series of 700 or better.
Perry going into this weeks play had already
moved into second place with 10 consecutive sets
of 700 or better. On his eleventh attempt he shot a
620 series to snap the 700 streak, but then came
right back with a 736 to start it all over again.
Part of the problem wasn’t necessarily Perry’s
fault as the hot humid weather became a factor
and had a strong bearing on lane conditions.
However, he isn’t the kind of a guy that offers
excuses. Although conditions were very unfavorable
he blames himself for not being able to
cope with the unusual conditions quickly enough.
Having a bad night means that his league
leading average of 253 tumbled all the way down
to 249, but some satisfaction came when he and
his partner Al Farber almost swept both matches
to pull out front with a 10 point lead over the
runner-up team of Pat Ninni and Paul Polito
All other league results and top scores for the
week are summarized below.