ROTH, MARK (1951– ), U.S. bowler, member of Pro Bowlers Association (pba) Hall of Fame. Roth, a native of Brooklyn who lived most of his life in Wall Township, nj, joined the pba tour in 1970 as a 19-year-old phenom with an unusual, variegated 5-to-11 step approach, and an aggressive hook which stood out in an era of mostly conservative curve-ball throwers. Despite the raw talent, it took Roth five years to tally his first tournament victory. Thereafter Roth enjoyed a remarkable run of 14 years in which he won 34 pba titles (third best all-time), was named pba Bowler of the Year four times (1977–79, 1984), and led the pba in average six times (1976–79, 1981, 1988). Roth's average for the 1979 season of 221.6 was the first time in pba history that a player had maintained an average above 220. This record stood until 1993, when averages across the league jumped because of improved ball technology. His eight tournament victories in 1978 are a record that most bowling analysts concur is unlikely to ever be broken. He also shares the record for most consecutive tournament victories (3). Roth is one of only three bowlers in pba history to have managed to place high enough to win a cash prize in every tournament entered for an entire season. And despite having played when cash prizes were approximately a quarter of the value of current tournament prizes, Roth is still one of the top career money-earners of all time, at over $1.6 million. Roth is considered to be the originator of the fast, sharp hook style which is prevalent throughout the pba today. He retired from the pba Tour in 1991, but decided 10 years later to join the Seniors Tour, and promptly won honors as the Senior Rookie of the Year in 2001, and then Senior Player of the Year in 2002, becoming the only bowler in pba history to win Player of the Year Awards in both the regular and senior circuits. Roth then retired to concentrate on investing and running bowling alleys across the United States. He was Maccabi Union Jewish Athlete of the Year in 1985.
[Robert B. Klein (2nd ed.)]