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Mark Roth

(1951 - 2021)

Mark Stephen Roth was born on April 10, 1951, in Brooklyn, New York. His mother, Hilda (Rocker) Roth, was a legal secretary, and his father, Sidney, was a postal worker. 

He worked at a bowling alley and bowled for Sheepshead Bay High School’s team. In 1970, he joined the Professional Bowlers Association Tour, but did not win his first title until 1975. Roth made a splash with a cranking, hard-throwing style that spawned a generation of imitators. 

Roth was most dominant from 1975 through 1987, a stretch in which he captured 33 titles, and won four PBA Player of the Year awards. He was the second professional bowler to surpass $1 million in career winnings. His eight titles won in 1978 are still the PBA record for a single season, and he won another seven in the following season. He became the first bowler to convert the notoriously difficult 7-10 split — knocking down the two pins in the opposite corners of the back row — on national television.

For the PBA's 50th Anniversary, Roth was named the fifth Greatest Player in history. For the PBA’s 60th Anniversary, his 7-10 conversion and record eight titles were among the PBA's Greatest moments. The Mark Roth/Marshall Holman PBA Doubles Championship has been held in the famed doubles team’s honor, and the PBA League MVP Award annually is named after Roth.

He won his final tournament in 1995 and later joined the association’s senior PBA50 circuit, winning two titles.

Often referred to as The Original Cranker, his 34 PBA titles are sixth on the all-time tournament winners list. Roth is a member of the PBA, United States Bowling Congress, and National Jewish Sports Hall of Fames. 

He married Denise McKinney in 2003. A previous marriage, to Jacqueline Dente, ended in divorce.

Roth died on November 26, 2021. Roth was survived by his wife Denise.

Sources: Mark Roth Bowling.
Mark Roth, Wikipedia.

Richard Sandomir, “Mark Roth, Top Bowler Who Brought Power to the Sport, Dies at 70,” New York Times, (November 30, 2021).
Johnny Campos, “PBA Legend Mark Roth Dies At 70,” PBA, (November 26, 2021).