Kartheiser began a brilliant career in 1899 when he was 11 years old. He became interested in the sport and began to earn money by setting pins. Within a few years his skill improved, and he was sought by top-flight Chicago teams, including the famous Brunswick Mineralites. He was a top star on that club for 10 years. In addition to his league performances, Kartheiser was considered one of the nation's top head-to-head competitors. He held the national match game championship in 1926 and among his seven other tournament titles was the Petersen Classic in 1924.