USBC Hall of Famer Ed Lubanski dies at age 81

For video of Lubanski bowling with the Stroh's team, click here

Ed Lubanski, a United States Bowling Congress Hall of Fame member, died Monday, Nov. 8, in Warren, Mich. He was 81.

Lubanski is one of three bowlers to have won four ABC Tournament (now USBC Open Championships) titles in one tournament. Bowling for the Pfieffer Beer team out of Detroit, he captured team, singles, all-events and team all-events titles in 1959. Only Bill Lillard (1956) and Mike Neumann (1990) also have won four titles in one tournament.

Lubanski also took the team all-events title at the 1951 ABC Tournament in St. Paul, Minn., while bowling with Stroh's Beer team.

But Lubanski might best be known for rolling back-to-back 300 games during a live television broadcast in 1959. The "Great Double 300" was rolled at Miami's Bowling Palace following a weeklong clinic sponsored by the Bowling Proprietors' Association of America and AMF.

"I was in a zone that you only find a few times in a career," Lubanski once said about his achievement. "It was easily my proudest moment as an athlete."

Born in Detroit, Lubanski started bowling at age 12, and four years later he was carrying a 191 average. He also was a talented baseball player and signed a pro contract to pitch in the St. Louis Browns minor league system.

In 1947, Lubanski won a league-record 23 games for Wausau in the Wisconsin State League but decided to leave baseball for a career as a pro bowler. Two years later, he shot 2,081 to win the all-events title at the Central States Tournament.

Lubanski, who used a use a two-finger ball, moved into the bowling spotlight at age 21 when he teamed with Ed "Sarge" Easter to win the BPAA National Doubles title. Easter was 67 years old and, at the time, the two became the youngest-oldest duo to win the event.

Lubanski (left, with St. Louis baseball great Stan Musial) was a member of BPAA championship teams in 1952, 1953, 1954 and 1964. He was a charter member of the Professional Bowlers Association, serving as the second PBA president in 1960 and, on the lanes, won the 1962 Chicago PBA Open.

He is a member of five halls of fame, including the Michigan Sports and Polish American Sports. He was a Bowling Magazine's first-team All-America in 1958 and 1959 and named to the second team in 1960 and 1961.

A biography of Lubanski, King of the Pins!, recently was released.

Lubanski is survived by his wife of 62 years, Betty, and children Janis, Edward, Paul and Robert, and nine grandchildren.

Memorial visitation is 1-9 p.m. Thursday at Spaulding and Curtin Funeral Directors in Ferndale, Mich. and at 9:30 a.m. Friday until a Memorial Mass at 10 a.m. at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church in Oak Park, Mich.  In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to our Lady of Fatima Men's Club, 13500 Oak Park Blvd., Oak Park, MI  48237.