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They Came to Bowl: How Milwaukee Became America’s Tenpin Capital Paperback – October 22, 2007
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"Facing a formidable task in writing a history of bowling in Milwaukee, Doug Schmidt rolls a perfect game. From the founders, through the boom years and to the declining popularity of leagues, Doug's extensive research not only pays tribute to the greats of the sport but reveals the causes behind its fluctuations in popularity. All the names are there and revisiting them brought back a flood of pleasant memories for this reader." (Hank Stoddard, Retired Sports Director, WTMJ Milwaukee)
"Bowling has played a significant role in the history of sports and games played in America. And They Came to Bowl focuses on Milwaukee's contribution to that history. Anyone who has ever rolled a ball down the lanes will find the people, places and events covered in this segment of its history a worthwhile read." (Al Matzelle, American Bowling Congress historian and past Executive Director)
"The rock solid roots of bowling have always been Milwaukee. In Doug Schmidt's monumental They Came to Bowl: How Milwaukee Became America's Tenpin Capital, he digs, delves, researches, and reveals the names, dates, and doings to offer a fact-filled, fast moving, interesting, enjoyable adventure into bowling lore." (Chuck Pezzano, Bowling Hall of Famer, Author, Historian)
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Doug Schmidt admirably recounts the history of bowling in Milwaukee, principally by introducing the reader to the places, people and personalities that led the way. The stories run the gamut - from tiny basements with two lanes to giant bowling centers with scores of lanes, from quiet and careful businessmen to live-fast, die-young shooting stars. The story probably isn't entirely coherent. Nor will everyone find great interest here - indeed, I struggled through portions where the author highlighted seemingly endless game and series scores. But, Mr. Schmidt successfully retrieves the lost glory of one of Milwaukee's truly glorious pasts. For a time Milwaukee was very nearly the center of the world as far as bowling was concerned, and for an even greater period of time one could not speak of top rank bowling without considering Milwaukee. Mr. Schmidt shows why that was so and tells us who was responsible. Perhaps, this isn't the most important history, but it is fun and it's a piece of the puzzle.