Pete Weber, the baddest bad boy of the bowling profession, called it a career this week when the teary-eyed 58-year-old bowled his final frame on the PBA National Tour. “It’s been an honor and a privilege to be a part of the Professional Bowlers Association for 41 years. This is it,” Weber said while awaiting his turn to finish out a game. “I appreciate all the fans I had. Hate me or love me, you watched.”
And with that, an emotional Weber stepped into his office for the very last time as a professional. The PBA Hall of Famer who won 37 times, including 10 majors, on the PBA Tour and 11 times on the PBA Senior Tour (four majors), leaves as the most notorious bowler in the history of the sport.
“YES, GOD DAMMIT, YES!!!,” Weber shouted during the U.S. Open finals in 2012 when he got a strike on his final roll in the 10th frame to win the major by one pin. “THAT IS RIGHT, I DID IT! [THAT’S] NUMBER FIVE, ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! THAT’S RIGHT! (Turns to audience) WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE, I AM! DAMMIT, RIGHT!!”
And with that, the legend of ‘P-D-W’ Pete Weber had been written in stone, even though he’d been a bowling bad boy for years, way before the PBA was sold to Microsoft executives who figured out they could market Weber’s style to sell to TV networks. In fact, Weber was up to no good on the PBA Tour before many of his admirers on social media were even born.
In 1985, Sports Illustrated’s Jack McCallum profiled Weber and how he partied hard with cocaine and booze from his teens years until 1984 when, at age 21, Weber ended up in rehab. His father, the bowling legend Dick Weber, told McCallum it was “eight years of hell” dealing with Pete’s life with vices. You do the math here. That’s right, Pete Weber was one of the hardest partying 13- or 14-year-olds in the history of sports.
“This was Pete, too: running around with older kids, cutting school, chugging beer, smoking some pot, getting into fights, doing almost anything for a couple of laughs and a good time,” McCallum wrote. “Pete quit McCluer North Senior High School late in his sophomore year (six months later he earned a general equivalency diploma) because all he ever wanted to do was bowl and party, party and bowl. When the rules were changed to allow high school graduates who had not yet turned 18 to join the tour, Pete became a 17-year-old pro in November 1979. The rule change was proposed, incidentally, by one Dick Weber, an executive board officer.”
Pete estimated that over a two-year period, he ran through $150,000 doing cocaine. “From the first line of coke I ever did, I was hooked,” he says. “I loved it. I’ve done weeks when I’ve gone through an ounce or two, eating nothing but fast food. Plus I was drinking, a fifth of Jack Daniel’s a night, easy.”
Eventually, Weber would stop with the booger sugar, and at 24, he became the youngest bowler to win 10 PBA titles. His 20th title came in 1993 and hit the 30-win mark during the 2003-04 season. His 37 titles is good for fourth place on the Association’s all-time wins list.
“I’ve never cared what other people thought about me,” Weber told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in 2016. “I haven’t changed my attitude, my approach to the game one bit. I’m very emotional out there; nothing I do is planned or rehearsed. When I react, it’s a spur-of-the-moment thing. I like to show my emotion, and I think that helps keep me loose.”
Drink one for Pete during your next league night. It’s safe to say there will never be one quite like Pete Weber.
Pete Weber has bowled his final frame on the PBA National Tour. pic.twitter.com/a6KYfYzsKB
— FloBowling (@FloBowling) March 17, 2021
Pete Weber retires, gets drunk and goes out with a 💣 on live T.V.
— ßeanz (@SinCityTiki) March 18, 2021
Pete Weber has retired.
— TodayInSports (@TodayInSports3) March 18, 2021