(Born September 12, 1954) -- Western New York has sent plenty of bowlers on to the national stage over the years. Tom Baker was as good as any of them.
The Riverside native turned up on the pro tour in 1976, and eventually became one of the nation’s top bowlers. He won his first tournament in 1980.
Baker fully arrived as a great bowler in 1981. Already the holder of two titles, Baker had a week to remember at the PBA Denver Open. He set pinfall records for 12 games, 24 games and 42 games. That helped him finish third on the money list, and allowed him to reach All-American status.
Baker won six more titles through 1986, and then went into a victory drought. He ended it with a victory in the AC-Delco Classic in 1996. Baker shocked everyone by winning the PBA World Championship at the age of 49 in 2004.
Baker dominated the Senior Tour once he turned 50. He’s in the PBA Hall of Fame, and the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame.
--- Budd Bailey