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Marion Ladewig Biography

Career Begins In Local Alley, Wins First All-star, Personal Struggles, Chronology, Awards And Accomplishments


American bowler

Marion Ladewig was known as the "Queen of Bowling." Many people consider her the greatest female bowler who ever lived. She set the pace in the opening days of women's professional bowling. Not only did she lead the nation in high average for a woman four times between 1949 and 1963 but, in 1951 she outscored the men.

Born Marion Margaret Van Oosten on October 30, 1914 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Ladewig was a policeman's daughter who grew up a tomboy. She was a high school sprinter and played first base on her brother's baseball team. By age twenty-two she was a softball player of some distinction in local women's leagues. By her own estimation she was a good shortstop, slick fielder, and hard-hitting batter. When it came to pitching, however, Ladewig described herself as a "batting practice pitcher for other teams" because her balls brought easy hits.

It was her softball skill that led to her career in bowling. Local businessman, William T. Morrissey, Sr., saw the makings of a bowler in her strong throwing arm. In 1937 he invited her to roll some balls at his alley but it took a group of girlfriends to lure Ladewig onto the lanes. After just one game, she was hooked on the sport.

Sketch by Cynthia Becker

Additional topics

Famous Sports StarsBowling