Carl Muccio was one of the state’s best bowlers and a member of Rich Wonders’ Kendor Corp. teams when I was a teenager starting to compete in top-level Wisconsin tournaments.
But he was as big a personality as he was a bowling talent — not quite Ron Wheeler in either category, but not far off. (I guess it wasn’t a coincidence that they both just called me “Kid” back then.)
It took me many years to appreciate how lucky I was to compete with men like Wheeler, Muccio, Wonders, Darold Meisel, and so many more.
When I joined the Kendor (later Faball Enterprises) No. 2 team that Muccio had been on just a couple of years before, injuries already were taking a toll on Muccio, whose career was cut short in 1984 due to a stress fracture in his back and arthritis.
I lost touch with Carl and his wife Jan for years, until Carl contacted me maybe a dozen years ago and came out to watch the Ten Pin Alley Bullseye Masters League I bowled in as they were living in the Madison area.
They later moved back to the Milwaukee area and Carl eventually earned induction in the Wisconsin Bowling Hall of Fame despite not having competed in the required 20 State Tournaments. (He qualified for consideration under the medical exception.)
Muccio, who started bowling by knocking down beer bottles in the alley next to his childhood home, won State Tournament singles and all-events titles, three Wisconsin Non-Pro Bowlers Alliance titles with several other high finishes in the WNPBA, the WNPBA-style Deer Park Classic, the Red Carpet Waukesha Classic, and had third- and a fourth-place finishes in team at the USBC Open Championships (then the ABC Tournament).
There is no doubt in my mind that Carl had a Hall of Fame-level career for the time he was competing, and if we are to make exceptions for injury shortening careers, he definitely deserved induction.
Carl died Wednesday at 72, and you can see his tribute here.
Jan said his ashes would be scattered at CW Purpero, where Carl worked as a heavy equipment operator.
Sadly and obviously, the COVID-19 pandemic will keep us from promptly gathering to celebrate Carl’s life.
“We’re not having any kind of service whatsoever,” Jan said. “We are going to have a celebration of his life — could be summer, could be fall. It depends on the coronavirus.”
She said the bowling community will be invited and it likely will be at a bowling center.