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PBA details Hall of Fame Class of 2024: Tom Hess, Bill and Barbara Chrisman, John Weber and Steve Jaros

JEFF RICHGELS | Posted: Thursday, April 4, 2024 8:00 pm
PBA details Hall of Fame Class of 2024: Tom Hess, Bill and Barbara Chrisman, John Weber and Steve Jaros
PBA photo illustration.

The five members of the PBA Hall of Fame Class of 2024 have been revealed in surprise announcements to them captured on video and now are detailed in this news release.

Tom Hess is being enshrined for superior performance during his PBA50 career, Bill and Barbara Chrisman and John Weber for meritorious service, and Steve Jaros was elected by the Veterans Committee, which “recognizes accredited players who did not meet traditional standards for enshrinement (10 PBA Tour titles or five titles with two major championships),” PBA said.

The previously unreleased news in the release was how Jaros was elected in the reborn Veterans category: All living Hall of Famers voted for one of a handful of players whose career achievements fell short of the Hall of Fame standard of 10 titles or five titles with two majors. The nominees were Jaros, Guppy Troup, Ryan Shafer, Bob Learn Jr., and Robert Smith, and Jaros got 16 votes, Troup 12, Shafer 7, Learn 3, and Smith 2.

"This is a wonderful class of Hall of Famers, representing PBA greatness in so many aspects of the game," PBA Commissioner Tom Clark said in the PBA release. "From remarkable business partners like the Chrismans, to a legendary tournament director in John Weber. From a player like Tom Hess who maximized renewed competitive life on the PBA50 Tour, to our first Veterans Committee inductee Steve Jaros, whose body of work on the National and Regional Tours can now be celebrated."

The PBA Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be held at 6 p.m. Eastern time on Friday, April 26 in Fairlawn, Ohio in conjunction with the PBA Tournament of Champions.

"Our induction dinner location, the historic Hilton Akron/Fairlawn Hotel ball room during PBA Tournament of Champions week, has been the setting for countless moments of Hall of Fame history," Clark said in the PBA release. "Our evening this April, is sure to be as unforgettable."

The timing is crushing for me, with who is going in this year.

Tom Hess is one of my closest friends in bowling who I have shared many great moments with bowling doubles and team competition. John Weber was involved in running most of the 500 or so PBA tournaments I bowled in and is one of the greatest guys I know. Storm is the only ball company I’ve been on staff with and I was with the Chrismans from nearly the beginning, signing my first contract in late 1995. And Steve Jaros is a friend I started competing against almost 40 years ago. I beat him for the first PBA Regional I won after my wrist reconstruction, which was one of the most emotional wins of my career — and he beat me plenty of times.  

Unfortunately, I will be in Las Vegas that week for the USBC Convention, the USBC Hall of Fame induction dinner that Wednesday, and the USBC Annual Meeting that Thursday. I typically get done writing late Thursday night after the Annual Meeting.

When I saw the timing, I started checking flights and could find nothing that would guarantee me getting from Las Vegas to Akron in time for the ceremony.   

In addition, our teams bowl the following week in the USBC Open Championships, I have several close friends from the Madison area bowling the Open Championships on Saturday and Sunday, my girlfriend Susie “Fever” is flying into Vegas on Saturday and I am supposed to be at the airport to pick her up (I am driving to Vegas the weekend before the Convention) and check into our hotel that starts Saturday.

So I will be sitting in my room in Las Vegas watching the ceremony on BowlTV, almost certainly with tears in my eyes listening to the speeches.

My loss is minor compared to the losses of Tommy Jones and Sean Rash, who will be bowling the PBA Tournament of Champions that week as they are inducted into the USBC Hall of Fame.

USBC sets its Convention schedule more than a year in advance, and PBA has to do what works for its FOX TV contract, so there’s really no one to be angry with — sometimes life just doesn’t work out.

Here is how the PBA release details the inductees:


PBA50 Superior Performance
Hometown: Granger, Iowa
PBA member since: 2003
Bowling hand: Right

Since Tom Hess debuted on the PBA50 Tour in 2021, he has been nothing short of sensational.

In Hess’ rookie season, which was delayed a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he won the season’s final two events — the Senior U.S. Open and USBC Senior Masters, both major championships — to claim PBA50 Player and Rookie of the Year honors. Only Norm Duke (2014) and Tom Baker (2005) had won both awards in the same season before Hess.

Since then, the fiery Iowa native has added three PBA50 Tour titles to his name while maintaining a cash-percentage over 92%. Hess has earned over $120,000 in his 38 career PBA50 Tour events.

Hess owns one PBA Tour title, the 2011 USBC Masters.

PBA Tour Commissioner Tom Clark surprised Hess with the announcement of his induction on BowlTV during the PBA Illinois Classic in February.


Meritorious Service
Founders of Storm Products, Inc.

The history of bowling and the PBA cannot be told without Bill and Barbara Chrisman, who founded Storm Products Inc., in 1994.

Bill died last September at the age of 74, leaving behind a monumental legacy. PBA players sponsored by Storm have combined to win hundreds of titles across all levels of the PBA, including Jason Belmonte’s 31 titles and record-15 major championships.

“I remember the first call Bill ever gave me. With complete certainty in his voice he said, ‘Together, we are going to change the game.’ I was a teenager,” Belmonte wrote after Bill Chrisman’s passing. “Since that day no one in this game believed in me, supported me and loved me like my bowling father Bill. Bowling is what bowling is because of what Bill did for the game we love.”

Barbara, who seamlessly assumed the role of CEO following Bill’s passing, learned of their enshrinement on the Feb. 28 edition of Storm’s podcast “The Morning Bolt.”


Meritorious Service
Former PBA, PBA50 and PBA Regional Tour tournament director

John Weber is the third member of the hallowed Weber family to be enshrined in the PBA Hall of Fame, following his father Dick and brother Pete.

John’s career began as tournament director PBA Midwest Region in the 1980s. He later oversaw all regional tours as well as the PBA50 Tour while still running the Midwest Region. When Corey Kistner left the PBA50 Tour, John became the on-site PBA50 Tour director all while continuing to run the Midwest Region.

Weber’s influence on the PBA50 Tour cannot be understated. His tremendous rapport with players and proprietors, combined with his passion to grow the PBA50 Tour, helped grow the tour into what it is today. He helped add new and supportive host centers to an elongated schedule and devised formats and pay structures to entice players to join and stay on the PBA50 Tour.

Because of Weber's efforts, players like Hess have a true “second” path to the PBA Hall of Fame.

After the 2020 retirement of Kirk von Krueger, PBA Hall of Fame Class of 2022, John took over as tournament director of the PBA Tour, a position he held until his retirement before the 2024 season.


Veterans Committee Selection
Hometown: Yorkville, Illinois
PBA member since: 1984
Bowling hand: Right

Jaros won seven times during his PBA Tour career, culminating with his 2005 PBA Dexter Tournament of Champions victory. He earned just shy of $1.75 million in his 878 events.

In major championships, Jaros advanced to eight televised finals and earned 18 top-10 finishes. In the 1999 PBA Chattanooga Open, Jaros fired the 14th televised 300 game in PBA history.

Additionally, Jaros has won 43 titles on the PBA Regional Tour.

Here is what Clark said on Facebook in March 2023 after announcing that the Veterans category was being brought back:
"At the PBA Hall of Fame Inductions and Tournament of Champions Dinner last week in Akron, OH, I announced that moving forward, our Hall of Fame would have a new category for past players to earn a 'second-chance' at enshrinement, through periodic PBA Veteran's Committee votes.
The new PBA HOF Veteran's Committee will consider players who may have slipped through the cracks by not completely satisfying all the exact criteria of PBA titles, but whose successful PBA careers left a lasting impression marked by significant accomplishments.
The examples given at the dinner were Guppy Troup, Bob Learn Jr., John Hricsina, Ryan Shafer, Ron Palombi and John Mazza, just to name a few. There are many more to consider, and not to forget any names, but the likes of Steve Jaros, Michael Haugen, Dave D'Entremont, Hugh Miller, Steve Neff, Harry Sullins, Chris Warren, George Branham, and more, will be considered. The new Committee will have a difficult job, and take it very seriously.
This new PBA HOF Veteran's Committee process was created in honor of Bill Vint, our former communications and PR director from 2009-2019, who passed away last year. Bill had worked a long career in bowling media before coming to the PBA, was an historian and formerly headed up the PBA Hall of Fame Committee.
I was glad to memorialize Mr. Vint in front of our esteemed banquet guests. And I know he would love the chance to consider these great players for the Hall."