Jeff Frankos is the best player in the west, and arguably the country, without a national title. He just finished second at the 4th Street Bowl regional in San Jose where Sean Rash shot 279, 300 for the last two games to pass him and win.
Jeff is the player nobody minds losing to. The super-human Greg Thompson, Jr. once wrote an ode to him on Facebook, calling himself Frankos’ “Human Bye.” Jeff takes your money and you’re glad to hand it over just to watch him operate. His opponents have actually been accused of laying down for him (not true, ever!). Afterwards he’s the guy laughing the loudest in the bar along with the 400 friends surrounding him.
Jeff does not have a dominant style. He’s generally behind it with medium to slow speed, but with deadly touch. It’s not the kind of game that will average 260 for the day, and he rarely wins if they are walled up. He will ALWAYS average 220 though, even if they are absolute garbage. He is guaranteed a check whenever he bowls and is usually the odds-on favorite to win. And, you will face him in every bracket.
I met Jeff for the first time at a tournament when I had just moved to the Bay Area in 2002. They were flying for me so I moved in to about 17 (not to brag, but I will – most lefties cannot or will not do this). Jeff said to me, “You aren’t from around here, are you? Because if you were, I would know you.” Jeff knows everybody and takes everybody’s money (including mine). Bay Area bowling is a cottage industry for him to augment his stockbroker gig.
To watch Jeff strut after throwing a strike might make you think he is overly cocky. I asked him about that once – he told me there is a very fine line between confidence, which is essential, and overconfidence, which is fatal. NOBODY walks this line better than Frankos.
He gave me another piece of advice I have used more than once. If you can’t find a shot on the lanes, it usually messes up your timing, rhythm, and confidence too, making things worse. When this happens, get back to a line that you can be firm on and get your timing and stroke back. Then go back to trying to figure out the lanes.
Both Jeff’s kids are bowlers; he wouldn’t be the first father to forego a tour career. His son Jay recently won a YBT (Youth Bowler’s Tour, shout out to Mike Hillman and Leanne Hulsenberg for launching and running a great youth organization). We were once watching our sons bowl. WIth his son a lefty and my son a righty, we commented that “payback’s a bitch, isn’t it?”