Factual bowling question: Can a pin fall over & bounce back upright?

I’ve been doing too much Wii bowling lately, but it raised this question in my mind:

Is it possible that a pin, once knocked over, manages to bounce back up to end upright?

It would seem a small but finite possibility, and given all the bowling pins knocked over in the past, I would tend to think it might have happened on at least a couple of occasions.

If it is possible, does league bowling have a rule about how to score such a situation?

According to the US Bowling Congress rules:

Pins that rebound and stand on the lane must be counted as standing pins.

I saw something like this years ago when I bowled in a league. A pin hit the side wall and returned to the alley. It bounced off one pin knocking it over but that pin stayed upright. Due to it’s location, the pin setter could not drop down. An employee went out and placed the pin in the nearest open position and the pin was not counted for that throw.

Thanks for that, Racer. Especially your anecdotal observation. I’ll be interested in seeing if anyone else has similar tales to contribute.

Has that happened to you in Wii bowling? I’ve played a lot of that (damn 300 game still eludes me despite my mastery, I can only muster a 298 at best) and I haven’t seen it.

This would be incorrect application of the rules. A standing pin is a standing pin. The pins should have been left in place, the deck manually swept clear, and the second shot should have been required to knock the standing pin over to count it.

Pins do do the damndest things sometimes. However, it’s fairly rare for them to go from horizontal back to standing vertical. Usually, they do what racer describes: head out into the gutter and bounce back still vertical.

Hasn’t happened to me in Wii, but Wii got me thinking of it.

Hey Qadgop.

YouTube even has a video of this happening.

But given the low centre of gravity on a bowling pin, it’s quite the longshot.

It’s clearly a longshot, but wouldn’t a low center of gravity make it more likely to stand upright than if the pin were designed with a high center of gravity?

Thanks for that. It led me to another Youtube moment where the pin fell and bounced back up:
impossible bowling moment

I spent many years bowling league and also worked at a bowling alley as a pinsetter mechanic. I’ve seen pins land flat on their bottom and remain standing a few times. A pin that has fallen, and then stands back up would be more rare, but I’ve seen a lot of other implausible things happen on the pinsetter end of the lane that nobody would ever believe.

This is correct, but if the pinsetter knocks down the pin, it has to be reset in the original spot it was in.

Modern pinsetters (from the late '60s AMF model machines on up) all handle out-of-range situations pretty well. If a pin is off spot and the pinsetter can’t respot it, the machine will stop and wait for intervention from the mechanic in the back. The older pinsetters would just knock over any pins that were more than a couple of inches off spot.

From the USBC rules (I let my sanction go back in 2003…what happened to ABC/WIBC?)

Perhaps the low centre of gravity might make the pin harder to knock over, but once knocked over would make it harder to bounce back up to a vertical position.

Once the pin’s in motion, a low centre of gravity makes it more likely (still pretty unlikely) to right itself again.

Imagine the opposite, if it had a really high centre of gravity it would need a massive moment about its balance point (assuming this is roughly in the middle of the height of a the pin) to right itself. With a low centre of gravity, the mass of the pin works towards restoring it to its original position.

Still a mighty big fluke to actually happen though.

I third racer’s observation – the “bounce in and out of the gutter” thing is pretty flukey, but it’s not so rare that a long-time bowler hasn’t seen it a few times.

I have seen it happen, and what’s more, it cost me an award.

When I was league bowling, the ABA-sanctioned leagues would give prizes for certain events; among these was certain scratch scores – 225, 250, and 275 IIRC. I think they had a ring for a 300 game and lapel pins/certificates for the others.

Tenth frame (having left the ninth frame open), pincount 212. First ball looks perfectly in the pocket but it isn’t; I leave 6-10 standing. So now I’ve got 220 and an easy spare pickup, which will give me the third ball in the tenth frame and an easy 225+ game.

I throw a nice easy ball right down the lane. The ball hits the six pin on its side and slams directly into the ten. I had actually turned away from the lane and so I didn’t see it, but the rest of my team gasped, spit out beer, pointed, yelled, and so I turn around to see a pin upright on the other side of the lane, about where the 7 pin would have been.

Apparently the six pin skittered across the lane, hit the wall, bounced, and landed upright in its new spot.

So I marked 221 and got no snazzy lapel pin.

Walter Sobchak would ensure that, once that pin went down, it stayed down. No f**kin’ doubt, man.

To add to this, a visualization may help. Let’s go the the extremes, first thing of one of those blow up punching clown things. It resets it self becuase of it’s low center of gravity. Now, the other extreme, think of that same thing, upside down (or a bowling pin upside down). Either of those will be much less likely to reset itself. It would take a hell of a lot of energy to get it to hit the ground and then bring all the weight all the way back up.

Off topic, but I once saw something that I would think is even more rare than a bowling pin “resetting”. In a baseball game, a batter got a hit and of course threw the bat down. It spun around on the ground and somehow popped up and landed on the tip of the bat, and stood straight up. Being that a bat has a higher center of gravity (I think) and the unevenness of the ground around the homeplate, I would say this is a very rare occurence indeed.

There’s a video of that online somewhere. I don’t have youtube access here at work, but you should be able to find it!

ABC and WIBC merged a few years back, creating the current USBC.

I once grazed the 10 pin and it slid to the 7 pin position.