(Millis, Massachusetts) – After nearly 40 years of working for Ryan Family Amusements, regional manager PJ McCaul of Quincy retired at the beginning of May.
McCaul, 65, speaks fondly of his career that started in 1980 as a money collector and service technician during the height of the arcade game craze. Later in his career, he co-owned and managed Ryan Family Amusements at Fenway Park from the late 1990s to early 2000s—the highlight of his career.
“There was no handbook,” says McCaul, who met Red Sox players such as Mo Vaughn and celebrities like Katie Couric. “I knew nothing about bowling or being in management or ownership and I learned as I went along. I absolutely loved it.”
McCaul speaks passionately about his time at Fenway Park. No one really knew the bowling alley existed, says McCaul, adding the main entrance was located across from the Cask ‘n Flagon on Lansdowne Street. The bowling alley, which dated back to the 1950s, featured 20 candlepin lanes, 11 pool tables and 20 video games. Ryan Family Amusements owned the bowling center, located in the Jeano Building—named after Jean Yawkey—from 1997 to 2003.
“It was level with the playing field and it took up three streets,” says McCaul, who became friendly with owners John Henry and Larry Lucchino. “I could walk out onto the field anytime I wanted (except during the games, of course). The fun part was getting together with the Red Sox. They invited me to a lot of parties.”
Today, the bowling alley has been transformed into a nightclub and wood from the old lanes have been repurposed for the bar top on the Budweiser right field roof deck.
In his early days with Ryan Family Amusements, McCaul traveled from his home in Quincy to New Hampshire and Provincetown and “everywhere in between” to collect money and service arcade machines in restaurants, hotels and bar rooms. It was a time when Pac-Man, Centipede and Asteroids were all the rage.
In 2003, Ryan Family Amusements owner James A. Ryan formed a new ownership group, naming McCaul and several others as partners. During this time, McCaul was in charge of the Millis, Raynham and Plymouth locations.
Over his career, McCaul would often bring along his two young children, Zack and Kristen, to the bowling alleys. So it’s no surprise that Zack has followed in his father’s footsteps. Zack now serves as Operations Manager for Ryan Family Amusements.
Ironically, McCaul said he was never a bowler, but he loved interacting with customers, making lasting friendships and the daily routine of the job. He is also proud of helping to instill strong work ethics in his employees. During his retirement, he says he plans to spend time with his wife, Dee, and his grandchildren, and play the drums with his band, It Is What It Is, after a long hiatus. “I have mixed feelings about retirement,” says McCaul. “I can’t sit still.”
Nearly 3 million pairs of shoes rented! Ryan’s celebrates over 55 years in the family entertainment business. In May of 1958, owner James A. Ryan started his first business in Needham, MA, an eight-lane bowling alley under the Post Office. Over the years he has opened bowling centers in Quincy, Watertown, Falmouth, Avon, Raynham, Buzzards Bay, South Yarmouth, Malden, Hyannis, Boston, Millis and Middletown, RI and game rooms in the Cape Cod Mall, Emerald Square Mall, Martha’s Vineyard and Newport, RI. For more, visit www.ryanfamily.com.