Frank Bishop played basketball and baseball at Temple.
Upon entering the practice of Frank Bishop. in Norristown, Pa., collages of athletic competitions and posters of Philadelphia Phillies players occupy parts of the wall in the patients’ room. Moreover, a portrait of Connie Mac Stadium overlooks Bishop’s office.
Bishop, 70, devotes his passion of baseball and works to put smiles on the faces of children and adults everyday. While measuring and placing wires and brackets into the mouths of patients, Bishop usually engages in conversation about high school sports, little league or junior league baseball, or the Phillies. On occasion, the man nicknamed “Doc” wears scrubs displaying baseballs.
Before Bishop had his business in Norristown, he had a high school and college athletics career. Bishop played the position of quarterback in football, forward in basketball and pitched on the baseball mound during his three years at Norristown Area High School from 1957-60. Bishop quarterbacked in 1957 and pitched the Eagles in 1959 to undefeated records in the Suburban One League. By far, Bishop’s most successful feat at Norristown involved hurling four no-hitters on the mound, including consecutive “no-nos” in 1959.
“I could have been drafted out of high school by the [Pittsburgh] Pirates for $80,000,” Bishop said. “ I turned it down to play for the Temple Owls.”
Once Bishop received his diploma from Norristown, he took his power forward and pitching abilities to Temple, spending 12 years occupying North Broad. In 1964, Bishop received his bachelor’s degree and worked on his Doctor Dental Surgery degree at Temple Dental School, during 1964-68, in which he received the International College of Dentists for Outstanding Achievement in Dental Studies. During 1968-72, Bishop attended the Temple Orthodontic School, earning his Doctor of Dental Medicine degree.
Although Bishop eventually became a well-known orthodontist, he developed a reputation as a Temple student-athlete in his undergraduate year, spending four years on the Owls’ basketball and baseball teams.
While on the basketball team, Bishop averaged 9.9 points per game, during seasons when the Owls hosted games inside South Hall on Broad and Columbia, which sat 1,500.
“South Hall had a track that overlapped onto the court,” Bishop said. “We lost a lot of games there, so we mostly played at the Palestra.”
Bishop played on the court alongside Bill Cosby in 1961, participated in the 1962 National Invitational Tournament and co-captained the 1964 squad.
“I actually got to play with Bill Cosby, but I was a captain, and he wasn’t,” Bishop said.
On the other hand, Bishop is known more for his arm while on the mound for the Owls. Jim “Skip” Wilson had been at the beginning of his 45-year career at the helm for the Owls when Bishop stymied the opposition.
During the Wilson era, the Owls played their home games at Erny Field in Mount Airy, located next to the now-defunct Temple Stadium. When Wilson retired in 2005 after garnering 1,038 victories, the Owls moved to Skip Wilson Field at Ambler Campus, which they currently call home.
“I liked playing there [in Erny Field] with [Wilson],” Bishop said. “Back then, Temple baseball had great teams, unlike today.”
During 1961-64, Wilson managed the Owls to a 54-28-1 record. While on the mound in 1963 as a junior, Bishop pitched at least 45 and a third innings and yielded two runs, 16 walks, nine hits and struck out 64 batters with a 0.73 ERA. The pitching line in 1963 earned Bishop a 5-0 record and the Mid-Atlantic Conference Pitcher of the Year Award.
“At one point that season, I had the lowest ERA in the nation,” Bishop said. “However, I have up a run in the final game I pitched that season, and I ended up finishing with the second-best ERA.”
Also, the Owls had an 18-game winning streak at one point in 1963, which has remained the Owls’ longest winning streak in program history to date. Bishop also posted a strikeout rate of 13.69 per nine innings in 1963, which remains the highest strikeout per-nine-ratio in school history.
During the 1963 spring, Bishop and his teammates led Wilson’s Owls to their third consecutive NCAA tournament appearance, compiling a 20-3 record, including an undefeated 10-0 in the MAC. Though Saint John’s eliminated the Owls, 7-0, in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament, the 1963 season became the first year Wilson led the Owls to a No. 13 in the final polls.
In 1964, the Owls’ record slipped to 15-7-1, recording a 4-5 mark in the MAC. As expectations have been similar to the previous season, the Owls failed to qualify for the postseason.
“I missed my senior season,” Bishop said. “I tore my elbow while pitching spring practice, which also ended my chances of getting drafted into the [Major League Baseball].”
Along with operating the business he has owned for 30 years, Bishop has found time to manage the East Norriton Junior League (Norristown, Pa.) for 13 to 15-year-old boys, since 1976. Bishop said he also enjoys watching local high school football and basketball in Montgomery County.
“Although I went to Norristown, I also go to Plymouth Whitemarsh basketball games,” Bishop said. “ I keep up with the teams who are in contention of a championship.”
Aside from his practice and athletic activities, Bishop resides with his wife, Susan, and the couple has sons, Steven and Gregory.
Scott Weiss can be reached at email@example.com.