Bowling as we know it began in Germany sometime during the fifth century. People pretended that the pins were devils and they used a round rock or heavy ball as a weapon to knock them down. If successful, it indicated they were overcoming the temptations of the devil in their lives. If not, their lives still had too many sins. The number of pins used varied from three to seventeen. Martin Luther is credited with deciding on nine pins. In the 1800s, because bowling (or platzbahnkegln as it was then called Germany) was used for gambling, it was outlawed. But the law specified nine-pin bowling. Players added a 10th pin to avoid being illegal. A life-size diorama at the International Bowling Museum and Hall of Fame in St. Louis portrays Martin Luther bowling on the single lane at the side of his home. A brochure from the museum states that Luther, an avid bowler, “once preached a sermon that proclaimed Christians ‘strive for perfection in life. But when we roll a gutterball, all is not lost.’”I have no idea if all this is true or not, but it certainly appears to be true that the Bowling Museum had the picture of Luther at one time. The museum is no longer in St. Louis, it's in Texas. Brecht notes that "Luther had a bowling alley built for the amusement of his students in their spare time, and he occasionally participated in the game himself."
Addendum (ht: Carl Vehse): From a comment below, the quote in the pamphlet reads,"He [Luther] once preached a sermon which, if put into bowling vernacular, proclaimed we all strive for perfection in life. But if we roll a gutterball, all is not lost." So, the "quote" appears to be a loose paraphrase of something Luther is alleged to have said.
Addendum #2 (1/30/14)
This blog post was linked to by Gene Veith with his entry, Luther and Bowling? See the subsequent discussion. Carl Vehse noted my citation of Brecht (Martin Luther: Shaping and Defining the Reformation, 1521-1532 [Fortress Press, 1994, p. 432]), and also included Brecht's accompanying footnote:
Weimarer Ausgabe (Weimar Edition): D. Martin Luthers Werke: Kritische Gesammtausgabe (Dr. Martin Luther's Works: Critical Collected Edition), Briefwechsel (Correspondence), Volume 6: 199-200. Tischreden (Table Talk), Vol. 1, No. 261; Vol. 2, No. 1494.