EXERCISEºRECREATIONºSPORT

Are You Ready For A Quiz?

   

After six years of this series, you should be prepared for answering lots of questions about old shoes. No need for concern, it will be easy - the answers are provided. This is nothing more than a way to look at some interesting trivia in our older pitching shoes.

What shoes have carried the names of NHPA presidents?

The very first to mention is the F. Crum shoes. Only one pair is known to exist and of course they deserved a whole Horseshoe Trader article in 2000. Frank Crumm (Independence, Missouri) is listed as the president of the Grand League of American Horseshoe Pitchers 1914. The Grand League of American Horseshoe Pitchers Association was a forerunner to the NHPA, merging with the National Horseshoe and Quoit Pitchers of the United States and the just formed NHPA in 1921. These are probably the oldest shoes in collection.

Dale Dixon (Des Moines, Iowa) was NHPA president 1953-54. The tournament style Dixon Victory began sales in 1957.

Arlo Harris (Indianapolis, Indiana) was president in 1948. The Harris Professional Pitching Shoe was supported through the AHPA. There were two models. The issue model of Harris shoes were produced by the Giant Grip Company, Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Giant Grip got out of the pitching shoe business around 1949. After that the Harris shoe began being produced by Portland Forge Inc., Portland, Indiana.

William Weis (Akron, Ohio) was NHPA president in 1920 as the NHPA was forming. Ads have been found for the Weis sold shoes as early as 1920. His full name didn’t appear on a shoe, but there is a ’W on the underside of the initial National Standard shoes, which represents Weis. Once the National Standard patent was approved in 1923, the ’W was removed from the shoe. George May, world champion in 1920W and 1923S, is created with the National Standard design, but William Weis is believed to have been the proprietor.

There is one more shoe that should be mentioned. The name of the shoe was the ’President’. This rare old hookless shoe was sold through the Sears & Roebuck catalogs from 1930 through 1932. Not being named after any one president - just all of them.

What shoes (prior to 1960) bore the name of World Champions?

Many world champion pitchers were involved with designing and selling shoes. In the early day, some of these shoes were quite successful, which is probably explained by understanding that the pitching champion was directly involved with the operation, designing and sales. And then there were a few that were strictly for promotion.

The first shoe must be the Mossman. This shoe has to be referred to as the most historic shoe of all. The shoe was designed and patented by Putt Mossman, champion in 1924S and 1925. The shoe’s claim to fame is that it is the first shoe designed with hooks. Maybe small hooks, but they were hooks, nonetheless and started a revolution of the pitching shoes.

Ohio Horseshoe Company produced a couple of shoes that had a world champion’s name forded on the shoe. First came the Jackson Model in 1937, named for Frank Jackson. Frank Jackson is listed for 7 world titles beginning in 1909 and the last one in 1926. Jackson was the first celebrity of the sport and his career included hundreds of public appearances performing pitching exhibitions. The Ohio Jackson model proved not so successful as the shoes lasted for only one year; the shoe did veer from the traditional Ohio design but yet did not catch on in sales. There are only a couple known to be in collection. The second Ohio bearing a world champion’s name was also a one-year duration. In 1953, Isais Model was introduced. ‘Isais Model’ was in raised lettering on the right corner of the toe. Isais was an eight time world champion: 1941, 1947-1952 and in 1958. His run of six consecutive titles has never been matched.

All though his name never appeared on a shoe, it is only fair to mention Fred Brust, the founder and long time proprietor of the Ohio Horseshoe Company. Fred Brust was world champion in 1919.

Gordon had a special Ted Allen model (c. 1935). This is a little known fact as there are only two Ted Allen Model Gordon shoes known to exist in collection. The wording is in small raised lettering on the bottom side of the shoe, so the lettering could be easily erased through routine use. Alien did endorse a number of shoes, including Gordon shoes, before he began his own line of shoes.

Maybe the most popular shoe of the high skilled players is the Allen shoe. While still on the present market, the Allen shoe was founded by Ted Allen in 1937. The initial shoes were manufactured in Denver, Colorado and that appeared as a mintmark on the shoes. Sometime around 1955 the operation moved to Bolder and the mintmark was changed. Hunting for the old Alien shoeswith a Denver mintmark is an ambition of the avid collector. Ted Allen leads all other men pitchers with ten world titles: 1933, 1934, 1935, 1940, 1946, 1953, 1955, 1956, 1957 and 1959.

C.C. Davis was world champion in 1922, 1924W, 1927W, 1927S and 1928. At the time while winning world championships, his address is listed as Columbus, Ohio, but in 1933, from a Kansas City, Kansas address, Davis began advertising the C.C. Davis shoe. The shoe must have had limited success as there are only three known in collection and two of those are in the NHPA Hall of Fame collection.

What shoes have dates?

More shoes were dated than most folks would guess. Here is a quick version: Most Gordon’s from 1939 through 1967; nearly all Ohio’s from 1922 through 1965; Warren in just one year -1927; the 1945 Diamond Double Ringer; National Standard (patent dates on most, mold dates in 1924 and 1928); and Champ’s bicentennial shoe of 1976 with a bold 1776-1976 across the toe.

TRADER JOTTINGS

There is one less shoe on the Mystery List. Recently, a pair of Lancaster Durable’ Pitching Shoes showed up on E-Bay. Until now, all we knew for sure was what was stated by an ad found in a 1936 issue of Horseshoe World, that the NHPA had sanctioned the shoe and the manufacturer was the Lancaster Steel Malleables Corporation of Lancaster, New York. That was it; we had no pictures, no sighting, no nothing.

The shoe is from c.1936 and to my knowledge; this is the only pair that is in collection. The shoes are in the original box including the rules brochure. The shoes have never been pitched. This significant find will be the feature display with my antique pitching shoe exhibit at the World Tournament in Eau Claire. The display, that now exceeds 220 specimens and is 24 feet long, will be set up August 5th through August 12th. Please plan to come by see the Durable’ Shoe by Lancaster and the whole collection.