News Digest - Cover Picture

1957 Ladies World Champion

For nearly two decades in the 40's and 50's, our NHPA News Digests did not feature a cover picture as had been the practice of most Horseshoe World magazines in the 1920's and 1930's or in all recent decades. The Horseshoe Pitcher done by NHPA Hall of Famer Bryon Jaskulek, did have a facsimile of a sanctioned horseshoe and I add, no doubt produced by a company sponsoring that month's issue. The Horseshoe Pitcher's News Digest by Ellis Cobb, also a Hall of Fame inductee, for the first couple years did not have a cover picture, except for this issue of June 1958.

Having a cover page picture was a novelty at the time and seeing articles and coverage of women champions was nearly just as novel. The women's division was not as established as we have grown so used to expect in the last few decades. The picture is of Gertsie Lou Selby (Law) of Bolder Colorado. Shelby won the 1957 world title in a playoff while averaging 41.5%. Few members will recall the name or that she was a world champion at the age of 18, or that she was the sister-in-law of Ted Allen!

What is also very interesting, the very next ladies world champion is the one responsible for setting the surge in the women's competition - Vicki Chapelle Winston. Vicki set new standards and many women pitchers followed, having maintained incredible performances over the past fifty years.

This is the story that accompanied the News Digest issue in June 1958.

"OUR COVER PICTURE - The blonde, vivacious young lady whose picture graces the cover of this month's 'Digest' is none other than Gertsie Lou Selby who will be defending her World's title as Ladies' Champion at Murray, Utah in July. She is eighteen years old and graduated from Longmont, Colorado High School this year. She is a lover of sports and participants in many and is a protégé of Ted Allen, World' Champion in the men's division. It is him from whom she has copied his style and technique. Ever traveling with her sister and Ted, her former brother-in-law, on exhibition tours. Her future interests are possible modeling, of which she has had some experience in downtown stores in her hometown or a career as an airline stewardess and college. The NHPA is proud to have such a lovely lady as it Ladies' World Champion."

Here's is final standing for the Women's Division in 1957 as published in the News Digest.

Qual. W L %
Gertsie Selby, Bolder, Colorado 153 3 0 42.4
Janean Hilton, Murray, Utah 146 2 1 43.2
Katie Gregson, Crestline, Calf. 123 1 2 44.7
Viola Hilton, Murray, Utah 83 0 3 32.4

The top two ladies pitched a playoff for the championship - two best out of three games.

1st game Pts R S.P. %
Gertsie Selby 30 35 82 42.7
Janean Hilton 50 43 82 52.4

2nd game
Selby 5325 60 41.6
Hilton 36 21 60 35.0

3rd game
Selby 51 26 70 37.1
Hilton 48 28 70 40.0

History and Folklore Jottings

The correct answers to last issue's trivia questions: 1) Charles Clyde Davis 2) Delano Dempster Cottrell 3) When stating the question in the last issue, (I should have stated the only perfect game pitched in World Tournament play):In 1948, Guy Zimmerman had a perfect game (44 shoes) against Henry Pergal, who incidentally was Indiana State Champion in 1931. 4) In 2008, Alan Francis had perfect games against Gary Roberts (20 shoes) and Stan Leis (24 shoes).

Here are a couple more trivia questions: Name two Junior Girl's World Champions that went on to win Women's World Championships. There are also two other Women's World Champions who pitched in the Junior Girls Division but did not win a Junior Girl's Championship, name them.

Three players pitched in the Junior Boy's Championship Class, did not win a Junior title but went on to win Men's World titles, name those three players. On the easier side, three players that won Junior Boys Championships have gone on to win a combined 22 Men's World Championships. Name those three players.

And there is more! Talking about folklore! Back when this series started in 2004, there was conversation and some searching about where did the term "Four-Dead" originate? That question has not been answered but in the back of my mind, I was so sure I had heard the story from Earl. Well, while looking for something else, the information just popped up. In 1991, Jack Claves was inducted to the NHPA Hall of Fame. Earl Winston, then Chairman of the Hall of Committee, wrote a very nice review for Newsline. There is an incredible number of different bits of history in just this one brief bio...

Jack Claves - St. Louis, Missouri (1991 Promoter):
“Jack was a horseshoe promoter from the early 1930's until his death in 1946. More than once he had Fernando Isias and Ted Allen stop in the St. Louis area for show and pitching exhibitions. He ran the St. Louis Municipal Horseshoe League for many years. As an occupation Jack was caretaker of a large cemetery called Sunset Burial Park. He coined the popular phrase we all now use as “4-Dead” when he used to say, “’four dead’ for Sunset Park.”

Jack seemed to be in demand as an after dinner speaker and did a lot of mike work at exhibitions and during World Tournaments.
In the early 1930's he took over the management of the Missouri State Championships, held at the fairgrounds in Sedalia. World Champion C.C. Davis had won the state title in 1934 and 1935. Mr. Claves then barred all national or ex-national champions for his state title competition so entries would increase, which they did.

After declining the NHPA presidency in 1935, Jack was elected vice president of the NHPA in 1939. At that same convention, a LeRoy Page was elected president. It was later learned that Mr. Page was not even a member of the NHPA, so Jack Claves served as President of the NHPA until the 1940 Convention.

Now we all know the complete story!!