NHPA Hall of Fame History
by Earl Winston
(first published in NEWSLINE)
It came to mind that a lot of horseshoe pitchers
might be thinking that our Hall of Fame is almost as old an institution
as the pitching of the annual World Tournament. Such is not the case, so
I'd like to take this opportunity to give you a brief history of how the
Hall of Fame was born and who some of the people are who have kept the
committee functioning through the years.
The idea of establishing a Hall of Fame was
discussed for several years and finally a committee was appointed to lay
the groundwork, establish guidelines and bring their proposal to the NHPA
Convention in 1965. The committee chairman was Carl Steinfeldt of New York.
His committee members were Elmer Beller (CA), Leland Mortenson (IA), Marvin
Chrisman and Bob Pence, both of Indiana.
In July 1965, the NHPA President, Harold Craig,
commented that these gentlemen had come up with the finest set of suggestions
and rules possible and their proposal would be brought before the delegates
in August 1965. The delegates approved their proposal and the NHPA Hall
of Fame was born.
That first Hall of Fame committee then asked
the NHPA membership to provide some nominees to be considered as the Charter
Members of the Hall of Fame and those people would be inducted in 1966.
The nominees could include players or non-players, active or inactive,
living or deceased. The committee would then select three players and three
non-players for induction. I can't find the records as to the election
procedure used by this committee, but some early records indicate they
may have used a voting system of 3 points, 2 points and 1 point, with the
candidate getting the most points declared the winner. I can't find that
a candidate had to achieve a certain percentage of the total possible vote,
as the current Hall of Fame Committee now requires.
Whatever system they used, that early committee
did come up with three players as charter members, but when they counted
votes for the non-players they had a tie for the last position, so decided
to induct four non-players as Charter Members. The Charter Members in the
player category were Ted Allen (Boulder, CO), Frank Jackson (Kellerton,
IA) and Fernando Isais (Los Angeles, CA). The Charter Members in the non-player
category were Archie Gregson (Crestline, CA), David Cottrell (Cohocton,
NY), Ray Howard (London, OH) and Arch Stokes (Salt Lake City, UT). Ray
Howard published Horseshoe World magazine for many years.
As some of the original Hall of Fame Committee
were distinguished persons within our sport, some had been nominated and
received votes from fellow committee members. It was felt that perhaps
eligible candidates should not be serving on the Hall of Fame committee,
so the committee was reorganized in 1967 and Marvin Chrisman was appointed
For three consecutive years two players and
one non-player were induced, even though the committee continued to undergo
changes in chairmanship. James Johnson (KY) and then Carl von der Lancken
(NY) kept the committee functioning. It was under Carl's leadership that
the first women were inducted into the Hall of Fame. Vicki Winston was
first in (in 1970) and then Laura Lanham of Illinois.
Elections continued with two or three individuals
being inducted each year until an Old Timers category was added in 1975.
This category has since undergone some revision. The numbers of persons
serving on the Hall of Fame committee was increased from the first total
of five to the present total of fifteen.
Following Carl von der Lankan as chairman was
Bernard Herfurth (MA). Then came Ruth Hangen (NY), Barry Chapelle (OR)
and now myself. With all the years of pitching history and the tens of
thousands of players that have come and gone, there have been 122 inductions
into our Hall of fam. Sixteen of these are women and a few of our inductees
are from our neighboring nation to the north, Canada.
We continue to urge or membership to submit
nominations of worthy individuals who should be recognized for what they
have accomplished on the national or World Tournament level. (Outstanding
individuals, who have been active only on a sate or local level, should
be submitted to their own state Hall of Fame.)
To nominate a candidate, do some research and
write up a history of their accomplishments in a form suitable for photocopying.
Your nominee must have been an active adult NHPA member for at least ten
years. Give reasons you think they are worthy of nomination and include
outstanding pitching performances if applicable. If you have a photo available,
send it along. The Hall of Fame Chairman communicates deadlines, and other
specifics in the NHPA publicaion, Newsline and on horseshoepitching.com.