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1928 World Tournament
(winter), St.Petersburg, Fla.


Permission granted by author, Gary T. Kline of
"The Official N.H.P.A. History of the World Tournament 1909-1980", Reflection Press, Dayton, Ohio
Gary T. Kline's book on past world tournament (before 1980) is recommended reading for any horseshoe pitching enthusiast. With his kind permission, we bring excerpts from his fabulous collection of data, to wit:
    During the winter 1928 World Series, an exhibition horseshoe pitching match was played by New York Yankee slugger George Herman "Babe" Ruth and Boston Brave slugger Rogers Hornsby...both later enshrined in Baseball's hall of fame. Gary T. Kline says this in his book about the exhibition match:
"...Unfortunately the results of this game are not known. The reason for this match between these two members of Baseball's Hall of Fame and all time great hitters was due mainly to Putt Mossman. Back when the Babe was still with the Braves, Putt was trying to make the team as a shortstop. Fortunately for horseshoe pitching, Putt failed in this endeavor. In the Brave's spare time, Putt had a number of the team members tossing the shoes. That's how these great gentlemen got their first exposure to horseshoe pitching on a championship level. It's a shame more matches such as these have not happened throughout the history of the World Tournaments."

    Hornsby was only with the Boston Braves during the 1928 season so the above picture was very likely from that year and possibly taken in connection with the above described match with the 'Babe'.
---web site comments


    After close scrutiny, it is noticed that 1928 produced a World Tournament record of a different nature. Of the 30 entrants, only six had not had previous experience in this classic. James D. Hough was the only of the six to make the finals. The other fiver were James Putnam, L. W. Eaton, R. Harley Rizor, Leslie Evans and L. S. Lyemance.

    Once again a new mayor, this time Mayor Maurer, aided by dignitaries of the city commission and the Chamber of Commerce, participated in opening ceremonies. Besides the addition of more bleachers, box seats at a higher price were erected for the eager throng of paying spectators. C. C. Davis once again assumed the role of favorite.

    (A special note should be included about 1928. D. D. Cottrell wrote a 1928 edition of the book Horseshoe Pitching - How to Play the Game. No copies of this edition are known to exist.)

    The tournament began with Davis and Bert Duryee doing the honors of opening game. Duryee, with the crowd delightedly pulling for him, pitched an inspired game, winning the match 50-41. Duryee tossed 59 of 82 for 72.0 percent, Davis fired 57 ringers for 70.0 percent. In another feature match, Davis topped Frank Jackson. The undefeated after the first day were Duryee, Risk, Vyril Jackson, Nunamaker and Elmerson. The Philadelphia Ledger veteran sports writer, Stoney McLinn, there covering the Boston Braves, took keen interest in the matches. He picked Jimmy Risk to win the tournament. Paul Shannon, a Boston sports writer, picked "Putt" Mossman.

    In day two action, C. C. Davis ruthlessly upped his ringer percentage to 72.9, highlighted by a 50-12 pounding of Risk and tossing 19 of 24 for 79.2 percent in shutting out Leslie Evans. Putt Mossman continued his puzzling slide by losing four. Meanwhile, Frank Jackson won five, losing one and that to star of the day Blair Nunamaker, 50-41. Blair, now the only undefeated having copped ten games, took a hard fought win from Duryee 50-41 in the feature match of the day.

    After third day results, Nunamaker continued his amazing string, not even extending himself in upping his record to 16-0. Jimmy Risk garnered 35 points in their match. Risk also went down to Elmerson, 50-37. The big upset of the day was Emmett Mossman over Frank Jackson, 50-40. The leaders were Nunamaker (16-0), Davis (15-1), Frank Jackson (13-3), Carroll Jackson (13-3), Elmerson (13-3), Risk (13-3), and Duryee (13-3). In a game with 68 year old Estep, the oldest man in the tournament, Davis threw 21 straight ringers. This tied Mossman's record in 1925. Davis did this with Estep leading 22-13! Davis went on to win 50-22.

    On day four, after 17 straight wins, Nunamaker went down rather easily to Davis 50-30. Blair later lost to Les Robison in a tremendous upset 50-47, falling to second place. Duryee went down to Risk 50-41 in 42 innings and to Frank Jackson 50-32 in 92 shoes, each victor pitching 64 percent. Frank also lost twice, first to son Carroll 50-44 and then to Putt 50-42. The leaders were now Davis (21-1), Nunamaker (20-2), Elmerson (10-3), Carroll Jackson (18-4), Duryee (17-5), Frank Jackson (17-5),, Risk (17-5), and perennial Florida State Champion C. R. Thompson (16-6). With 12 slots available and 18 men having double figures in the win column and only one day to go, day five held much promise to the crowd.

    At the end of day five, even after all matches were completed, the participants were not finished. Tied for the vital 12th position were Putt Mossman and Hansford Jackson. Hansford, with the crowd almost unanimously behind him, defeated Putt two straight to make the finals. C. C. Davis was among the few present rooting for Putt.

    When the finals began Monday morning, seats were at a premium. One of the Champion Davis' admirers who was present, and there especially to watch him according to prior newspaper quotes, was George Herman Ruth. Babe had already earned his nickname "Sultan of Swat" by his performance the past season on a team considered by many the greatest of all time, the 1927 New York Yankees on their way to the World Championship.

    Although rain halted some of the early contests, the following matches occurred. Inspired C. C. Davis won all nine games extending his winning streak to 37 and averaging 73.1 percent. Duryee was 7-2, losing to Davis 50-38 and Nunamaker 50-27. Blair was 7-2 losing to Davis 50-42 and upset by Hough 50-48. Risk went down to Davis 50-12 and Duryee 50-37. Frank Jackson and Elmerson were each 5-4. Frank again lost to Carroll 50-37. Hansford Jackson was 4-5, Carroll Jackson was 3-6 and at 2-7 were Thompson, Hough and Falor. Vyril Jackson was 1-8.

    Tuesday finals belonged to Duryee. After trouncing Davis early in the day, Bert really got it together. In games against Falor, Frank Jackson, Carroll Jackson and Thompson; Bert totaled 200 shoes, averaging 78 percent, and never failed to toss at least one ringer in the 100 innings. Leaders now are Davis (21-1), Duryee (18-3), and Nunamaker (16-5). All others had at least 10 defeats.

    On Wednesday, Leap Year Day, Feb. 29, all matches paled in comparison to the final two in which Davis was a part. Due to Blair Nunamaker clipping Davis, the coasting was over with Duryee now able to control his own destiny. In his next to last game, Davis met Elmerson and had his hands full. With the absolutely silent crowd afraid to breathe for fear of disrupting the contestants, Davis won out 50-48. Duryee meanwhile had won all ten of his matches to set up the show down. C. C. Davis, having the advantage of a one-game lead, being current champion, and being in this situation before, jumped on Bert 30-6 and coasted to 50-30 win. Bert was shy and nervous, quite reminiscent of Ralph Spencer back when the greatest "Psych Man" in the game, C. C. Davis, won his first World Championship. Davis pitched the highest percentage game of the tournament against Vyril Jackson, having 32 ringers in 36 pitches for 88.9 percent.

    On Thursday, March 1, in a playoff for sixth place C. R. Thompson defeated Jimmy Risk. In a special celebrity exhibition, Babe Ruth of the Yankees pitched Rogers Hornsby of the Braves. Unfortunately the results of this game are not known. The reason for this match between these two members of Baseball's Hall of Fame and all time great hitters was due mainly to Putt Mossman. Back when the Babe was still with the Braves, Putt was trying to make the team as a shortstop. Fortunately for horseshoe pitching, Putt failed in this endeavor. In the Brave's spare time, Putt had a number of the team members tossin' the shoes. That's how these great gentlemen got their first exposure to horseshoe pitching on a championship level. It's a shame more matches such as these have not happened throughout the history of the World Tournaments.

    The first week the 30 men each played each other on 50-point game and prize money below the twelfth place was awarded on the preliminary results.

    The second week the twelve highest players each played each other one 50-point game each day for 3 days, the world's championship being decided on the most games won in these finals. Davis lost one game in the preliminaries and that to Duryee, and two games in the finals - one to Duryee the second day, and one to Nunamaker the third day. The best ringer percentage was made by Davis in his game with V. Jackson in which he pitched 32 ringers, 14 double ringers in 36 shoes or 8.889 percent.

    In the second day of the finals Duryee in four consecutive games with Falor, Frank Jackson, Carroll Jackson and Thompson, pitched 100 consecutive innings without missing the pig with more than one shoe. This is a world's record. In these 200 shoes pitched he made 156 ringers, 46 double ringers, or an average of 78 percent. On Thursday, Feb 23, Davis pitched 21 straight ringers in his game with Estep, which equalled the world's record made at the Lake Worth tournament in 1925 by Putt Mossman. The first day of the finals, Davis averaged over 70 percent in seven games and over 80 percent in two games which is a world's record in such a series of games. His total percentage in these nine games was .731.


1928 World Tournament (winter), St.Petersburg, Fla.
PRELIMINARIES
W. L. R. SP Pct
1 C. C. Davis Columbus, Ohio 28 1 1053 1596 0.66
2 Blair Nunamaker Cleveland, Ohio 27 2 960 1528 0.628
3 Bert Duryee Wichita, KS 24 5 1086 1706 0.637
4 Harvy Elmerson Kenosha, Wis 24 5 978 1655 0.591
5 Frank Jackson Lamoni, Iowa 23 6 994 1666 0.597
6 Jimmie Risk Montpelier, Ind 23 6 966 1652 0.585
7 Carroll Jackson Chicago, Ill 23 6 1009 1780 0.567
8 C. R. Thompson Tampa, Fla 21 8 917 1666 0.55
9 Vyril Jackson Lamoni,Iowa 21 8 851 1600 0.532
10 Harold Falor Akron, Ohio 18 11 918 1738 0.528
11 James D. Hough Urbana, Ohio 18 11 879 1692 0.52
12 Hansford Jackson Chicago, Ill 17 12 910 1794 0.507
13 Putt Mossman Eldora, Iowa 17 12 930 1778 0.523
14 Emmett Mossman Eldora, Iowa 16 13 839 1728 0.486
15 John L. Estep Tiffin, Ohio 16 13 850 1688 0.504
16 David T. Leonard Adams Basin, NY 14 15 811 1684 0.482
17 Fred Brundige Lake Worth, Fla 13 16 730 1664 0.439
18 Leslie Robison Peoria, Ill 13 16 785 1848 0.425
19 James Putnam Mokane, Mo 11 18 773 1698 0.455
20 Harry Robinson St Petersburg, Fl 10 19 631 1656 0.381
21 L. W. Eaton Columbus, Ohio 9 20 630 1716 0.367
22 Herbert Jackson Lamoni, Iowa 9 20 629 1682 0.374
23 Charles Brundige Columbus, Ohio 8 21 684 1662 0.412
24 Parker Moore Homewood, Ill 8 21 684 1688 0.405
25 Lee Rose Detroit, Mich 8 21 711 1774 0.401
26 Royal Harlie Rizor Detroit, Mich 5 24 508 1620 0.314
27 Leslie Evans Jacksonville, Fl 3 26 465 1546 0.301
28 Glenn Porter Glendale, Calif 3 26 414 1476 0.28
29 Abner Whipple Connersville, Ind 3 26 393 1588 0.247
30 L. S. Lyemance Chattanooga, Tenn 2 27 428 1522 0.281
Finals
W. L. R. SP Pct
1 C. C. Davis Columbus, Ohio 31 2 1500 2138 0.702
2 Bert Duryee Wichita, KS 29 4 1454 2096 0.694
3= Blair Nunamaker Cleveland, Ohio 23 10 1437 2172 0.662
4 Harvey Elmerson Kenosha, Wis 20 13 1464 2288 0.64
5 Frank Jackson Lamoni, Iowa 17 16 1269 2078 0.611
6 C. R. Thompson Tampa, Fla 15 18 1254 2086 0.601
7 Jimmy Risk Montpelier, Ind 15 18 1245 2136 0.583
8 Carroll Jackson Chicago, Ill 14 19 1276 2168 0.589
9 Hansford Jackson Chicago, Ill 13 20 1183 2086 0.567
10 Harold Falor Akron, Ohio 10 23 1203 2168 0.555
11 James D. Hough Urbana, Ohio 6 27 1054 2010 0.524
12 Vyril Jackson Lamoni, Iowa 5 28 1131 2058 0.55