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1948 World Tournament
Milwaukee, Wis. - Aug. 16-21, 1948

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:

1948 World Tournament

The beautiful city of Milwaukee became the gracious host of an unforgettable '48 tournament, Milwaukee had long been a hotbed of horseshoe pitching and was now receiving long overdue acknowledgement of this fact. This great city had one of the most beautiful batteries of courts in the nation, serving thousands over the years in league pitching.

Which brings to mind the fact that if all league pitchers in the land were members of the N.H.P.A., the potential of the organization would be awesome! As league pitchers already benefit from the standardized rules of the N.H.P.A., one is reminded of the saying: Why buy the cow when the milk's free? (Non-N.H.P.A. pitchers are depriving themselves of the fine N.H.P.A. Awards program.) Now let us get to the matter at hand - the 1948 World Tournament.

The "Big Four", consisting of Isais, Allen, Jones and Zimmerman, would be making their next to last appearance together in the same tournament. Allen, Jones and Zimmerman all had broken the record for qualifying. As Wayne Nelson the prior year had crowded these four, Tommy Brownell would do likewise this year. Casey Jones, perhaps inspired by the surroundings of his home state, would lead this field to a record breaking performance.

There were 59 games pitched over 85 percent. Of these, Isais had 15, Jones - 11, Allen - 10, Zimmerman - eight, Brownell - six, DeLeary three, Johnson - two, Bomke, Packham, Kraft and Arlo Harris had one each. Thirty seven other games were pitched over 90 percent. Heading this parade was Jones with 13, while Zimmerman had 10, Allen - six, Isais - four, Brownell - three and Arlo Harris - one. This also marked the first time in World Tournament history that a perfect game was pitched.

Round by round highlights follow:
    Round 1: Jones (93.0 percent) over Cash, 50-7.
    Round 2: Another of those great historic rounds. Allen (93.2 percent) over O. Harris, 50-3; Zimmerman (92.0 percent) over Griggs (83.8 percent), 50-23 in 124 shoes; Jones (91.4 percent) over Cobb, 50-10. Meanwhile, Brownell (88.0 percent) upset Isais (84.1 percent), 50-40 in 126 shoes.
    Round 3: Nothing fantastic.
    Round 4: Jones (90.5 percent) over Dean, 50-19; Allen (90.4 percent) over Cobb, 50-10; and De Leary went down to Packham, 50-40.
    Round 5: Jones (94.6 percent) over D. Dixon, 50-4; Zimmerman (93.0 percent) over Kraft, 50-10; and Brownell (91.2 percent) over Printz, 50-18.
    Round 6: Zimmerman (90.3 percent) over Swinehamer, 50-10; Brownell (90.0 percent) over Gandy, 50-11; and Jones (89.9 percent) over Packham, 50-25 in 110 shoes.
    Round 7: Zimmerman (93.3 percent) over A. Harris, 50-13; Isais (91.3 percent) over Kraft, 50-1; Allen (90.0 percent) over D. Dixon, 509; and Jones (89.4 percent) over Tamboer, 50-10.
    Round 8: Zimmerman (90.0 percent) over Brownell, 50-13; and Jones (88.9 percent) over O. Harris, 50-13.
After the first eight games, the leaders were Jones (90.9 percent, 80), Zimmerman (89.1 percent 8-0), Allen (85.7 percent, 8-0), Brownell (84.8 percent, 7 -1), and defending World Champion Isais (81.1 percent, 7-1) - fantastic ringer percentage averages in the first quarter of the schedule.
    Round 9: Nothing changed.
    Round 10: Jones (90.0 percent) over Recht, 50-10; and Earl Bomke upset Brownell, 50-39.
    Round 11: Jones (91.0 percent) over L'Abee, 50-12; and Zimmerman (89.2 percent) over Printz, 50-14.
    Round 12: Zimmerman (94.7 percent) over Dean, 50-1; Jones (91.2 percent) over Swinehamer, 50-6; and Allen (89.4 percent) over Recht, 50-18.
    Round 13: Arlo Harris (92.3 percent) over Recht, 50-4.
    Round 14: Allen (88.5 percent) over Swinehamer, 50-16; Zimmerman (88.0 percent) over Packham, 50-13; and Brownell knocked off Jones, 50-36 ruining Casey's perfect record. This took 128 shoes.
    Round 15: This was the "Big Four's" and possibly horseshoe pitching's greatest in history. Isais (91.2 percent) over Hilst, 50-9; Allen (93.3 percent) over Yaus, 50-9; Jones (93.5 percent) over Edmondson, 50-11.
Meanwhile, Guy Zimmerman was having the game of his life, forever inscribing his name in the World Tournament Record Books. Guy, in his match with Pergal, became the first to fulfill the horseshoe pitcher's ultimate dream - a perfect game! Guy tossed 44 ringers in 44 shoes, still the World Tournament record for longest perfect game. Can you imagine rolling 44 straight strikes on the bowling lanes?
    Round 16: Giant killer Tommy Brownell threw 102 ringers out of 116 shoes for a blazing 87.9 percent to now destroy Allen's perfect record by a score of 50-30.
Percentages of the second eight-game segment, as well as the overall win-loss records, were: Zimmerman (86.6 percent, 16-0), Jones (87.0 percent, 15-1), Allen (85.9 percent, 15-1), Isais (84.9 percent, 15-1) and Brownell (80.2 percent, 13-3). Notice Isais is the only one improving in percentages.
    Round 17: Jones (93.9 percent) over N. Dixon, 50-7; Zimmerman :90.6 percent) over Cash 50-7 and Allen (88.0 percent) over Lindquist, 50-10.
    Round 18: All of the top five had down games. Especially fortunate was Isais, pitching only 61.1 percent, against dangerous Gandy whose 44.5 percent was his worst of the tournament; Isais winning, 50-29. Jones was upset by Bomke, 50-46.
    Round 19: Allen (91.4 percent) over N. Dixon, 50-12; and Jones (90.0 percent) over Kraft, 50-9.
    Round 20: Zimmerman (91.4 percent) over DeLeary, 50-11; Jones (90.0 percent) over Gandy, 50-15; and Isais (88.1 percent) over Cash, 50-7.
    Round 21: In perhaps the upset of the tournament, Dale Dixon shocked Zimmerman, 50-39, creating a 4-way tie.
    Round 22: Jones (90.2 percent) over Lindmeier, 50-15.
    Round 23: Allen (96.9 percent over A. Harris, 50-1; Brownell (91.2 percent) over Yaus 50-4; and Jones (89.5 percent) over Johnson, 50-12.
    Round 24: Zimmerman (94.0 percent) over Gandy, 50-9; and Jones (90.0 percent) over DeLeary, 50-15.
The standings now were Zimmerman (23-1), Allen (23-1), Isais (23-1), Jones (22-2),and Brownell (21-3).
    Round 25: Isais (95.6 percent) over Tamboer, 50-3; Zimmerman (90.5 percent) over Ohms, 5-11. Brownell was upset by Edmondson, 50-33.
    Round 26: In a crucial encounter, Jones defeated Allen, 50-41 and in a very tense match, Zimmerman squeaked by Isais, 50-49 in 120 shoes. It looked as if one of the hard luck pitchers, either Jones or Zimmerman, would finally break the 14 year dominance of Allen and Isais     Round 27: Isais (91.6 percent) over Ohms, 50-2.
    Round 28: Two super matchups again. Allen defeated Zimmerman, 50-32 in 120 shoes. Meanwhile Jones, leading, 49-41, could not score the final point; losing 50-49 in 136 shoes as Isais finished the match with 12 consecutive pressure packed doubles. Now three were tied again with Jones one game back.     Round 29: All "Big Four" won, pitching over 85 percent.
    Round 30: Isais broke the tie with Allen by winning, 50-41. Isais now had the pleasure of waiting for the conclusion of the Jones-Zimmerman match. In one of the greatest games of all time, both men stroking 86.6 percent ringers for 148 shoes, Jones edged Zimmerman, 50-48, for one of the most disappointing defeats of Guy's career. For Jones it could only be bittersweet as now all three trailed Fernando with just one round to complete.
    Round 31: Fernando Isais made all other matches a formality by slaughtering Yaus, 50-18. Fernando became the fifth man in history to successfully defend the World Championship, joining Frank Jackson, Putt Mossman, C. C. Davis and Ted Allen. Guy Zimmerman pitched the first perfect game and once again averaged 86 percent only to have the elusive World Title get away. Enough cannot be said for the performance of Casey Jones who set a brand new record for a complete tournament averaging 87.5 percent, the greatest losing effort in the history of horseshoe pitching! Hard luck Casey had I struck out again!

Two men, although pitching very respectably, would earn their fame in other areas of the sport. Earl Green became President of the Indiana State organization and faithfully served his state in many capacities until his death. Ellis Cobb began his journey to the N.H.P.A. Hall of Fame that year. In 1956, Ellis created the Horseshoe Pitcher's News Digest which is still the official publication of the N.H.P.A., published and distributed on a monthly basis.

1948, the year of this author's birth, as well as his loving wife's, will always be remembered as one of those special magic years that horse, shoe pitching is so often blessed with.


1948 World Tournament Milwaukee, Wis. - Aug. 16-21, 1948
Qual W.L.R.Sp. Pet.
1.Fernando IsaisLos Angeles, Cal.D.C.292 1917 227884.2
2.Casey JonesWaukesha, Wise.546283 2159 246887.5
3.Guy ZimmermanAlamo, Cal.546283 2069 240686.0
4.Ted AllenBoulder, Colo.547283 2055 243284.5
5.Tommy BrownellGloversville, N.Y.525274 2015 249280.9
6.Stan DeLearyPhoenix, Arizona534256 1847 238277.5
7.Eddie PackhamSanta Monica, Cal.51721101660 223674.2
8.Ellis GriggsPlainville, Ill.5252011 1820 241875.3
9.John LindmeierMaywood, Ill.5282011 1809 240475.2
10.Lowell EdmondsonPlainfield, Ind.51220111864249074.9
11.James JohnsonCovington, Ky.4921912 1800 236676.1
12.Roland KraftLeCompton, Kansas4991813 1624 224672.3
13.Arlo HarrisIndianapolis, Ind.4951714 1738 237473.2
14.Alvin GandyTopeka, Kansas5371615 1782 244672.9
15.Louis DeanPomona, Cal.5211615 1667 231871.9
16.Earl BomkeNew Berlin, Ill.52814171767 243872.5
17.Orville HarrisIndianapolis, Ind.5251417 1642 228871.8
18.Arner LindquistMorgantown, W. Va.5111318 1214 192063.2
19.Dale DixonDes Moines, Iowa49812191611229870.1
20.Ervin RechtFt. Wayne, Ind.5211219 1545 223069.3
21.Aden SwinehamerAurora, Ill.5201219 1549 223669.3
22.Marines TamboerWichita, Kansas4921120 1577 227069.4
23.Ellis CobbAurora, Ill.5241120 1461 216267.6
24.Payton PrintzIndianapolis, Ind.4861021 1619 229870.5
25.Henry PergalCrane, Ind.512922 1500 220668.0
26.George HilstPerkin, Ill.480922 1451 213668.0
27.Robert CashCleveland, Ohio5059221517 228966.0
28.Ray OhmsSalt Lake City, Utah488724 1466 222465.9
29.Norman DixonStreator, Ill.5007241427 219665.0
30.Gerald L'AbbeSwampscott, Mass.480724 1381 213464.7
31.Russell YausCanton, Ohio480724 1297 202264.1
32.Alvin DahleneLawrence, Kansas Forfeit All Games