Curt Day, the implacable three-time champion from Frankfort, Ind., appeared to be the sure winner until he met Steinfeldt early on the final day. Day is the talk of the world tournaments because of his unconventional style. Most pitchers throw their shoes over the 40-foot distance so they twist clockwise as they sail toward the stake. Just as the 2�-pound shoe begins to glide into its downward arc, the jaws open and clamp around the 14-inch pin. Day's shoe makes a three-quarter counterclockwise rotation, a flight pattern which still tends to confound his opponents 30 years after he took the game up.
But Steinfeldt beat Day 50-46, and then he beat Seibold 50-41. This left Steinfeldt and Day in a deadlock after 35 regulation games, and a three-game playoff was arranged. The playoff didn't begin until 10:30 Sunday night, and with a cool breeze blowing off the nearby Delaware River there was some concern that Steinfeldt's goose bumps might cost him the tournament.
Day came out pitching ringers, and dusted Steinfeldt 50-18. In the second game Day broke to an early lead again, 34-18, and it appeared that Steinfeldt, the perennial bridesmaid, was a bridesmaid once more. "I looked up at my wife in the stands, and she looked disgusted," Steinfeldt said. "So I just decided to forget about Day and concentrate on my own game." The tool sharpener sharpened up his tools, proceeded to throw 20 consecutive ringers and beat Day 53-46 to tie the match. The final game was never a contest. Steinfeldt threw 29 ringers in his first 30 shoes, and wrapped up his first championship 52-31.
When he had won, Steinfeldt turned and sighed, "Finally, after 42 years." It was not a statement calculated to make the image-molders happy, but it was certainly good for the soul.