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Frank "Lefty" Breen

Inducted 1980

Biography

In 1931 when Frank Breen was 19 years old he won his first Elgin city horseshoe championship, a feat he repeated consecutively over the succeeding 24 years.  Although he decided to “retire” from city competition after his 25th win in 1955, “Lefty” was still making horseshoe news at age 56 when he won the Illinois Sesquicentennial Singles Horseshoe title in Chicago’s Garfield Park.  Breen tossed 52 ringers out of 76 shoes for 77.8% and was presented a huge trophy by then Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley.  In his more youthful days in 1939, Frank set an amateur marathon record by laying on 2,436 ringers in 10 hours. He won the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) national championship six times beginning in 1944, and in 1950 threw a perfect game with 32 straight ringers in 32 shoes.  Breen had a number of trick shots, and favored one he called “burning the stake.” This consisted of placing a match stick in front of the stake and then lighting the match while making a ringer; then he put out the flame while making another ringer!  Breen’s doubles partner was Harry Durkee, a talented horseshoe pitcher himself, and together they won many titles in doubles competition.