April 22 – Happy Birthday Tom Brownell

BrownellTomSo you’re at an Amsterdam clam bake and the guy pictured here walks up to you and says I’ll bet you $100 that I can throw 75 horseshoe ringers out of 100 tosses. Do you bet him? Heck if that happened to me, I’d probably have said lets make it $200. Not any more! Not after researching this guy’s past.

Tom Brownell was the greatest horseshoe pitcher in the history of Amsterdam.He was born in Olean, NY on this date in 1923 and moved to this area when he was just a boy. He started pitching horseshoes when he was 14 and proved a quick study, winning the Fulton County Horseshoe Tournament that same year. He won his first New York State Championship in 1940, at the State Fair in Syracuse. He successfully defended that title the following year in Rochester and also went to work for GE, getting hired at the Schenectady plant.

World War II interrupted both his GE and horseshoe careers. He went into the Army in 1943 and saw action in Europe. When he came home from service he stepped up his horseshoe competition level, competing in both the state and world championship tournaments. He went on to win …

The rest of Tom Brownell’s birthday post will be published in the second editionof A Year’s Worth of Amsterdam NY Birthdays, which will be available for sale right after Thanksgiving. To make sure you get your hands on one of the first copies, join my mailing list here.

The first edition of A Year’s Worth of Amsterdam NY Birthdays, which features my birthday posts for 320 current or former Amsterdam residents, is currently being sold at Liberty Fresh Market, on Route 30 in Amsterdam. You can also purchase it online here.

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