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A look into the origin of baseball

So it's only natural to treat the lexicon like gospel. Why are lefties "southpaws" anyway?

The origin stories behind 11 uniquely strange baseball terms

Why are rundowns "pickles"? And what does corn have to do with any of this? Read on, as we explore the bizarre backstories to some of baseball's most colorful terms.

  1. Later a threatened strike was settled the day before it was to begin. Stunned, the owners appealed but without success.
  2. The recourse the court failed to provide was in substance achieved by the Major League Baseball Players Association —founded in 1953 but largely ineffectual until 1966, when it hired as executive director Marvin Miller , a former labour-union official who also had been active in government in labour-management relations.
  3. In 1969 new franchises were awarded to Montreal the Expos , the first major league franchise outside the United States and San Diego , California the Padres , bringing the National League to 12 teams. Especially noteworthy was the.
  4. Several swarthy players in the big leagues were widely assumed to be black, although they claimed to be white Latin Americans. These amateur games became more frequent and more popular.

It's a question every baseball fan has asked themselves at some point: Wait, what the heck does corn have to do with any of this? To finally get the answer, we a look into the origin of baseball to head back to the 19th century.

Clerks at groceries and general stores were looking for an easier way to reach canned goods -- like, say, corn -- on high shelves, so they started using long, hooked sticks to pull them down. After dropping the cans toward them, they would catch them in their aprons -- just like a fly ball. The first thing to know about the walk-off: According to the world's foremost authority, you've been saying it wrong.

The walk-off piece is a horrible piece of art. The first reference to "walk-off," though, came in a July 30, 1988, story in the Gannett News Service: And, because the Baseball Gods are not without a sense of irony, just a few months later Eck found himself part of one of the game's first official walk-off pieces: For decades, the southpaw origin story was a surprisingly logical one: In the days before lighting systems made night games possible, most ballparks were oriented so that the batter would be looking east out to the mound -- in order to avoid having to stare into the glare of the afternoon sun.

The 'Secret History' Of Baseball's Earliest Days

So, with pitchers facing west when they stared into home plate, the arm of a left-handed hurler would be to the south side of the diamond. According to MLB official historian John Thornwe actually have a totally different sport to thank: And it only needs one word of introduction: Sadly, though, "pickle" wasn't handed to us by the Baseball Gods.

But just where does it come from?

Jane Austen wrote about baseball 40 years before it was

Befitting a man who seemingly invented half of modern English, Shakespeare is thought to be the first to use the idiom "in a pickle" in The Tempest. But he gave it a somewhat different meaning -- in England, "pickle" actually refers to something close to relish, and one is "in a pickle" if they're "sauced" or, more bluntly, "drunk.

Origins of the Game

Casey Stengel coined a lot over his more than 50 years as both a player and manager -- enough to start his own language, "Stengelese. The butcher boy, in which a batter would draw the infield in by squaring up to bunt. When done well, it looks like this: Your browser does not support iframes. What does any of that have to do with meats, you ask?

The term was a Stengel creationinspired by the motion a boy in a butcher shop would use to cleave meat.

A Brief History of Baseball

Stengel ordered it whenever he needed a ground ball: Once upon a time, though, Hot Stove Season referred to. Hot Stove Leagues, in which MLB players would stay in shape by playing baseball in their hometowns while staying warm with, you guessed it, actual hot stoves. The term soon expanded to become a kind of predecessor to the water cooler -- on a cold day, fans would gather around the hot stove to discuss their favorite team.

To provide a visual aid, we now turn to Resident Hitting Instructor Bartolo Colon, who demonstrated the Platonic ideal of the Baltimore chop last season: The Baltimore chop came, as you might have guessed, from the Orioles -- specifically the O's of the late 19th century. With runs hard to come by in the dead ball era, the Orioles hatched a plan: They instructed their groundskeeper to pack the dirt in front of home plate legend has it he once even put down a concrete slab so that speedsters like John McGraw and Willie Keeler could leg out infield singles.

The plan worked like gangbusters: The O's won three consecutive NL pennants from 1894-1896. Referring to a strikeout as a K is a much older tradition than you might think, going all the way back to the mid-19th century -- when journalist Henry A look into the origin of baseball began developing baseball's first scorecard. Chadwick's original system used only single letters, and he couldn't use "S" for "struck" the preferred term of the time period because it had already been taken by "sacrifice.

Needless to say, it stuck, as did a lot of Chadwick's ideas -- like, for example, numbered defensive positions.

  1. Flood argued that the Reserve Clause was illegal, and that he should be allowed to negotiate freely with other teams. In 1970 a new suit was brought in federal court contesting the Reserve Clause.
  2. Chadwick's original system used only single letters, and he couldn't use "S" for "struck" the preferred term of the time period because it had already been taken by "sacrifice. Fearing that the dominance of pitching was hurting fan interest in the game, the major league tried to improve hitting by lowering the mound and narrowing the strike zone in 1969.
  3. It soon boiled down to a two-man affair, both contestants American. Although it was not a written rule, baseball had always been racially segregated.
  4. When done well, it looks like this.
  5. Casey Stengel coined a lot over his more than 50 years as both a player and manager -- enough to start his own language, "Stengelese.

So the next time you see a "6-4-3" double play, remember to say thanks. Have you ever wondered to yourself, "Wait, 'eephus'? Is that even English? Nobody else knows, either. The pitch first popped up in the 19th century, but never quite caught on. It was destined to be a historical oddity, a relic of a bygone age -- until it was dusted off by Rip Sewell, a starter for the Pirates during the 1930s and '40s.

Who invented baseball?

After taking 14 shotgun pellets into his right foot one winter, Sewell had to make serious alterations to his delivery, and, with his velocity diminished, he came up with the lob pitch as a way to keep hitters off-balance.

He busted out his new trick the next spring against the Tigers, and everybody was stumped. Whatever the origin, the eephus survives to this day, fooling hitters across the nation -- well, except A-Rod. Ah, the bloop single: How has such an unremarkable play inspired such remarkable nicknames?

A national pastime

Pickering had become a legend as a Minor Leaguer in the Texas League, and he was immediately placed atop Cleveland's lineup when he was called up -- he even holds the honor of taking the first at-bat in the history of the American League. Pickering proceeded to have one of the most fortunate starts to his career imaginable -- his first seven plate appearances all resulted in bloop singles.

His teammates, amazed and somewhat irritated, decided to name the play after him, and it's stuck ever since. Duck snort, on the other hand, has a much more. Initially, the phrase was "duck fart" -- yes, seriously. It actually makes some sense, if you dare to think about it for a second: The idea was that, thanks to its feathers, the flatulence of a duck would be pretty muffled and soft, much like a bloop single look, we never said it was a perfect fit.

Sadly, this didn't exactly translate to television.