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Baseball Names - and How They Got That Way! (Part 3)


A few of you have been clamoring for the next installment of "Baseball Names." Clamor no more. Here it is - -hot off the press. And if you have other terms, names, definitions . . . you want to submit - we can turn this whole enterprise into a cottage industry. Enjoy. And as always - reactions are most welcome.


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"BABE RUTH'S LEGS"  Sammy Byrd, used as a pinch runner for Ruth. 

BARBER  THE Sal Maglie had the unique distinction of pitching for the Brooklyn Dodgers, the New York Yankees and the New York Giants in the 1950's. A curveballing clutch pitcher, his nickname came from two sources. A swarthy 6'2" right-hander who always seemed to need a shave, he was a master at "shaving" or" barbering" the plate. His pitches would nick the corner, and he wasn't too shy about nicking a batter if the occasion demanded it.                                                     

"BERRA-ISMS"  Yogi Berra always had a way with words, herewith, a sampler:
"Congratulations on breaking my record last night. I always thought the record would stand until it was broken." -to Johnny Bench who broke his record for career home runs by a catcher.

    "I didn't say the things I said "
    "The other teams could make trouble for us if they win."
    "If you don't know where you are going, you will wind up somewhere else."
    "If you come to a fork in the road, take it."
    "He must have made that before he died." --on a Steve McQueen movie, 1982
    "A nickel ain't worth a dime anymore."
    "It's tough to make predictions, especially about the future."
    "The future ain't what it used to be."
    "A home opener is always exciting, no matter if it's home or on the road."
    "I take a two hour nap between 1PM and 3PM."
    "90% of the putts that are short don't go in."
    "Baseball is 90-percent mental. The other half is physical."
    "You have to give 100 percent in the first half of the game. If that isn't enough, in the second half, you have to give what is left."
    "Nobody goes there any more. It's too crowded."
    "It gets late out there early," referring to the bad sun conditions in left field at the stadium.
    "He is a big clog in their machine."
    "I've been with the Yankees 17 years, watching games and learning. You can see a lot by observing."
    "Baseball is the champ of them all. Like somebody said, the pay is good and the hours are short."
    "All pitchers are liars and crybabies."
    "Bill Dickey learned me all his experience."
    "I want to thank you for making this day necessary." -- to fans in hometown St. Louis for giving him a day in 1947 at Sportsmen's Park.
    "I've known this guy so long. Can't he spell my name right?" -- after receiving a check that said "Pay to the order of Bearer"
    "I think Little League is wonderful. It keeps the kids out of the house."
      "If the people don't want to come out to the ballpark, nobody's going to stop them."
    "Pair off in threes."
         "The other teams could make trouble for us if they win." -- as Yankee manager
    "Always go to other people's funerals, otherwise they won't come to yours."
    "We have very deep depth!"
    "It was impossible to get a conversation going, everybody was talking too much."
    When asked what time it is -- "Do you mean now?"
    When asked what he would do if he found a million dollars - "If the guy was poor, I'd give it back"
    When asked by a waitress how many pieces she should cut his pizza into -- "Four. I don't think I could eat eight."
    When asked why the Yankees lost the 1960 series to Pittsburgh--
"We made too many wrong mistakes."
    When told by Yankee manager Bucky Harris to think about what was being pitched to him  -- "Think? How the hell are you gonna think and hit at the same time?"
    When told Ernest Hemmingway was a great writer -- "Yeah, for what paper?"
    When asked what his cap size was at the beginning of spring training -- "I don't know, I'm not in shape.""
    "It's deja vu all over again."
    "It ain't over until it's over."

BRONX CHEER Another term for booing or razzing or raspberry, this sound allegedly originated in the Bronx in the 1920's. (The Bronx, one of the five boroughs of New York City, gets its name from the Dane Jonas Bronck, the man who first settled the area in 1641 for the Dutch West India Company.) The contemptuous sound sarcastically referred to as a"cheer" was made by vibrating the tongue between the lips.

BROOKLYN DODGER SYM-PHONY From 1938 to 1957 a group of unlikely musicians serenaded Dodger fans at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn. Sometimes they sat in seats 1-8, row 1, section 8. Sometimes they sauntered up and down the aisles, tooting and rooting on their beloved Bums. Sometimes they climbed up on top of the Dodger dugout and played their original form of jazz through the long summer days and nights. A special feature of the group was a tune they performed known as the "Army Duff." Fans referred to the song as "The Worms Crawl In." The little band would razz a visiting-team strikeout victim back to his bench with this song. As the player would sit down on his bench, the Sym-phony would accentuate the touch-down of his derriere with a blasting beat of the bass drum. There were many games of cat-and-mouse between the Sym-phony and strikeout victims who would feign seating themselves to avoid the last, razzing bass-drum beat. The Sym-phony always managed to time the touch-down and accentuate it musically to the delight of Dodger fans and to the dismay of the visiting players. Brooklyn broadcaster Red Barber originated the nickname for the group.


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You can reach Harvey Frommer at:   

Email:  harvey.frommer@Dartmouth.EDU 

About the Author:

Harvey Frommer is in his  38th year of writing books. A noted oral historian and sports journalist, the author of 42 sports books including the classics: "New York City Baseball,1947-1957" and "Shoeless Joe and Ragtime Baseball," his acclaimed REMEMBERING YANKEE STADIUM was published in 2008 and his REMEMBERING FENWAY PARK: AN ORAL AND NARRATIVE HISTORY OF THE HOME OF RED SOX NATION was published to acclaim in 2011.  The prolific Frommer is at work on When It Was Just a Game, An Oral History on Super Bowel One. 

His work has appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, New York Daily News, Newsday, USA Today, Men's Heath, The Sporting News, among other publications.

FROMMER SPORTSNET (syndicated) reaches a readership in the millions and is housed on Internet search engines for extended periods of time.
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Harvey Frommer along with his wife, Myrna Katz  Frommer are the authors of five critically acclaimed oral/cultural histories, professors at Dartmouth  College, and travel writers who specialize in cultural history, food, wine, and Jewish history and heritage in the United States, Europe, and the Caribbean. 

This Article is Copyright 1995 - 2014 by Harvey Frommer.  All rights reserved worldwide.

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