In his wheelhouse

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Mon Jun 11 04:37:41 UTC 2001

>Sparlin, Don M. said:
>>Our local color commentator for the Cardinals baseball team, Mike Shannon,
>>uses the phrase "right in his wheel house" when describing a pitch thrown to
>>the liking of the hitter.  This is used when the hitter subsequently drives
>>the ball especially well and to a good location in, or out of, the field.
>>The wheel house of a river boat is the center of control.  If a thing is in
>>the wheel house it is under control.
>>My inquiry is whether this expression is primarily used by sportscasters
>>located in river towns, such as St. Louis and Cincinnati, where the
>>connection would seem more appropriate.  Does anyone have another occurance
>>of this phrase to report?
>I thought this was part of the Baseball Announcers' Cliche Dictionary.
>Seriously, though, I watch a *lot* of baseball (in the CT market, we have
>regular access to Mets, Yankees, Braves, and Red Sox games, in addition to
>ESPN and Fox national telecasts), and I know I've heard the expression any
>number of times, but I couldn't tell you whether it was all from one
I agree with Alice; it's been standard usage at least since the
1950's, but I have no idea whether it might have originated in the
commentary of an announcer based in one of those two river cities.
Maybe it's in Paul Dickson's baseball dictionary.  Anyone?  (Don't
bother checking the OED; they don't list the baseball usage.    And
who knows when the HDAS will reach W?)


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