perfect 36

George Thompson george.thompson at NYU.EDU
Tue Jan 20 01:45:05 UTC 2004

Someone posted to the 19cBB site the following passage:

    "Talking of Buffalo, reminds me that they had a colored player named
Grant.  He was the only Negro in the league but a grand second baseman.
Fans turned out to see him perform, a picture of gracefulness.  Grant was a
dandy of the boulevards, too.  He always carried a cane, dressed like a
fashion plate and was a perfect 36.  We used to go to the Central station
just to see him get off the train and we would parade all the way behind him
to the Congres Hall, which was then basebll headquarters.  And how he loved
to be in the limelight."

This refers to a baseball player active in the late 1880s, and is from "the memories of Frank Rutz, published as a series in the The Rochester Times-Union in December, 1937".

I remember from my yout' (15 years or so after 1937) the expression "a perfect 36" as referring to the ideal woman's figure: 36 inches about the chest, 24 inch waist, 36 inches about the hips.  Presumably Rutz was speaking in the lingo of 1937 and not 1889, but was he expanding this expression to cover men, or is there an meaning I haven't encountered?


George A. Thompson
Author of A Documentary History of "The African
Theatre", Northwestern Univ. Pr., 1998.

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