antedating of "old college try" 1918

Sam Clements SClements at NEO.RR.COM
Thu Jan 29 04:55:10 UTC 2004

M-W has 1927.  

Using newspaperarchive, 

19 Oct. 1918  _Elyria(OH) Evening Telegram. 4/4-5

A story entitled "The Old College Try" by Billy Sunday.  Copyright, 1917, by the Dell Syndicate, Inc. 

<<Somebody Busted the Ball one morning in Batting Practice at the Polo Grounds. <snip> A Lively Lad was being Tried out for the Job in That Garden, A rah-rah Rustler just off the campus.  With the Crack of the Bat, he Wheeled and Made For the fence like Howard Drew tearing off The Hundred.  When he got there he Aviated four feet Off the Turf and Grabbed Nothing But the Atmoshere above his Cap. The Pill Sailed into the Seats.  He Never had a Chance.

  The Sapient Birds of the Giants gave the Kid the Cackle.  They would NEVER have Started.  But McGraw, Wiser than Any of them said;
   "That's the Eye, Young Fellow--The Old college Try!">>

So, now you know.  It was invented by John McGraw.  :)

Or perhaps Billy Sunday.

Sam Clements

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