hot dog--1952 "Yogi is a hot dog player"--Meaning is unclear
gcohen at UMR.EDU
Mon May 24 14:07:42 UTC 2004
Last week Barry Popik sent ads-l several "hot dog" quotes
pertaining to sports, and I asked him for a fuller context for the
1952 item "Yogi [Berra] is a hot dog player." He promptly sent it to
me (Thanx!), and I now reproduce it below my signoff.
A problem is just what "hot dog" means here. If it's "showboat,
show-off," it would antedate by seven years the earliest "hot dog"
attestation I thus far know of with this meaning. (I'll check the
Dick Friendlich books that James Landau drew to ads-l attention last
week). Also, FWIW, in the 1950s I was keenly interested in baseball,
especially the NY Yankees and especially Mickey Mantle and Yogi
Berra, but I never heard "hot dog" in any sports sense during that
In any case, "hot dog" (= show-off) would not fit the context of
the quote below. My guess is that the writer is saying that Yogi is a
very enthusiastic ("hot") devotee of dog racing ("dog player"). I.e.,
Yogi is not a "hot-dog player" but a "hot dog-player."
But I'm open to other suggestions. Might someone see something
here that I'm missing?
P.S. Barry's other ads-l material on "hot dog" last week helped
clarify the meaning "second-rate; inferior" (boxer), by extension
"unknown; not yet famous" (golfer)--meanings which do not yet seem to
appear in the dictionaries.
But these meanings would not be appropriate to the 1952 context below.
At 10:42 PM -0400 5/23/04, Bapopik at aol.com wrote:
>Newport Daily News
>Newport, Rhode Island Tuesday, November 18, 1952 646 k
>Pg. 12, col. 1 "The Sportlight" by Grantland Rice:
> The first time I met Yogi was at the dog track at St. Pete one
>cold night around 1947. I was with Stan Musial, Howie Pollet and
>Red Munger. We all had on overcoats. Yogi didn't. I asked him how
>he was doing. "I've lost my $4," he said. "Nothing left."
> We split a number or two and Yogi drew one that netted him 107.
>He was all for putting it on the next race.
> Yogi is a hot dog player. This next spring I have promised to
>spring him loose from Casey Stengel for a day at Sunshine Park. You
>like to be with Yogi. He is a completely natural human being, minus
>any restrictions. I had promised to come to come to his wedding in
>St. Louis. ...
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