"hot dog" baseball player, 1954

Sam Clements SClements at NEO.RR.COM
Sun May 30 02:23:52 UTC 2004

Just to add to Doug's posts......

I propose that he's correct, it is merely a continuation of the term that
existed many years before.  And I further propose that it was resurrected to
apply to Felix Frankfurter and his protege's.

There are fascinating cites from Newspaperarchive.

1937-- "EXPERT--Another man frequently assailed as a "Roosevelt brain
truster" or a "Frankfurter hot-dogger" is Mordecai Ezekiel, chief economic
adviser of the department of agriculture."

1939--"SHREWD--Felix Frankfurter has become almost a myth to the American
people, and like most fictitious characters he doesn't fit the popular
conception of himself at all.  He is not the pompous, professorial, radical
being he had been painted by enemies, not the saint of the cloisters his
worshipers make him out to be. <snip> You had to look twice--sometimes three
times--before you could believe that here was the sire of the brain trust,
the "hot dogger" whose name has provoked such wrath in anti-New Deal

I think the 1950's? sports metaphor was only a continuation of Felix "hot
dog" Frankfurter.  His high profile perhaps brought the old term into use


----- Original Message -----
From: "Douglas G. Wilson" <douglas at NB.NET>
Sent: Saturday, May 29, 2004 4:48 PM
Subject: Re: "hot dog" baseball player, 1954

> >        This is the earliest example I have thus far for baseball 'hot
> >Its exact meaning isn't clear, although the term is certainly derogatory.
> >The previous earliest one is 1959.
> Sure looks a lot like the old "showoff" sense, exemplified in HDAS from
> 1894-1903.
> >The 1954 term may have been
> >imported to baseball from boxing, where it referred to really
> >bad/second-rate fighters
> >(so bad that fans would leave for hot dogs and other refreshments).
> Did it really refer to second-raters generally, or was that a nonce
> double-entendre? There doesn't seem to be a clear semantic continuity
> between "one who is bad and therefore not interesting to watch" and "one
> who is bad by virtue of being too showy".
> I would speculate that the "hot dog" = "showoff athlete" of the 1950's and
> later is descended from the ca. 1900 "showoff" sense. There is a hiatus in
> the HDAS citations from 1903 to 1948 however.
> HDAS shows the clearly related verb "hot dog" = "show off" from 1961, but
> at N'archive I find a couple of examples of "hot dogging" from the 1930's
> which could go far toward filling the gap.
> ----------
> _Nevada State Journal_ (Reno NV), 21 June 1939: p. 4, col. 5 ["Washington
> Merry-Go-Round" column, Drew Pearson and Robert S. Allen]:
> <<When the President returned from hot-dogging with royalty, he looked at
> his desk, frowned at the "stacks of work" confronting him.>>
> ----------
> _Chronicle Telegram_ (Elyria OH), 26 July 1935: p. 10, col. 2 {"The
> National Whirligig" column]:
> [section title: <<SNOOTY.>>]
> <<Nowadays the New Dealers are stepping out. Most publicized hot-dogging
> their weekending at the exclusive Jefferson Island Club in Chesapeake
> ----------
> I take "hot-dogging" to mean "swanking it" -- more or less "showing off".
> -- Doug Wilson

More information about the Ads-l mailing list