pretzel curve (1886), pretzel battery (1887)

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at RCI.RUTGERS.EDU
Tue Jan 25 10:16:57 UTC 2005

On Tue, 25 Jan 2005 05:05:52 -0500, Benjamin Zimmer
<bgzimmer at RCI.RUTGERS.EDU> wrote:

>* pretzel curve (originally referring to the curve ball of Charles
>"Pretzel" Getzein of the Detroit Wolverines in the 1880s; later applied to
>other, often German-American, pitchers)
>1886 _Daily News_ (Frederick, Md.) 26 Jul. 4/5 The Chicago's describe the
>course of the ball from his [sc. Charles Getzein's] hand to their bats as
>a "pretzel curve."

More on Getzein's curveball here:

The Theory and Introduction of Curve Pitching.
O.P. Caylor, Outing, August, 1891, No. 5, p. 404, col. 2

The early idea that it was possible to curve the ball either to the right
or left by the use of the same hand was, of course, a physiological
impossibility. ... But the belief in the double curve still exists among
the more ignorant ball players. As an instance of it we have the nickname
of "the Pretzel Pitcher," given to Getzein by players who imagine the
ball from his hands comes at them with the curves of a pretzel.

--Ben Zimmer

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