go yard (1988)

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM
Sun Oct 16 20:59:07 UTC 2005

18,000 raw Google hits for "went yard" alone.


Chris Frazier <magicalrealism at COMCAST.NET> wrote:
---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
Sender: American Dialect Society
Poster: Chris Frazier
Subject: Re: go yard (1988)

I've been an avid baseball fan since the age of three. I literally
study the game (tactics, statistics, history, jargon), both by watching
our minor league Washington Nationals affiliate (the Savannah Sand
Gnats) and by reading baseball books and Baseball America, the "bible"
(or one of them) of the major and minor leagues. I'm 58 years old, know
the slang of baseball, mostly developed by players, scouts and
sportswriters, and I've never heard or seen the term "go yard" used to
describe any aspect of the game. (This term was also not mentioned in
the 9-part baseball documentary by Ken Burns. He interviewed players
from the old Negro League as well as many of the more articulate and
eloquent sportswriters (e.g., Dan Okrent, Roger Angell) and observers
(e.g., George Will, Stephen Jay Gould, Doris Kearns Goodwin, etc.) of
the day.
First, I can't believe all the chatter about this term on this
website. Second, the phrase "go yard" sounds like something that a
broadcaster may have improvised in a moment of great elation about a
home team hitter getting a four-bagger in a clutch situation. My guess
is that it was probably used only once or twice. There are, however,
many colorful terms for hitting a home run that have found a permanent
home in baseball's lexicon. (Did you know that in the early days of
baseball, a fan was called a "crank"? The term "bleachers" referred to
the "cheap seats" which were not covered. Because they were not covered,
the sun "bleached" and warped them.

Chris Frazier

Benjamin Zimmer wrote:

>---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
>Sender: American Dialect Society
>Poster: Benjamin Zimmer
>Subject: Re: go yard (1988)
>On Sat, 15 Oct 2005 15:41:58 -0400, Benjamin Zimmer wrote:
>>Sunday's "On Language" column about baseball lingo has a request for
>>information about the origin of "go yard" meaning 'hit a home run'. I
>>presume "go yard" is intended to be elliptical for "go the whole
>>distance of the ballyard", or words to that extent.
>Sorry... "words to that *effect*". I committed this same malaprop
>(eggcorn?) on alt.usage.english not too long ago...
>--Ben Zimmer

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