baseball cursing, 1898

George Thompson george.thompson at NYU.EDU
Tue Dec 4 04:13:34 UTC 2007

This document has been posted to the 19th Century Baseball listserv, run by SABR (Society for American Baseball Research).  The debate is on-going as to whether it is an authentic production of the men who ran Organized Baseball then, or a hoax.  In general, there seems to be agreement that baseball of that era was unusually violent and rowdy, and it is not unlikely that such language would be used on the field.


George A. Thompson
Author of A Documentary History of "The African Theatre", Northwestern Univ. Pr., 1998, but nothing much lately.

----- Original Message -----
From: Benjamin Zimmer <bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU>
Date: Monday, December 3, 2007 12:45 am
Subject: baseball cursing, 1898

> Languagehat and Metafilter report on an extremely interesting 1898
> document held by Robert Edward Auctions, outlining an anti-cursing
> policy for baseball. It is entitled "Special Instructions To Players"
> and warns against "the use of obscene language by players at the
> ballpark, to intimidate umpires and opposing players, and to verbally
> battle with unfriendly fans." It is marked "unmailable" because of the
> examples of obscenities included.
> Robert Edwards Auction blog post:
> Image:
> Languagehat:
> Metafilter:
> I'll leave it to the experts to tally up the antedatings.
> --Ben Zimmer
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

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