"hot dog" again -- recent article in New York Times

Gerald Cohen gcohen at MST.EDU
Thu Aug 5 20:26:21 UTC 2010

The following item on "hot dog" was just drawn to my attention by SABR
(thank you):

New York Times, Article title: "Forget the Spicy Tuna Rolls; Most Fans Still
Just Want a Dog"
(A version of this article appeared in print on July 13, 2010, on page B9 of
the New York edition.)

 Excerpt on the origin of "hot dog":
'...Hot dogs and baseball have a long history, though the details of their
relationship are as murky as the hot water that dirty dogs are cooked in.
Harry M. Stevens, a vendor at the old Polo Grounds in New York, is widely
credited with marrying the dog, the bun and baseball when, in 1901, he
started serving ³dachshund sausages² on rolls.

Thomas Aloysius Dorgan, a cartoonist, was supposedly at the game and could
not spell dachshund, so instead wrote ³hot dog.² Researchers later found
that Dorgan was not at the Polo Grounds in 1901, and discovered references
in The Yale Record from 1895 to students who ³contentedly munched on hot

I have a few comments:

1) It wasn't "researchers" (plural) who discovered the references to "hot
dog" in the Yale Record from 1895 but rather a single researcher, viz. Barry

2) Harry Stevens did not "marry the dog, the bun and baseball in 1901."
Stevens himself said: "I have been given credit for introducing the hot dog
to America,  Well, I don't deserve it.  In fact, at first I couldn't see the
idea.  It was my son Frank [G. Cohen: this name is an interesting
coincidence], who first got the idea, and wanted to try it on one of the
early six-day bicycle crowds at Madison Square Garden." ---- The Sporting
News, Nov. 18, 1926, p. 2, col. 5 (part of article titled "Turning
'By-Products' of Baseball Into Millions"). That bicycle race at Madison
Square Garden occurred in December 1906.

3) In 2004 Barry Popik, David Shulman, and I co-authored _Origin of the Term
"Hot Dog"_ (293 pp.)  I recommend it for sports writers treating "hot dog."
Fred Shapiro later discovered an 1893 "hot dog" quote outside of college
slang and so (imho) the best interpretation is: By 1893 "hot dog" (hot
sausage) had started to appear outside college-student slang, and then by
1895 (probably already in 1894) it was picked up by Yale students.  The term
then spread quickly to other colleges/universities in the U.S.

Gerald Cohen

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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