[Ads-l] "Stuff"

George Thompson george.thompson at NYU.EDU
Mon Oct 5 17:18:57 UTC 2015


I did not include a link to the Times's article on pitchers and their
"stuff", because I was concerned that that might lead to my note being
blocked or relegated to Spam.
Here it is now.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/04/sports/baseball/the-mysteries-of-pitching-and-all-that-stuff.html?ref=todayspaper

GAT

On Mon, Oct 5, 2015 at 9:39 AM, Stephen Goranson <goranson at duke.edu> wrote:

> "Far and wide his tips were quoted, and his baseball stuff was noted."
> Hawaiian gazette Ap. 28, 1991 p1 col. 4 Library of Congress
>
> Btw, has anyone compared "you are it" with Sanskrit "tat tvam asi"?
>
> Stephen Goranson
>
> ________________________________________
> From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> on behalf of
> Yagoda, Ben <byagoda at UDEL.EDU>
> Sent: Monday, October 5, 2015 9:24 AM
> To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
> Subject: [ADS-L] "Stuff"
>
> George, you really are the guy who looks “stuff” up in books!
>
> The thing I especially like about the term is when pitchers are quoted as
> saying, “I didn’t have that good of stuff.”
>
> Ben
>
> > --------------------------
> >
> > Date:    Sun, 4 Oct 2015 10:59:00 -0400
> > From:    George Thompson <george.thompson at NYU.EDU>
> > Subject: "Stuff" in baseball
> >
> > Can I really be the first to point out to you all that the NY Times this
> > morning had an article on the current and historical use of the word
> > "stuff" to describe an indescribable excellence in pitching.  Are the
> other
> > Times subscribers among us all slug-a-beds?
> >
> > The article is "Baseball Talk, And All That Stuff", by John Branch,  NY
> > Times, October 4, 2015, A section, p. 1, cols. 1-2, continued in the
> Sports
> > section, p. 2, cols. 1-5The article quotes a number of current players
> > using the word and then floundering at trying to explain what they mean
> by
> > it.
> > Branch then turns to a dictionary for help:
> > "Merriam-Webster has many definitions of stuff, from tangible materials
> > (move your stuff) to ethereal knowledge (know your stuff). Its eighth
> > definition — “spin imparted to a thrown or hit ball” — mentions
> baseball."
> >
> > Meanwhile, the OED has a definition very like the one from M-W:
> > 9 b  N. Amer. In various sports, the spin or ‘work’ imparted to a ball in
> > order to make it vary its course; the type of control which effects this.
> > Also fig.
> > Its list of quotations begin in 1905:
> > 1905   Sporting Life (U.S.) 9 Sept. 1/1   If I tried some of the stuff
> that
> > certain pitchers use and escape bumping, I have an idea that the fielders
> > would never stop..hitting.
> > 1913   Harper's Weekly 13 Sept. 21/2   Weilman, the giant Brown, is
> another
> > [pitcher] who has the ‘stuff’.
> > 1927   Daily Tel. 21 Feb. 13/6   T. A. Workman, their captain, was in
> > wonderfully good form against Commander S. W. Beadle, finding an almost
> > perfect length for an American service which had plenty of ‘stuff’ on it.
> > Beadle could not do anything with it, and was kept on the defensive
> > throughout.
> >
> > Branch offers an antedating, and then several other very early passages,
> > all from the NYTimes:
> > In 1896, The New York Times wrote about the bleak prospects of Yale’s
> team,
> > writing of one infielder, “It is thought that he has some genuine
> baseball
> > stuff in him, though it is in an immature state, and will require a great
> > deal of coaching to develop.”
> > By the turn of the century, the word started applying specifically to
> > pitchers. One creative Times reporter in 1908 gave voice to Giants
> Manager
> > John McGraw in an imaginary conversation with pitcher Doc Crandall.
> > “They’ll never get to that stuff of yours, and even if they did, we can
> hit
> > anything they can bring out,” McGraw probably did not say.
> > In early 1911, in an article written for The Times about the best
> pitchers
> > of the era, Boston Manager Fred Tenney provided a rare definition when
> > describing Christy Mathewson. “I consider him the greatest pitcher that
> > ever was in the game,” Tenney wrote. “He has more ‘stuff’ than any
> other.”
> >
> > GAT
> >
> > --
> > George A. Thompson
> > The Guy Who Still Looks Stuff Up in Books.
> > Author of A Documentary History of "The African Theatre", Northwestern
> > Univ. Pr., 1998..
> >
> > ------------------------------------------------------------
> > The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> > Ge
>
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>



-- 
George A. Thompson
The Guy Who Still Looks Stuff Up in Books.
Author of A Documentary History of "The African Theatre", Northwestern
Univ. Pr., 1998..

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


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