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"Hot Dog" correction (?) (while I was away)
1 of 2 DOCUMENTS
Copyright 2001 Daily News, L.P.
Daily News (New York)
March 11, 2001, Sunday SPORTS FINAL EDITION
SECTION: SPORTS; Pg. 67
LENGTH: 775 words
HEADLINE: IRISH STILL A TOUGH ACT TO FOLLOW
BYLINE: BY BILL GALLO
SATURDAY IS St. Paddy's Day, so I went to Gallagher's Steak House in search of
In sports, especically boxing, the Irish have always been a tough bunch. I
say tough in the truest sense of the word because a genuinely tough guy is not
to be construed as a "bully." A real tough guy is usually one who'll give you
the shirt off his back - he'll never start the fight, but he'll almost always
So, there I am in Gallagher's bar and I'm surounded by four Irishers, Gil
Clancy, Gerry Cooney, Brian Mullen and Bryan Reidy. I ask them to tell me just
what makes an Irish kid tough.
Clancy, successful boxing trainer, manager and broadcaster, answers first:
"It's part of the heritage. Just coming to America and seeing signs like 'No
Irish need apply.' You grew up tough, and it's carried through to today. The
toughest Irish fighter I ever saw was Jimmy Archer. He was never a champion but
tough as nails. Barry McGuigan and Jimmy McLarnin, both champions, were also
I turned to Cooney and here's his take: "One reason Irish are tough is that
growing up in a big Irish Catholic family, you had to fight for everything.
"I loved Jack Dempsey. He went in there to take you out. He let you feel his
power. Tunney was great, too, and he was a boxer-puncher. Mills Lane is right
when he says, 'Let's get it on.' "
Brian Mullen, former Rangers and Islanders star, tells us this: "I grew up in
Hell's Kitchen and in our neighborhood, you didn't think of being tough because
everyone was. Hockey was the sport and that's pretty tough. We had a tradition
of playing hockey on St. Patrick's Day with my father, uncles and brothers. We
did some boxing too, but once you got beat, you didn't want to be a fighter
anymore. We went for hockey instead which, come to think of it, was even
Bryan Reidy gave his example of Irish toughness: "You have to be tough to
play Gaelic football. It's a contact sport played with no paddding and if you
call a timeout, you get whacked."
Daily News (New York) March 11, 2001, Sunday
* * *
When four pieces of mail challenge you on something you wrote, there's cause
to think - have I been wrong? Did I get bad info?
Two weeks ago I said that the term "hot dog" was coined by the great sports
cartoonist of the 1920s, a good Irishman named Thomas Aloysius Dorgan, always
known as "TAD."
Contradiction doesn't bother me, but four missives, each with different
explanations, get my attention.
One elderly gent - he's 81 and still a Yankee fan - says he's certain that
Babe Ruth invented the word. He writes, "Remember the famous bellyache that
caused Ruth to miss a few games? Well, Babe told the press that he got it by
'gulping down all those damn hot-dawgs.' "
Another wants to bet me that a butcher near Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, gave
it the name. "He'd stick a sign on his window telling us to 'get your hot-hot
dogs here. . . only five cents." The butcher, he says, had people coming in his
store in droves wanting to know what a "dog" was.
The third letter insists that hot dog comes from the expression,
"hot-diggity-dog," meaning "good" or "nifty."
Then, there is this lady who says she heard it as a little girl. Here's what
she recalls: "In the old sweltering days in New York neighborhoods when there
was no air-conditioning, the firemen would open a fire plug for the kids. We'd
put a peach basket over the nozzle of the pump so as to create a shower-like
spray. One of the kids would take his dog into the shower with him. This would
cool-off the 'hot dog.' " And, that, she firmly believes, is how hot dog got
Well, folks, I did a little research and here's the real "skinny" (that's a
Marine Corps term meaning the absolute facts).
For the answer I went to the the best source, the Almanac of Famous People.
"One chilly April day, concessionaire Harry Stevens was fighting a losing
battle trying to sell ice cream and cold soda.
"He sent out his salesmanen to buy up all the "dachshund" sausages they could
find and an equal number of rolls. In less than an hour his vendors were selling
them from portable hot-water tanks yelling, "They're red hot! Get your dachshund
sausages while they're red hot!"
"In the press box that day, cartoonist Tad Dorgan, who drew on-the-spot, was
nearing his deadline and desperate for an idea. Hearing the vendors, he hastily
drew a cartoon of barking dachsund sausages nestled warmly in rolls. Not sure
how to spell "dachshund," he simply wrote, "hot dog!"
"Tad's drawing became a hit - as did the hot dog's connnection with baseball
Daily News (New York) March 11, 2001, Sunday
ONE MORE thing. . . . Because of TAD, we can claim the hot dog as being
Irish. Hot diggity dog.
LOAD-DATE: March 14, 2001
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