Two responses on early baseball "shoot"

Gerald Cohen gcohen at UMR.EDU
Thu Nov 8 01:35:59 UTC 2001

    Here is more data I have received on baseball "shoot" (type of
pitch).  The first is from baseball researcher G. Reed Howard:

>Date: Sat, 03 Nov 2001 16:02:11 -0500
>From: "G. Reed Howard" <rhoward at UDel.Edu>
>To: moxbib at
>CC: Skip McAfee <xerxes7 at>, Gerald Cohen <gcohen at>,
>         bubba at XTALWIND.NET, deadball at, pgw at,
>         pgw at, vmence at, dizdeane at
>Subject: Re: Definition of "shoot"
>Nicely done.  This morning I read this note in the May 27, 1891
>Waterbury (CT) Republican:
>"For the visitors, Porter used his old pipe stem arm to good effect
>and kept the hits pretty well scattered, but it is only a question
>of time before Waterbury will jump on his slippery elm shoots and
>then he will be gently laid away on the shelf."
>I am not certain what the writer meant, but if he was referring to
>slippery elm as a means of throwing a "spit ball", then I would
>suppose that "shoot" is synonymous with pitch.  This caught my eye
>since I don't remember ever seeing slippery elm mentioned in other
>early articles.

    The second is from a former minor-league player (now in his early
60's), Russell Buhite. He is a historian and currently Dean of the
College of Arts and Science, University of Missouri-Rolla:

>From: "Buhite, Russell D." <rbuhite at>
>To: "Cohen, Gerald Leonard" <gcohen at>
>Subject: RE: baseball "shoot"--Peter Morris' reply (pt. 2)
>Date: Mon, 5 Nov 2001 08:27:41 -0600
>I used to hear about an in-shoot and an out-shoot all the time when I
>was a kid, watching the older fellows play. I think it was a breaking
>ball, perhaps the predecessor of the modern slider and probably thrown
>side arm or three-quarters. I always thought the slider was the hardest
>pitch to hit because it was impossible to pick up the spin and "read"
>the pitch. But I never tried to hit a split finger fastball/ forkball!

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