Holy Cow(baseball) origin?

Mark A. Mandel mamandel at LDC.UPENN.EDU
Mon Apr 5 14:34:10 UTC 2004

Sam Clements writes:

>>From the 28 May 1927 _Decatur(IL) Evening Herald_

<<If Dan O'Leary were in the Three-Eye[class "B" league--ed.] yet, that
stentorian bellow of his from the third base coaching line----"Holy cow,
get a hit before the league blows up," would be fraught with dire
significance.  But, we are assured, the league isn't going to "blow up",
and ......>>

O'Leary was the manager of Davenport(IA) from 1911-16, and Decatur(IL)
in 1922 and 1925.

This "could" be a major league player named Dan O'Leary, who was born in
1856, and who had perhaps as undistinguished a career as any player in
baseball.  45 total games in the majors, 32 of them for the Univ. of
Cincinnati.  Mitigating against it being Dan-O'Leary-the-major-leaguer

            (militating? -- MAM)

is his reported death in 1922.  But, hey, people voted in Illinois after
they were dead, so why couldn't he have managed in 1925, three years
after his death.  It could always have been another O'Leary.

I know there is no supporting evidence for this, but it's food for
thought and further research.

This is rather out in left field, but do you see any indications that
this "holy cow" connection could be an intentional tall tale to connect
the expression with Mrs. O'Leary's cow, the legendary cause of the
Chicago Fire?

-- Mark A. Mandel

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