go yard (1988)

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at RCI.RUTGERS.EDU
Sun Nov 6 16:12:16 UTC 2005

On Sat, 15 Oct 2005 15:41:58 -0400, Benjamin Zimmer
<bgzimmer at RCI.RUTGERS.EDU> wrote:

>Sunday's "On Language" column about baseball lingo has a request for
>information about the origin of "go yard" meaning 'hit a home run'. I
>presume "go yard" is intended to be elliptical for "go the whole distance
>of the ballyard", or words to that extent.
>The earliest example on the Factiva database is in a 1988 _St. Louis
>Post-Dispatch_ article on new developments in baseball jargon.
>1988 _St. Louis Post-Dispatch_ 8 Sep. 2D (Factiva) A batter with power can
>hit a ball out of the ballyard, yes. More likely, though, he can go back,
>go massive or go yard.

Today's column:

Fortunately, I asked for readers' help on the origin of go yard, meaning
"to hit a home run." Some fans were sure it started at Oriole Park in
Camden Yards in Baltimore; other Googlers found 466 usages of "hit the
ball out of the yard," while the Factiva database turned up a 1988 Chicago
Tribune citation: "A batter with power can hit a ball out of the ball
yard. . .he can go back, go massive or go yard."

St. Louis Dispatch, Chicago Tribune, whatever.

--Ben Zimmer

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