Bill Klem Quote

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Thu May 26 15:37:20 UTC 2011

On Thu, May 26, 2011 at 11:29 AM, Shapiro, Fred wrote:
> The quote I was thinking of was "It ain't nothing till I call it."  The quote Jon was posting
> about, "I calls 'em as I sees 'em," seems not to be included in Paul Dickson's Baseball's
> Greatest Quotations, although Dickson has a section of front matter titled "I Call 'Em As
> I See 'Em."
> In addition to finding earlier evidence than 1948 for "It ain't nothing till I call it," perhaps
> Garson or Sam or Bill or Stephen or Ben or someone else can find early evidence for
> "I call 'em as I see 'em."  The earliest version I find in a quick ProQuest search is 1933
> in the Boston Globe, where Klem is quoted denying that he called them as he saw them.

There's a more elaborate version involving three apocryphal umpires,
encompassing both lines:

Umpire #1: "I calls 'em as they is."
Umpire #2: "I calls 'em as I sees 'em."
Umpire #3: "They ain't nothin' till I calls 'em."


Ben Zimmer

The American Dialect Society -

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