Bill Klem Quote

victor steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Fri May 27 12:44:53 UTC 2011

I don't have an antedating of "It ain't nothin'..." quote, but I do have an
early alternative attribution.

Several 1949 obits for umpire Charles B. "Uncle Charlie" Moran attribute the
line to him in this form: "It ain't nothing until I call it."

Boston Daily Globe had a similar obit with a similar attribution (on the
same day).

It's not a mere attribution--"he was noted for his famous expression".

How quickly they forget!

I don't see any reason to take this attribution lightly. The Klem stories
even differ on the kind of call that he supposedly made when barking that
line--was it a ball or a strike? was it fair or foul? was he on the
third-base line or at home plate?


On Thu, May 26, 2011 at 11:29 AM, Shapiro, Fred <fred.shapiro at>wrote:

> You're right, Jon.  I should actually read posts before I respond to them.
> 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.
> Fred Shapiro

The American Dialect Society -

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