haymaker (boxing) antedated (?) to 1899

Christopher Philippo toff at MAC.COM
Sun Aug 17 15:57:46 UTC 2014

On Aug 17, 2014, at 10:43 AM, Stephen Goranson <goranson at DUKE.EDU> wrote:
> "He [Brady] knows that there is more money in one fight in New York than th=
> ere is in half dozen at Carson or some other outlandish place where finish =
> fights are possible. Besides, he's got the best haymaker in the puglistic m=
> eadow."
> Nov. 13, 1899 (Mon.), "The Old Sport's Musings" in The Philadelphia Inquire=
> r p. 6 col. 1 (America's Historic Newspapers)

I would have thought much older for haymaker=punch, if not necessarily boxer=haymaker.  The Unions of Lansingburgh, a baseball team created in 1860, were nicknamed the “Haymakers” before 1867, possibly in 1866.  They had a reputation for being brawlers, but a number of recent texts about them present the nickname as big city slur on them being from the Town of Lansingburgh (known actually for its brush industry, not for being a farm community).  Some do attribute it to their punches.  Neither seem to present sources to back their claims (at least on a cursory review of them just now).  Over time it may have meant both things with respect to the team, and it looks like it might also have come to mean a hit in baseball:

“When the news of the first innings was received, showing a tally of 6 for the ‘Mowers’ to 0 for the Mutuals, the faces of the crowd perceptibly brightened, and it was felt that the ‘reconstructed’ nine meant business, and the chances of their success looked decidedly encouraging, and as inning after inning came in, and the boys were seen to be steadily increasing their lead, hope became certainty, and there were plenty of ‘Haymakers’ to be found, the batting of the Haymakers was very heavy, two and three base hits being frequently made, and York secured a home run.”
“The National Game; ‘Blood will Tell’—The Haymakers Mow Down the Mutuals—The ‘Blue Above the Green.’” Troy Daily Whig. May 26, 1871: 3 col 3.

Chris Philippo
The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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