"can of corn"

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Thu Aug 21 21:59:50 UTC 2014

Charlie: Here is a link to a discussion of "can of corn" in a Google
Books preview of "The Dickson Baseball Dictionary" by Paul Dickson
(Third Edition). I do not know if this link will work for list


Below is a link to a webpage with an explanation of unknow (to me) veracity.

Title: Origin of baseball term “can of corn”
Date: May 2, 2008

Below is another link to another webpage with an similar explanations
of unknown (to me) veracity.


Page Title: can of corn (baseball term)

[Begin excerpt]
can of corn (baseball term)

Post by Ken Greenwald
Wed Sep 14, 2005 5:50 am

Ralph, You make it sound as if we are going to guess. We only give
definitive answers around here. (<:)

CAN OF CORN: An easily played fly ball. Reported to have originated
with the grocer’s practice in the early 1900s of storing cans of corn
on a high shelf. When a grocer needed one, he’d simply tip it forward
with a rod or a broom handle so that it would tumble easily into his
waiting hands.

(The Language of Sport by Tim Considine)
[End excerpt]

[Begin excerpt]
can of corn (baseball term)

Post by Ken Greenwald
Wed Sep 14, 2005 2:10 pm
Gentlemen, Here’s what the 'Answer Guy' from the Seattle
Post-Intelligencer had to say:

Monday, July 30, 2001
Answer Guy: Getting inside a 'CAN OF CORN'

Q: Ever since I was a little kid, I've heard a lazy fly ball referred
to as a "can of corn." Where did this odd little phrase originate?

AG: The origin of "can of corn" is the most-repeated question received
here. Although it was answered a few seasons ago, here it is again. A
couple of possible sources of the phrase are cited in the definitive
"New Dickson Baseball Dictionary." The most accepted: The phrase,
first used in 1896, makes reference to a long-ago practice where a
grocer would use a stick to tip a can of vegetables off a high shelf,
then catch it in his hands or outstretched apron. Another possible
source: Such a pop fly is as easy to capture as "corn from a can."
[End excerpt]

On Thu, Aug 21, 2014 at 5:32 PM, Charles C Doyle <cdoyle at uga.edu> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Charles C Doyle <cdoyle at UGA.EDU>
> Subject:      "can of corn"
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> The expression "can of corn" in the sense of 'easy task' (or, as we might s=
> ay, "piece of cake") has been familiar to me for some decades, though I had=
> n't heard it in a while till last night's telecast of the Atlanta Braves vs=
> . Pittsburgh Pirates baseball game.  Chip Caray remarked, about an easily-c=
> aught high fly ball to center field, "That's a can of corn for BJ Upton."=
> =0A=
> =0A=
> The expression is absent from HDAS. (I lack access to DARE and other refere=
> nce works, presently.) I wonder what the image originally imported . . . . =
> =0A=
> =0A=
> Charlie=
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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