[Ads-l] Antedating of golf term "mulligan" to 1919--in cricket!!

Peter Reitan pjreitan at HOTMAIL.COM
Tue Jun 21 23:39:38 UTC 2016

I think I've found an explanation for "mulligan," as reported in the cricket story; and apparently meaning, "to take a big swing at it."

A writer named Bozeman Bulger created a fictional character named "Swat Mulligan," "a ballplayer with the “Poison Oak” club who performed prodigious batting feats." 

The earliest account I could find, from 1908, was a long story about how Swat Mulligan won a game despite being hit by a bolt of lightning - the story has a picture of his bat, and proclaims:

"not even a lightning stroke could stop Swat when he knew what was coming" (his rubber gloves insulate him from the lightning hitting his bat).

The Evening World (New York), August 15, 1908, page 4.

Other writers used references to "Swat Mulligan" when speaking about other big hitters or swingers.  For example, the headline for an article about Babe Ruth in 1920 referred to Ruth's strength as a baseball hitter and golf club swinger:

"Long-Range Hit Record for Baseball and Golf Ruth's Chief Ambition. Famous 'Babe' Has Natural Form for Walloping Home Runs, but on Links He's Developed Special Style that Drives the Little Ball Over 300 Yards - Yankee Star Confident of Flashing New Swat Mulligan Stuff This Year in Both Baseball and Golf."

The Evening World (New York), March 13, 1920, page 8.

Whether this sense of "mulligan" is related to an extra swing in golf or not is still an open question.

sclements at NEO.RR.COM 
    sclements at NEO.RR.COM

    Fri Jun 17 20:10:25 EDT 2016  

Using GenealogyBank, a full page article entitled "Why Our Baseball Is Better Than British Cricket."

_The Colorado Springs Gazette_ 19 April 1919, 12/3.

"If it is a bad ball, "off the wicket," he may take a "mulligan" at it and knock it over the fence, "out of bounds" they call it."

Now, I'm not at all a cricket person so, if I've misinterpreted this, please let me know.

Sam Clements

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

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